Niagara Gazette — Agent Orange, one of a host of highly toxic
herbicides used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War has returned
with a vengeance, affecting many of the three million veterans who
served in the war in Southeast Asia and their families.
“Agent Orange” because of the orange band painted on the drums that
stored it, was used to defoliate hiding places of the Viet Cong, rice
paddies and fields as well as around the military bases.
told it wasn’t harmful to humans,” said Jim May of North Tonawanda, who
served in the Navy in Vietnam serving on a hospital ship off the coast,
classified as “blue water.”
From 1962 to 1971, 11 million
gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed in Vietnam, May explained. By the
time the spraying stopped, Agent Orange had destroyed more than 5
million acres of land, roughly the size of New Jersey.
though the government said it was safe, they were endangering our lives
and the lives of our children and grandchildren,” May said. “It wasn’t
just the spray, but the dioxin got into the water system, used for
drinking, showering and food.”
But the terrible effects of the
dioxin that caused cancers, diabetes and a host of other diseases and
disabilities for the veterans, went beyond the veterans.
A case in
point is May’s grandson, who at nine months old was diagnosed with
retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye. The baby had his eye removed and now
has a prosthetic.
READ MORE: http://niagara-gazette.com/features/x335464779/Local-veterans-group-still-fighting-against-Agent-Orange