Thursday, December 7, 2017

December 7, 1941

Birth Defect News, courtesy of Betty Mekdeci and Nancy Switzer

Veteran claims three generations of family left with deformities due to nuclear test radiation exposure. Aged just 24, the RAF serviceman was stationed on an island in the Pacific Ocean when Britain tested its first megaton-class thermonuclear bomb.

Betty Mekdeci | Executive Director | 976 Lake Baldwin Lane Suite 104 Orlando FL 32814 | 407-895-0802

50 States Ask Governors to Ban Glyphosate

Mission Viejo, CA - Moms Across America announces a nationwide campaign to ban glyphosate herbicides in all fifty of the United States. Support from Organic Consumers Association, Institute for Responsible Technology and Thinking Moms Revolution, with millions of supporters collectively, urge state governors to protect their residents and children. 
“European Member states, after considering volumes of scientific studies and numerous testimonies by lawyers and researchers, have refused to renew the license for glyphosate. If it is not safe for Europeans, and Malta, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, and Argentina who have banned glyphosate, then we do not want glyphosate in our United States. We urge our governors to take bold steps like the Governor of Arkansas and Missouri did in banning Dicamba, and ban glyphosate herbicides and toxic chemicals immediately.”- Zen Honeycutt, Executive Director of Moms Across America
Glyphosate herbicides or Monsanto'sRoundUp weed killer, the most widely used herbicide in history, has been proven to cause serious harm to life. Glyphosate has contaminated our planet and is now found in our children's urine, mother's milk, our bloodstreams, and our food, beverages, and water.
In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization found that glyphosate “is a probable human carcinogen.”
In July of 2017 the California State Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added glyphosate to its Prop 65 list of known carcinogens.
In October of 2017, after 1 million Europeans requested a ban, 72% of the Members of the European Parliament voted to BAN glyphosate and EU Member states have refused to renew the license.
Malta, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, and Argentina have banned glyphosate. Many school districts and cities in the United States have already discontinued the use of glyphosate.

Agent Orange, exposed: How U.S. chemical warfare in Vietnam unleashed a slow-moving disaster

In the end, the military campaign was called Operation Ranch Hand, but it originally went by a more appropriately hellish appellation: Operation Hades. As part of this Vietnam War effort, from 1961 to 1971, the United States sprayed over 73 million liters of chemical agents on the country to strip away the vegetation that provided cover for Vietcong troops in “enemy territory.”
Using a variety of defoliants, the U.S. military also intentionally targeted cultivated land, destroying crops and disrupting rice production and distribution by the largely communist National Liberation Front, a party devoted to reunification of North and South Vietnam.
Some 45 million liters of the poisoned spray was Agent Orange, which contains the toxic compound dioxin. It has unleashed in Vietnam a slow-onset disaster whose devastating economic, health and ecological impacts that are still being felt today.
This is one of the greatest legacies of the country’s 20-year war, but is yet to be honestly confronted. Even Ken Burns and Lynn Novick seem to gloss over this contentious issue, both in their supposedly exhaustive “Vietnam War” documentary series and in subsequent interviews about the horrors of Vietnam.

Researchers to Examine Link Between Battlefield Chemical Exposure and Prostate Cancer

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine will study the link between exposure to battlefield chemicals and prostate cancer (PC) in U.S. veterans with a $1 million Challenge Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
The goal is to better understand specific mutations or changes in expression that might have occurred as a result of exposure to toxic materials on the battlefield.
Researchers will study patients at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC) and Harris Health’s Ben Taub Hospital, two Houston-based healthcare facilities serving a large number of veterans with PC.
Jeffrey Jones, MD, chief of urology at MEDVAMC and the study’s lead investigator, will lead a team that selects patients for the project, collects blood and tissue samples from veterans with PC, and conducts translational and clinical studies. The team hopes to develop new biotechnologies for diagnosing and treating PC patients. It also will investigate the genomics, metabolomics, and epigenomics of unique tumor specimens from these patients.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:

