DA NANG, Vietnam — In many
ways, Nguyen Thi Ly is just like any other 12-year-old girl. She has a
lovely smile and is quick to laugh. She wants to be a teacher when she
grows up. She enjoys skipping rope when she plays.
But Ly is also
very different from other children. Her head is severely misshapen. Her
eyes are unnaturally far apart and permanently askew. She’s been
hospitalized with numerous ailments since her birth.
43-year-old Le Thi Thu, has similar deformities and health disorders.
Neither of them has ever set foot on a battlefield, but they’re both
casualties of war.
Le and her daughter are second- and third-generation victims of dioxin
exposure, the result of the U.S. military’s use of Agent Orange during
the Vietnam War, when the U.S. Air Force sprayed more than 20 million
gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides over parts of southern
Vietnam and along the borders of neighboring Laos and Cambodia. The
herbicides were contaminated with dioxin, a deadly compound that remains
toxic for decades and causes birth defects, cancer and other illnesses.
READ MORE: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/07/22/3399892/4-decades-after-war-ended-agent.html