Thursday, October 27, 2016

Dr. Orange: The Secret Nemesis of Sick Vets

For decades, the military and the VA have repeatedly turned to one man to guide decisions on whether Agent Orange harmed vets in Vietnam and elsewhere. His reliable answer: No.

A Pentagon consultant was recommending that Air Force officials quickly and discreetly chop up and melt down a fleet of C-123 aircraft that had once sprayed the toxic herbicide Agent Orange across Vietnam. The consultant also suggested how to downplay the risk if journalists started asking questions: “The longer this issue remains unresolved, the greater the likelihood of outside press reporting on yet another ‘Agent Orange Controversy.’”
The Air Force, Carter saw in the records, had followed those suggestions.
Carter, now 70, had received the 2009 memos in response to public records requests he filed after recalling the chemical stench in a C-123 he crewed on as an Air Force reservist in the years after the Vietnam War. He’d soon discovered that others he’d served with had gotten sick, too. Now it seemed he’d uncovered a government-sanctioned plan to destroy evidence of any connection between the aircraft, Agent Orange and their illnesses. And the cover-up looked like it had been set in motion by one man: Alvin L. Young.

Carter had gotten his first glimpse of “Dr. Orange.”
Young had drawn the nickname decades earlier as an Air Force expert on herbicides used to destroy enemy-shielding jungle in Vietnam. Since then — largely behind the scenes — the scientist, more than anyone else, has guided the stance of the military and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Agent Orange and whether it has harmed service members.
Young tested the weed killer for the Air Force during the war, helped develop a plan to destroy it at sea a decade later — a waste of good herbicides, he’d said — then played a leading role in crafting the government’s response to veterans who believed the chemicals have made them sick. For a while, he even kept a vial of Agent Orange by his desk.
Throughout, as an officer and later as the government’s go-to consultant, Young’s fervent defense hasn’t wavered: Few veterans were exposed to Agent Orange, which contained the toxic chemical dioxin. And even if they were, it was in doses too small to harm them. Some vets, he wrote in a 2011 email, were simply “freeloaders,” making up ailments to “cash in” on the VA’s compensation system.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Also, October is Breast, Liver, Prostate & Colon Cancers Awareness Month

If you are a Vietnam veteran and/or you and your family lived at Camp Lejeune, please get screened for the service-connected cancers noted above.

In Vietnam, Agent Orange victims struggle to survive as Monsanto thrives

Lying on a simple mat, Ho Thi Minh looks to be waiting for something in the darkness. She stares, silently, at the ceiling until a visitor enters the room. Her head slowly turns, casting large dark eyes.
Her delicate body isn't strong enough to rise. She looks to be eight or nine years old, but this year, she will "celebrate" her 31st birthday.
Next door, her brother Ho Phuoc Hoa, 46, lies in the same position. He doesn’t speak either. When his mother comes up to wash him with a damp rag, he struggles to raise his arms, and then returns to his prone position.
At the age of 66, Phan Thi Nao does what she can to care for her children and husband, Ho Phuoc Ha. He sits by the door of the house, most days, and also has difficulty moving.
Doctors are not 100 percent sure that he's a victim of dioxin -- a toxic substance found in the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, which U.S. forces sprayed indiscriminately during the Vietnam War. For Nao's children on the other hand, the diagnosis is beyond doubt: they suffer from the effects of the abominable chemical weapon and are the collateral victims of a war that ended before they were born.
The old woman still remembers hiding as planes sprayed the defoliant on her while she was still pregnant.
“I was exposed to Agent Orange during my time fighting in the local resistance force between 1972 and 1975,” she said.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Bottom line: Dioxin waste exposed to river, residents

At Thursday night’s highly anticipated U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s community meeting about the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, elected officials from across the Houston area thanked and supported the EPA’s decision to remove toxic wastes from the site. 
Baytown City Manager Rick Davis, Congressman Gene Green, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan and representatives with Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman’s office all made comments in favor of removal.   
“On behalf of our mayor and city council, I would like to express support for the complete remediation of the waste pits,” said Davis. “We view anything short of this is a deferment of this responsibility to a future generation, and not terribly responsible. Therefore, we will continue to support full remediation and in fact on Oct. 27, the council and mayor will take up yet another resolution in support of the EPA decision.” 
In late September, the EPA proposed an $87 million cleanup to remove an estimated 152,000 cubic yards of contaminated material located north of Interstate 10, within the San Jacinto River between Channelview and Highlands. EPA’s preferred remedy also proposes a $9.9 million cleanup to remove and additional 50,000 cubic yards of waste materials located south of I-10 for offsite disposal. 
“Federal law encourages the EPA to do the best they can for a permanent fix, so we don’t have to continue worrying about another barge getting loose and releasing dioxin into the water,” said Green at the meeting. “So that’s why I’m hear tonight, having worked on this for years, to see the goal of this Superfund site get cleaned up.” 
Harris County Attorney Ryan, who for years has been involved in a civil suit with the responsible parties, also thanked the EPA for their proposed cleanup solution for future generations to come.

