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

J Occup Environ Med. 2016 Nov;58(11):1127-1136. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000876.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Herbicides / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / blood
  • Risk Factors
  • Veterans*
  • Vietnam


  • Herbicides
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins