Air Force Health Study Assets Research Program – New IOM Report


In 1979, the Congress directed that an epidemiologic study evaluate the frequency and nature of adverse health effects that might be related to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used by the military during the Vietnam conflict.  The effort — formally called the Air Force Health Study (AFHS) — involved Operation Ranch Hand veterans and a comparison group of Air Force personnel who served in Southeast Asia but were not involved in herbicide spraying operations.  After the study concluded, Congress directed that the study’s research assets, including biological samples and medical examination records, be transferred to the custodianship of the Institute of Medicine.  A later public law instructed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to work with IOM to make the AFHS assets available to scientific investigators for scientifically peer-reviewed research studies.


A new IOM report, The Air Force Health Study Assets Research Program, explores the feasibility and advisability of maintaining the biospecimens based on interest generated from the general scientific community and results of pilot projects and other research projects using the AFHS assets.


Advance copies of the report will be available to reporters only beginning at noon EDT Thursday, April 16. The report is embargoed and not for public release before 11 a.m. EDT Friday, April 17.  To obtain a copy of the report, reporters should contact the National Academies' Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail