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

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Abstract

Objective:

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

Methods:

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.

Results:

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%.

Conclusion:

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

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