Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Town hall meeting about Agent Orange discusses genetic legacy of chemical

FAYETTEVILLE - About 180 people attended a town hall meeting in Fayetteville about Agent Orange and how it effects not only veterans, but their children and grandchildren.
"Agent orange is probably one of the most toxic chemicals that exists," explained Mokie Porter of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). "Its health impact on the veterans and their families is tremendous."
Porter said VVA is hosting town hall meetings across the country to spread this message. "We're trying to do this in an effort to get a grassroots movement to get our government to take action and provide assistance, medical care, research and treatment for these children - some of whom are now adults - and their children and their children's children."
Vice President of VVA Fred Elliott said he believes his grandson's Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, is associated with Elliott's exposure to Agent Orange. "It upsets me greatly that I am in some way responsible for my grandson's condition because I was exposed to these substances without knowing what the health effects would be," he said.
Porter said many Vietnam veterans do not realize the health issues they and their families may face could be related to Agent Orange. Vietnam Veteran Terry Copenhaver of Fayetteville agrees. "I worked all my life and then all of a sudden, I got sick," he said. "I'm not blaming it on Agent Orange, but most likely that's a lot of the contributing factor now."
Vietnam-era Veteran Stephen House said Agent Orange is not a dead issue. He said the government needs to accept this and expand treatment to those affected by the chemical. "There is no reversal for dioxins," he explained. "They can't incinerate it, they can't dump it at sea. And it's going to come back to haunt {the government} and they know it."

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1 comment:

  1. I served in Viet Nam at Qui Nhon in 1966 and 1967. While there,some of us noticed that we developed a skin condition that was similar to prickly heat that would come and go.

    In 1989, my 11 year old daughter (my only child) suddenly became ill with what turned out to be a form of Vasculitis and her immune system attacked all of her organs. She spent months and months in hospitals. They could not figure out what she really had because it was unusual, and this was at the University of Michigan. Frankly, I think they called it Vasculitis because they needed to call it something and they never saw anything quite like it before. She was what they called ANKA positive. They ended up classifying her disease as something new.

    She has had 3 kidney transplants. Due to the drugs to keep the kidney going, she develops other anti immune disorders. I asked her if she ever remembers when she played soft ball and felt healthy. She has no idea what feeling good or healthy is. She lost the benchmark. She is now 34 years of age. She will get sick every year and miss from 3 weeks to 3 months of work a year. Her work and life is constantly interrupted by doctor appointments and handfulls of pills. In my mind, her life is a living hell.

    Many of the guys in my old outfit have non Hodgekins Lymphoma and attribute it to Agent Orange. We know that Agent Orange was sprayed in the Central Highlands that were about a mile down the road. We figure it came into our well that we used for showers from the rain run off from the Highlands. I also have had skin conditions and in the past 40 years have had scalp lesions that come and go. I have had high blood pressure for years along with higher than normal glucose levels.

    I am more worried about my daughter than I am myself. I am 67 years old and have had a lot better life than she has. If any one needs veteran's disablity payments it is she. I never was wounded in the war. I was lucky. My daughter, on the other hand, is a casualty of the war. My wife and I never had another child. My daughter will never have a child. We will never be grand parents. When will we learn.