NIH News Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 7, 2000
NIEHS Press contact:
Bill Grigg
(301) 402-3378 or
(301) 496-3511

Environmental Health Institute Announces Meeting on Possible Studies of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences today announced a public meeting Aug. 18 in Monterey, Calif., to discuss possible scientific studies related to Agent Orange exposure that could be conducted in Vietnam.

Agent Orange was used as a defoliant during the Vietnam War and included, as contaminants, dioxin and related compounds. According to NIEHS' announcement in the Federal Register, the meeting may feature 1) a panel of invited experts to identify issues related to conducting studies in Vietnam and 2) comments and recommendations by other experts and interested parties, as time permits.

The meeting will be from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort and Conference Center, coinciding with the 20th International Symposium on Halogenated Environmental Organic Pollutants and POP's -- persistent organic pollutants. The symposium is an annual conference of dioxin researchers. NIEHS said it had set its own meeting's time and place to take advantage of the dioxin experts and other interested participants who will already be assembled at the symposium.

The U.S. Congress' FY2000 Appropriations Conference Report for the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health and their component, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said, ".. .NIEHS is strongly urged to conduct research on the health and environmental aspects of agent orange and dioxin in Southeast Asia, in particular, Vietnam provided that the Vietnamese government supports collaborative research between U.S. and Vietnamese scientists...."

NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden said today, "The Vietnamese government has agreed to discuss these issues with the NIEHS at a separate time and place. The Monterey meeting, therefore, is aimed at getting the U.S. advice on the feasibility of conducting studies in Vietnam to learn more about the health and environmental aspects of Agent Orange and dioxin. We'll use this advice and information as we develop a dialog with the Vietnamese government and Vietnamese researchers about possible research agendas."

For further information about attending the meeting, write the National Toxicology Program Liaison and Scientific Review Office, NIEHS, PO Box 12233, A3-01, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, telephone (919) 541-0530 or email: liaison@starbase.niehs.nih.gov.