Dioxins: A Technical Guide

Published online: 
07 September 2020
Publication cover


This guide is for health professionals and others who may have questions about dioxins and their health effects. The guide also includes historic exposure incidents in New Zealand.

Summary of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine review Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2018 (National Academies Press 2018).

  • This review was the last biennial review as currently mandated by US legislation.
  • New Vietnam veterans’ studies were part of the review as were other epidemiological and toxicological studies.
  • Two conditions have a changed evidence category:
    • Shift of hypertension from the limited or suggestive evidence category into the sufficient evidence category
    • Addition of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance into the sufficient evidence category
  • The review committee did not achieve consensus on whether Type 2 diabetes which has previously been in the limited or suggestive evidence category should remain there or move into the sufficient evidence category
  • The conditions now in the sufficient evidence category of an association are Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, chloracne, hypertension, and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance.
  • All birth defects, including spina bifida (following a category change as a result of the 2014 review), are in the inadequate or insufficient evidence category of an association with maternal or paternal exposure to dioxin and herbicides used in Vietnam
  • The 2018 review committee concluded, as has previous reviews, that there is inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine whether there is an association between exposure of men and women to dioxin before conception or during pregnancy and disease in their children or grandchildren.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    07 September 2020
  • ISBN:
    978-0-947515-61-4 (online)
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2020. Dioxins: A technical guide. (10th edn). Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:

    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

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