From: "\"Doc\" Bruce K. Melson" <>



Subject: Agent Orange - Leukemia News Release-----  EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE
UNTIL 10 A. M. , JULY 16 Flawed Data Prompts Review of Agent Orange Finding
researchers have acknowledged errors in a study of the incidence of leukemia
among the
children of Australia's Vietnam veterans. After correcting for faulty data,
the Australian
study no longer showed that children of Australia's Vietnam veterans face a
greater risk of
acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), a deadly form of the disease. The Institute
of Medicine (IOM) relied upon the Australian study in April when it cited a
connection between some strains of childhood leukemia and a parent's exposure
to Agent
Orange during the Vietnam War.  Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J.  
Principi has
asked IOM to reevaluate the medical evidence linking Agent Orange exposure to
AML in
light of the corrected data.  "I hope that Agent Orange does not cause the
children of
Vietnam veterans to develop this dreadful disease, " Principi said. "If the
scientific evidence
shows a link, I will support creating benefits for these children of Vietnam
veterans. But,
first,  I believe we must ensure that we are basing our commitments upon
sound scientific
evidence. " On April 19, IOM reported that it found "limited/suggestive"
evidence of a connection
between a parent's exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and
children who
contract AML.  The next day, Principi called for legislation that would
provide federal
benefits to children with AML who have a parent who served in Vietnam. Less
than a
month after that decision,  on May 16,  Australian researchers said they had
errors in their study.  Principi has signed a contract with IOM,  asking the
advisory board to take a second look at evidence linking AML to Agent Orange
during the Vietnam War. The IOM expects to issue another report evaluating
the evidence
of a link in January 2002.  # # # Susan McCrea VA Intergovernmental Affairs




"When the way comes to an end, then change - having changed, you pass through."

      I. Ching


 Bruce "Doc". Melson