WELLINGTON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand troops who served in the Vietnam War and have double the rate of chronic lymphatic leukemia compared with the general population, according to medical research out Monday.
The study by the University of Otago's Department of Preventive and Social Medicine said most of the veterans deployed in the Nui Dat area of Phuoc Tuy province from 1962 to 1971, experienced a " toxic environment" because of the widespread use of 2,4,5-T and 2, 4-D as defoliant herbicides.
The mixture was more commonly known as Agent Orange and was contaminated with the carcinogen 2,3,7,8,TCDD, but the study had no specific data on herbicide exposure of individual soldiers.
The study covered the health records of 2,752 out of almost 3, 400 personnel who served in Vietnam.
It showed they had double the average risk of death from cancers of the head and neck, as well as an increase in oral cancers of the pharynx and larynx, lead author Dr. David McBride said in a statement.
The findings could be used to claim compensation from the government for ill-health caused by service in the Vietnam War, although further work was needed.