OPINION: The Dark History of GMOs

Citizens for Healthy Farms & Families, Transgenic Contamination Prevention Ordinance will soon be under attack from one of the biggest corporate bullies on the block, Monsanto. This ordinance bans the growing of genetically engineered (GMOs) crops in Sonoma County. It does not stop people from selling them, conducting contained research or stop medical practitioners from using them in the care and treatment of patients. 
80% of all GMOs are produced to sell Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. Roundup is sprayed on crops grown from Roundup Ready seeds to kill everything that isn’t Roundup Ready. Naturally, some weeds will be immune and pass on this immunity to future generations so farmers will be forced to spray more herbicides on their crops. Monsanto wins twice this way. 
This self-serving plan illustrates the nature of the Monsanto Corporation. This bill isn’t about science as much as it is about ethics. Monsanto’s corporate behaviors would make a psychopath proud. Let’s look at their history.
Monsanto began in 1901. Its first product was saccharin, made from toluene and petroleum. In 1977, the FDA moved to ban the use of saccharin in prepared foods after testing showed that it could cause bladder cancer. Congress rejected the FDA’s request and instead agreed that manufacturers would provide health warnings on their packaging. In the 1920’s, Monsanto began producing pesticides and herbicides, including what came to be known of as Agent Orange. Agent Orange is a defoliant made from 2,4-D and 2,4-T. It was used extensively in Vietnam by the US armed forces during the Vietnam War. The Vietnam Veterans of America lists at least fifty illnesses and diseases and nearly twenty separate birth defects connected to exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange is the gift that keeps on giving, as to this day, children in Vietnam are born with ghastly birth defects and nervous disorders. During the 1930’s, Monsanto began manufacturing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs are so toxic that they were banned in the US during the 1970s but still pollute today. PCBs are carcinogenic. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Agent Orange Links

Fish and amphibian embryos as alternative models in toxicology and teratology

Sources of Dioxins and Dioxin-like Compounds in the Environment
(major sources of DLCS in the enivronemnt)

IARC Monographs evaluate   DDT, l indane, and 2,4-D

IARC Assessment of 2,4-D as a Possible Carcinogen

Environmental exposure of Aquatic and Terrestrial Biota to Triclosan and Triclocaban 1

Evaluation of the Association between Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Diabetes in Epidemiological Studies: A National Toxicology Program Workshop Review

Effects of Exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Organochlorine Pesticides on Thyroid Function during Pregnancy

Time Course of 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)-Induced Thymic Atrophy in the Wistar Rat

Serum Dioxin and Immunologic Response in Veterans of Operation Ranch Hand

Endometriosis and Dioxins

SHP-1 is directly activated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and regulates BCL-6 in the presence of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)

An Introduction to Aquatic Toxicology

Effects of perinatal exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on spatial and visual reversal learning in rats.

Geriatric Toxicology Part 3 – Digoxin and CCBs

Mechanisms of Action Point Towards Combined PBDE/NDL-PCB Risk Assessment

Reevaluation of the Fundamental Dose–Response Relationship

Exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) increases human hepatic stellate cell activation.

Serum dioxin and cancer in veterans of Operation Ranch Hand.

Association between Blood Dioxin Level and Chronic Kidney Disease in an Endemic Area of Exposure.

Vietnam, US launch Phase Two of Danang dioxin clean-up

HANOI: Vietnam and the United States on Tuesday (Oct 18) launched the second phase of a dioxin clean-up in Danang, where millions of litres of Agent Orange were stored during the war between the former enemies.
The US sprayed the defoliant over large swathes of southern jungle during the Vietnam War to flush out Viet Cong guerrillas, and Vietnamese victims' groups have long blamed the toxic residue for deformities and disease.
Though Washington has disputed the link between dioxin exposure and bad health, the US government has committed to help clean up toxic land.
The countries, whose relations have warmed in recent years, on Tuesday began treating 45,000 cubic metres of soil contaminated with dioxin at Danang Airport, a task expected to be finished by mid-2017.
"I am encouraged by how this project continues to be a symbol of our honesty about the past, dealing with what remains and turning an issue of contention into one of collaboration," US ambassador Ted Osius said at the scene, according to a statement.
The first phase of the clean-up, which also treated 45,000 cubic metres, was completed in May.
"The long-term impact of the project will be the elimination of potential health risks associated with dioxin exposure from the site," the US embassy statement said.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Urge the EPA to Ban This Dangerous Pesticide

