Part VII of our veterans’ exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam War
STUDY CALLED A FRAUD
But again, there was more information available that was never presented. The Institute of Medicine in the weeks before the CDC released its results of blood tests wrote a stinging rebuke of the CDC's tests methods. It said that none of the CDC's conclusions was supported by scientific data. The CDC refused to turn this report over to the White House. "Either it was a politically rigged operation or it was a monumentally bungled operation," said Rep. Ted Weiss (D-NY), chairman of the Government Operations Human Resources and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee. Other information began turning up that there were concerted efforts by various agencies of the government to conceal records and information about the effects of Agent Orange. Daschle learned that there were major discrepancies between a January 1984 draft of the Air Force's Operation Ranch Hand study and the February 1984 report. According to Daschle, the draft showed there were twice as many birth defects among the children of Ranch Hand participants. "The draft also reported that the Ranch Handers were less well, than the controls by a ratio of 5 to 1," said Daschle.
But these results were deleted from the final Ranch Hand report, which said there had been no adverse effects from exposure to Agent Orange. "The Air Force deleted these findings from the final report at the suggestion of a Ranch Hand Advisory Committee set up by the White House Agent Orange Working Group," said Daschle.
Air Force scientists involved in the study said they were pressured by non-scientists within the Air Force and the White House to change the results and delete critical information for the final report. Daschle says he has even obtained two versions of the minutes of the meeting in which that pressure was applied. One confirms what the scientists told him. Another set deletes that information. "What happened there was a fraud perpetrated by people whose names we still do not know," said Daschle.
In a study released March 29, 1990, the CDC admitted that Vietnam veterans face a higher risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but denied that it was a result of exposure to Agent Orange. It said the studies showed that Vietnam veterans do not have higher rates of soft tissue sarcomas, Hodgkin's disease, nasal cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer and liver cancer.
One of the more bizarre aspects of this report from the CDC was the claim that those veterans who suffered most from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma had served on Navy ships off the coast of Vietnam. It said that those who had served in III Corps, which had some of the heaviest Agent Orange spraying of the war, seemed to be at lower risk.