A chemical designed to lay waste to the jungles of Southeast Asia
40-plus years ago is destroying the lives of veterans and their
The effects of Agent Orange is still being felt decades after the
military stopped using it clear out places where the enemy could hide in
Vietnam. Veterans have been fighting for years to get the government to
recognize the damage the chemical has caused to the men and women who
served and their children and grandchildren.
It is their stories that need to be told, according to leaders in the effort. To that end, the Vietnam Veterans Chapter
310 and the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America hosted a town
hall meeting Saturday at the William B. Lutz American Legion Hall, Post
322 in Saline.
About 40 people came out to hear various speakers
talk about the problem and the efforts to get Congress to enact
legislation to pay for studies and assistance.
The U.S. military used Agent Orange to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam
and as many as 2 million veterans may have been exposed from 1961-70.
Its main ingredient, dioxin, is the culprit in the problems caused by
exposure to it.
According to a booklet available at the meeting,
diseases and conditions recognized by the Veterans Administration as
connected to Agent Orange exposure include chloracne, Hodgkin’s Disease,
ischemic heart disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s Disease,
peripheral neuropathy and spina bifida, among others.
Thirty-eight types of cancer are listed including cancers of the bronchus, larynx, lung, prostate, trachea and several sarcomas.
The impact on the veterans is acute, but it may be greater for their offspring and descendants.
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