February 24, 2018
Mitchell, South Dakota
Contact: Terry Mayer
Maynard Kaderlik
April 7, 2018
Marshalltown, Iowa
Contact John Kost
April 21, 2018
Sanborn, New York
Contact:   Gordon L. Bellinger

GAO to probe Agent Orange on Guam

Representatives from the Government Accountability Office will be on island next week to talk to stakeholders regarding the reported incidents of Agent Orange exposure on Guam.
U.S. Navy Capt. Jeffrey Grimes, the chief of staff for Joint Region Marianas, confirmed the series of meetings during the 24th General Assembly of the Association of Mariana Islands Mayors, Vice Mayors, and Elected Municipal Council Members yesterday at the Guam Reef Hotel.
During the assembly, Santa Rita Mayor Dale Alvarez asked if the herbicide was ever used on island. Grimes acknowledged that there have been plenty of studies and discussions on the issue.
Grimes said he received a phone call yesterday confirming the GAO team's visit.
"They will be here next week to further look on the discussions that are ongoing from the veterans and other people who have worked at Andersen (Air Force Base)," he said. "They will be interacting with the military. They will be interacting with the people, the government, and the Legislature."
Agent Orange was one of the defoliants – known as "rainbow herbicides" – used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. They were used to destroy bushes, trees and vegetation to deprive insurgents of cover and food crops, as part of a starvation campaign in the early 1950s, according to Post news files.

S. 1990, the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2017

On October 19, 2017, Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, introduced S. 1990, the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2017.
This bill would increase dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) for surviving dependents and would lower the threshold of eligibility to allow certain survivors to receive this benefit who currently do not meet the requirements. This measure would:

   Increases DIC so that the base rate is equal to 55 percent of the rate of compensation paid to a totally disabled veteran, making it more equitable with rates provided to federal civilian employee survivors. 

   Ease the 10-year rule for eligibility and replace it with a graduated scale of benefits that begins after 5 years and increases by percentage until reaching the full amount at the 10 year mark. If a veteran is rated as totally disabled for five years and dies as a result of a non-service-connected cause, a survivor would be entitled to 50 percent of total DIC benefits. This scale continues until the 10-year threshold and the maximum DIC amount is awarded. 

   Reduce the age allowed for a surviving spouse to remarry and maintain their benefits from 57 to 55, consistent with other Federal survivor benefit programs.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Vietnam: The Chemical War

Just before dawn on Nov. 18, 1967, the men of the Army’s 266th Chemical Platoon
awoke to reveille and assembled in formation. The platoon was attached to the First Infantry Division, and the men were stationed at the division’s base, deep in the red-clay hills north of Saigon.
The men had a typically busy day ahead of them. Their tasks included obtaining 15 drums of Agent Orange to defoliate the base perimeter, firing mortars at an area just outside the base for an evening chemical drop, working at the bomb yard to prepare 24 drums of CS tear gas, making 48 white phosphorus fuses to detonate the drums, loading the drums onto a CH-47 cargo helicopter, and finally, that afternoon, dropping 24 drums of the gas from the helicopter’s rear hatch onto a target site. It was, by 1967, just another day in the life of the 266th Chemical Platoon, and in the American war in Vietnam — a war that was, in many respects, a chemical war.
It didn’t start that way. But as the conflict deepened, it became obvious that chemical weapons could play a critical role. In the case of the First Division, that realization came as the Viet Cong dug in north of Saigon with a network of underground bunkers and tunnels that were forbidding, dangerous spaces where conventional weapons would have limited effect. That fall, the 266th and other chemical platoons began training to use CS and other chemicals to support combat operations.
CS wasn’t the only tool in the platoon’s arsenal, and going after tunnels wasn’t its only mission. It handled anything related to chemicals, from spraying for mosquitoes to burning trash. It sprayed defoliants like Agent Orange and prepared napalm. Chemicals were everywhere, and their proliferation in the American war effort raised concerns that the United States was crossing a line in Vietnam, violating the 1925 Geneva Protocol’s prohibition against the first use of chemical weapons in war.