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Air Force Health Study (Ranch Hand)


Investigator Access

What's Available


Check with the study contact and publications for information on a public dataset, data archive, data enclave, or website where data might be available.

Available Documentation 

Dates Data are Available

Access Criteria 

Study Characteristics


To evaluate the frequency and nature of adverse health effects that might be related to exposure to “Agent Orange” and other military herbicides used during the Vietnam conflict.

Era of Service



Ranch Hand personnel who had served among the C-123 crews (pilot, copilot, navigator, and one spray operator, ground support) between 1962 and 1971.  Controls served in 1962 -1971 with no herbicidal exposure.

Study Design

Prospective cohort 

Time Period

1982 - 2002




  • 2,483 participants
  • Exposure group: 1,242
  • Comparison group: 1,241

Response Rate


Recruitment Method

Cohort enumeration involved the utilization of the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Location of subjects was determined using existing military records archived at the National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri, and the U.S. Air Force Human Resources Laboratory, Brooks AFB, Texas.



Data Collected

  • Demographics, education, occupation
  • Medical history
  • Study compliance
  • Toxic exposures
  • Reproductive history
  • Clinical results from physical exam

Data Collection Methods

  • Questionnaires
  • Physical examinations, including spirometry, chest X rays, electrocardiograms, dermatology and peripheral vascular examinations, neurological assessments, psychological testing, blood draws, urine and semen collections, skin and fat biopsies, and stool smears, etc.
  • Medical records
  • Biospecimen collection 
  • Mortality records data

Funding Source



Primary Investigator: David Butler, PhD


Program Officer: Anne Styka,

Selected Publications

Robinson, J., Fox, K., Jackson, W., Ketchum, N., Pavuk, M., Grubbs, W. Air Force Health Study – An Overview.1 Organohalogen Compounds Vol 68 (2006).  

IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2015. The Air Force Health Study Assets Research Program.1 Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 

Landgren O, Shim YK, Miahelek J, et al. Agent Orange Exposure and Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance: An Operation Ranch Hand Veteran Cohort Study. JAMA Oncol. 2015 Nov;1(8):1601-8. 

Pavuk M, Patterson DG Jr, Turner WE. Serum concentrations of TCDD and other dioxin-like compounds in US Air Force veterans of Operation Ranch Hand. Chemosphere. 2014 May; 102:18-23.

More Information


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