Researchers have recently found that atrazine, the second most commonly used herbicide in the U.S., could cause sexual abnormalities in frogs, including deformed sexual organs and hermaphrodite features. Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency has identified the chemical’s “potential chronic risk to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates.” There is concern that the chemical, commonly found in the water supply in farming regions, could cause similar problems in humans.
The European Union, along with other countries, has banned the use of atrazine, but in the U.S. it is still legal and widely used. Sign this petition, and join Beyond Pesticides in urging the EPA to ban the use of atrazine. 

from Dr. Thomas J. Berger,  Executive Director of the VVA Veterans Health Council 
"While a faculty member at the University of Kansas in the 70's and 80's, myself and a colleague studied atrazine in the KS watershed.  Now Kansas has no natural lakes and as a result, man-made lakes were constructed in each of the 100+ counties over a period of almost 75 years.  In addition, several large reservoirs were constructed around state post-1950.  Jerry and I found the presence of atrazine in EVERY lake and reservoir throughout the state using frog larvae (tadpoles) as the indicator species." 

Makers of Agent Orange to be tried for ‘war crimes’ by a people’s tribunal

Monsanto, the controversial US agricultural corporation, will be tried by a non-legally binding tribunal on Saturday, 50 years after it was commissioned by the US army to produce the lethal herbicide Agent Orange for use in the Vietnam War.
The proceedings in The Hague will attempt to unpick Monsanto’s complicity in war crimes during the conflict and its alleged perpetration of ‘ecocide’, or widespread destruction of the environment.
Named after the orange-striped barrels in which it was shipped, Agent Orange was used to destroy forest cover used by North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops, as well as the crops that fed them.
Evidence has since linked its use to causing a slew of physical deformities and mental disorders. The Vietnam Red Cross reports that 3 million Vietnamese have been affected by Agent Orange and 150,000 children have suffered birth defects as a consequence of exposure to the toxic defoliant.
Glyphosate, a component in Monsanto’s “Roundup” herbicide, the most widely used in the world, is also linked to birth defects, according to Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception. The herbicide accompanies the use of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) seeds that the company is promoting, via its subsidiary Dekalb Vietnam, in Vietnam today.
Smith told The Diplomat in November 2014 that “this evidence is found in Monsanto’s own research, as well as experience today in Argentina and other countries where populations are experiencing a skyrocketing of birth defects when exposed to this dangerous weed killer”.
Then-agriculture minister Cao Duc Phat told a local newspaper in 2010 that he had “sent a letter to Monsanto asking them to bring their seeds to Vietnam” because “GMOs are a scientific achievement of humankind, and Vietnam needs to embrace them as soon as possible.”
Do Hai Linh, from the Vietnamese environmental NGO People and Nature Reconciliation, said Monsanto had crept back into Vietnam under the guise of promoting “biotechnology” and “environmentally-friendly agriculture”.
“Many of us were amazed and disappointed that Monsanto and their genetically modified organism business were accepted into the country so easily, given their direct involvement in the catastrophic Agent Orange campaign and given that the use of GMO seeds is still a controversial debate with inconclusive explanations,” Linh said.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Agent Orange Town Hall Meetings

Check the calendar

October 20, 2016
Crescent City, California
Contact : Jim Newman  541-254-1002
Tom Owen 541-619-8187

October 20, 2016
Brookings, Oregon
Contact: Jim Newman  541-254-1002
Tom Owen 541-619-8187

October 21, 2016
Gold Beach, Oregon
Contact: Jim Newman  541-254-1002
Tom Owen 541-619-8187

October 21, 2016
Port Orford, Oregon
Contact: Jim Newman  541-254-1002
Tom Owen 541-619-8187

November 5, 2016
Ocean City, Maryland
Contact: Robert Hartman

November 9, 2016
Santa Maria, California
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Contact: Richard Segovia

November 14, 2016
Roseburg, Oregon
Contact: Karen Hostetter
AVVA Chapter 805
November 15, 2016
Bend, Oregon
Contact :Wendy Rudy 541 706 2969
Tom Owen  541-619-8187

November 19, 2016
Portland, Oregon
Contact: Gary McAdams 503-577-6639  
Tom Owen  541-619-8187

January 7, 2017
Lebanon, Oregon
Contact: Tom Owen 541-619-8140