US academics, scientists and war veterans examined the adverse effects of Agent Orange/dioxin on people’s health and the environment at a workshop in Washington DC on January 7.
Scientists presented the latest research on the effects of the toxic chemicals on Vietnam and a number of other places around the world, and shared the view that AO-related issues have not yet received enough attention from chemical firms.
Rick Weidman, Executive Director for Policy and Government Affairs, said there is growing concern in the US that the chemicals not only affect the lives of war veterans who fought in the Vietnam War four decades ago but also the lives of future generations.
Alan B. Oates*, President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, said that the US government has not taken AO issues seriously, especially the effects on victims. He said he felt sorry for that and hoped the victims would receive adequate care very soon.
Charles Bailey, manager of the Ford Foundation, pointed to the fact that both the Vietnamese and US governments have been working closely in recent times to support those exposed to the chemicals and prevent the chemicals spreading from the previously sprayed areas.
Such cooperation is still in the initial stages and both countries need to work harder on this process, he said.
He suggested that the two countries study and look at easy-to-solve issues first and then the tougher ones.
Dr Michael Martin, who has travelled to Vietnam many times to study the effects of AO, said that several members of the US congress would like to speed up the settlement of AO-related issues in Vietnam in the coming months.
*NOTE: Alan Oates is Chair of the VVA National Agent Orange/Dioxin and Other Toxic Exposures Committee. John Rowan is President of Vietnam Veterans of America.