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Korean J Prev Med. 2000 Mar;33(1):17-24. Korean. Original Article.
Chun JH , Kim HJ , Sohn HS , Urm SH , Park SK , Yu BC , Lee JT .
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Inje University.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Pusan Veteran Hospital.
Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To propose the referential data to evaluate the health impacts of Vietnam veterans' children whose father were exposed to herbicides in Vietnam War. METHODS: Vietnam veterans who visited to Pusan Veteran Hospital for medical care were recruited from April to October, 1998. They were 71 and asked about their own combat history, symptoms and illness, and health status of their 182 children. The informations were collected by direct and phone interview. Exposure estimation was also performed as exposure score depending on year and unit of participation, and personal episodes related to exposure to herbicide in the war. It classified into three groups; lower(<18.0), moderate(18-53), high(> or =53) exposure group. RESULTS: The mean age and the period into the combat of the veterans were 52.8 years and 15.0 months. The mean exposure score was 18.1+/-9.9, and mainly distributed in lower (46.5%) and moderate(52.1%) exposure group. Most(90.1%) of them were diagnosed as sequelae(21 cases) and suspected sequelae(43 cases) of the herbicides by Korean veteran's hospital diagnostic criteria. The major sequelae was peripheral neuropathy 13 cases, chloracne 5 cases, and the major suspected sequelae was hypertension 20 cases, diabetes mellitus 18 cases, liver disease 12 cases, central neuropathy 11 cases, etc. About birth, 42.2% and 16.9% experienced spontaneous abortion and stillbirth, respectively. The mean exposure score was higher in stillbirth experience group(p<0.05). About half of the children(90 cases, 49.5%) hold the abnormal health status: those were skin pigmentation 38 cases, rash 23 cases, congenital anomaly 15 cases, general weakness 12 cases, purpura 8 cases, visual disturbance 8 cases, etc. These health problems had no association with father's exposure level(p>0.05). CONCLUSIONS: These results were depend on their own answers, and expectation for compensation did not excluded, therefore, this study may have limitations: inaccuracy of informations due to recall bias and response bias. Nevertheless, through this study, we could image the fundamental aspect for health impacts of Vietnam veterans' children for preparing the national control program and policy. A large scale epidemiologic study with valid exposure assessment on the health impacts of Vietnam veterans' children is recommneded.

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