Herbicide Exposure, Vietnam Service, and Hypertension Risk in Army Chemical Corps Veterans

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We examined hypertension risk in Army Chemical Corps (ACC) veterans who sprayed defoliant in Vietnam.


We analyzed data from the 2013 health survey of 3086 ACC veterans and investigated the association between self-reported physician-diagnosed-hypertension (SRH) and herbicide-spray-history adjusting for Vietnam-service-status, rank, age, tobacco/alcohol use, race, and body mass index (BMI). Spray-history was verified against serum 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) (n = 636). SRH was confirmed by blood pressure (BP) measurement by trained medical technicians and medical record reviews.


Herbicide-spray-history (ORadjusted[95%confidence interval {CI}] = 1.74[1.44,2.11]) and Vietnam-service-status (ORadjusted = 1.26[1.05,1.53]) were significantly associated with SRH. The association was highest when comparing Vietnam-service-sprayers to non-Vietnam-service-nonsprayers (ORadjusted = 2.21[1.76,2.77]). Serum TCDD was highest for Vietnam-service-sprayers. Mean systolic BPs were significantly higher among veterans with SRH than those without (P ≤ 0.001). Medical records and SRH overall agreement was 89%.


Occupational herbicide exposure history and Vietnam-service-status were significantly associated with hypertension risk.

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