WASHINGTONAfter further review, a committee of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has rescinded its earlier finding of a suggestive link between the exposure of veterans to herbicides used during the Vietnam War and an increased risk of their offspring developing acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). The committee’s reanalysis followed the finding that one study that it had relied on was in error.
The panel based its prior conclusion, contained in a report released in April 2001, in part on an Australian study that found a statistical link between the service of Australian veterans in Vietnam and the incidence of AML among their children. That study, however, was later found to contain a miscalculation that resulted in the conclusion that the children had a significantly increased risk of the disease. The actual incidence was within the range that would be expected in the general population.
The IOM panel also included two new studies, one from Germany and the other from Norway, in its newest review of data. The two studies examined the incidence of AML in the children of parents who had experienced occupational exposure to pesticides and found no significant difference, compared with children of unexposed parents.