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Advisory Committees

Charter of the Ranch Hand Advisory Committee

Having completed a thorough evaluation of the long term effects of Agent Orange and other phenoxy herbicides to the satisfaction of the department of Health and Human Services and the National Center for Toxicological Research, the committee met for the final time on September 7, 2006.



In December 1979, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs and Policy directed the establishment of an Interagency Work-Group to study the possible long-term health effects of phenoxy herbicides and contaminants. In August 1980, the Interagency Group recommended that the United States Air Force conduct Epidemiologic Studies of Ranch Hands Personnel (Ranch Hand Study) and that the conduct of the study be overseen by an independent monitoring committee. Accordingly, on January 19, 1981, the committee was established.


42 USC 217a; Section 222 of the Public Health Service Act as amended; Section 1205; and Title XII of Public Law 100-687 as it relates to requirements for Committee membership. The Committee is governed by the provisions of Public Law 92-463 (5 U.S. Code Appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees.


The Advisory Committee on Special Studies Relating to the Possible Long-Term Health Effects of Phenoxy Herbicides and Contaminants shall advise the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary for Health concerning its oversight of the conduct of the Ranch Hand Study by the Air Force, and other studies in which the Secretary or the Assistant Secretary for Health believes involvement by the Committee is desirable.


The Committee shall consist of nine members, including the Chair. Not less than one-third of the total number of members of the Committee shall be individuals selected by the Secretary of Health and Human Services from among scientists who are recommended by veterans' organizations for membership on the Committee and are determined by the Secretary to be qualified for service on the Committee.

A scientist shall be considered to be qualified for service on the Committee if (A) the scientist has earned a doctor of medicine degree or a doctorate or other advanced degree from an institution of higher education in a field relevant to the responsibilities of the Committee and has written one or more articles relevant to those responsibilities which have appeared in scientific publications following a peer-review process, or (B) the scientist has qualifications equivalent to those set forth in clause (A).

The Chair of the Committee may be an officer or employee of the Federal Government (other than by reason of service as member of the Committee) only if the Secretary of Health and Human Services determines, after affirmatively seeking to recruit a chair who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government, that there is no individual qualified and available to serve as chair who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government. The Secretary shall report any such determination to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Members shall be invited to serve for overlapping four-year terms; terms of more than two years are contingent upon the renewal of the Committee by appropriate action prior to its termination. A member may serve after the expiration of the member's term until a successor has taken office.

Management and support services shall be provided by the National Center for Toxicological Research, Food and Drug Administration.


Meetings shall be held approximately two times a year at the call of the Chair with the advance approval of a Government official, who shall also approve the agenda. A government official shall be present at all meetings.

Meetings shall be open to the public except as determined otherwise by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs or designee pursuant to 21CFR 14.27. Notice of all meetings shall be given to the public.

Meetings shall be conducted, and records of the proceedings kept, as required by applicable laws and Departmental regulations.


Members who are not full-time Federal employees shall be paid at the rate of two hundred and fifty dollars, per day for time spent at meetings, plus per diem and travel expenses in accordance with Standard Government Travel Regulations.

Annual Cost Estimate

The estimated annual cost for operating the Committee, including compensation and travel expenses for members but excluding staff support is $34,165. The estimate of annual person-years of staff support required is .45, at an estimated annual cost of $50,000.


In the event a portion of a meeting is closed to the public, a report shall be prepared, which shall contain as a minimum a list of members and their business addresses, the Committee's function, dates, and places of meetings, and a summary of Committee activities and recommendations made during the fiscal year. A copy of the report shall be provided to the Department Committee Management Officer.

Termination Date

Unless renewed by the appropriate action prior to its expiration, the Advisory Committee on Special Studies Relating to the Possible Long-Term Health Effects of Phenoxy Herbicides and Contaminants will expire on December 2, 2007. (Inactive as of September 2006)

If you have questions or comments about this advisory committee, please contact the Designated Federal Officer, Margaret A. Miller, Ph.D. at 301-827-6693 or


Contact FDA

National Center for Toxicological Research

Food and Drug Administration

3900 NCTR Road

Jefferson, AR 72079

Page Last Updated: 12/26/2017
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