No. 015-00  
IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              March 14, 2000                         (202) 628-2700 Ext. 158 


The subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations will convene an oversight hearing March 15, 2000, to examine the status of the Air Force Ranch Hand Study, an ongoing investigation into the long-term health effects of herbicide spraying, including Agent Orange, during the Vietnam War.

The hearing will focus on a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report that found the Air Force study results have not been properly communicated to veterans and the public, and that the study has had little impact on eligibility determinations on compensation of Vietnam veterans presumed exposed to the herbicides.

In January, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) National President George C. Duggins expressed frustration when the General Accounting Office’s report on their investigation of the Ranch Hand Study validated what VVA said of the study two years ago. "The Air Force study is flawed and unreliable", Duggins said. AThe federal government still has a responsibility to find out how exposure to Agent Orange has affected the health of Vietnam veterans and their children. The Ranch Hand Study, sanctioned by the Department of Defense, has not accomplished that mission. We need a competent study and analysis of what may well be a very reliable data base of information by an independent body. It is hoped that the hearing will stop the slow-rolling of the data gathered and clear up the misleading, incomplete, and inaccurate information released by the Air Force. The health of veterans and their families depends on it.@

The hearing will convene on Wednesday, March 15, 2000, at 10 a.m. in Room 2247 of the Rayburn Building, Washington, D.C.

VVA’s point of contact for additional information is Scott D. Campbell at (202) 628-2700 ext. 158.

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is  "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."   


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