Wednesday, April 1, 2020

S. 3444 - "Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act 2020"

from our good friend Paul Sutton
The VA has delayed - for now almost three years - the addition of the four diseases as recommended by the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). If your Senator is not a co-sponsor of S.3444, get on 'em! Encourage your Representative to introduce a companion bill in the House. Once they pass the stimulus bill today, they'll have plenty of time on their hands to help sick and dying Vietnam veterans.
Paul Sutton

Summary: S.3444 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.3444. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (03/11/2020)

Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act of 2020
This bill provides a presumption of service-connection for Parkinsonism, bladder cancer, hypertension, and hypothyroidism for veterans exposed to certain herbicide agents while serving in Vietnam. Under a presumption of service-connection, specific conditions diagnosed in certain veterans are presumed to have been caused by the circumstances of their military service. Health care benefits and disability compensation may then be awarded. 

VA says Blue Water Navy Veterans received $140M in retroactive benefits in January, February

Blue Water Navy Veterans and survivors who filed compensation claims in January and February 2020 have so far received over $140 million in retroactive benefits. This information can be found in a new monthly report published on the 10th business day of each month to inform Veterans and other stakeholders about BWN claims decisions.
These figures show the latest results from VA directly acting upon the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veteran Act of 2019 that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
The BWN Act extends the presumption of herbicide exposure, such as Agent Orange, to Veterans who served in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, as well as Veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone between Sept. 1, 1967, and Aug. 31, 1971. Prior to this law, only Veterans who served on the ground in Vietnam or within Vietnam’s inland waterways were eligible to receive disability compensation based on a presumption of herbicide exposure.
How to file
Filing a claim for BWN benefits is a straightforward process. Veterans who wish to file an initial claim for an herbicide-related disability that have not been previously decided by VA can use VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits, online at https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim.
However, BWN Veterans who were previously denied will be able to reapply using VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim. As of Jan. 1, VA began processing BWN claims that were stayed in the VA review process or under appeal.
Survivors and dependents who have never filed a claim but want to file a claim now can use VA Form 21P-534EZ. Survivors and dependents who have been previously denied a Dependency and Indemnity claim and want to file another claim now can use VA Form 20-0995. For additional Dependency and Indemnity claims information, visit https://www.va.gov/disability/dependency-indemnity-compensation.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Veterans and Parkinson’s disease

Evidence suggests that one cause of Parkinson’s disease may be exposure to pesticides or herbicides. During the Vietnam War, many veterans were exposed to Agent Orange, a mix of herbicides that was used by the US military to defoliate trees and remove concealment for the enemy. There are other causes of Parkinson’s disease as well, and most people who develop Parkinson’s disease were never exposed to high levels of pesticides or herbicides.

Agent Orange

Veterans exposed to Agent Orange during military service may be eligible for a free Agent Orange Health Registry Exam. Registry health examination, healthcare benefits, and disability compensation. Vietnam veterans with Parkinson’s disease or other diseases possibly associated with Agent Orange may claim benefits without having to prove that their conditions are due to Agent Orange exposure.
KEEP READING

NOW AVAILABLE from National Academies Press: Assessment of Long-Term Health Effects of Antimalarial Drugs When Used for Prophylaxis


Among the many who serve in the United States Armed Forces and who are deployed to distant locations around the world, myriad health threats are encountered. In addition to those associated with the disruption of their home life and potential for combat, they may face distinctive disease threats that are specific to the locations to which they are deployed. U.S. forces have been deployed many times over the years to areas in which malaria is endemic, including in parts of Afghanistan and Iraq. Department of Defense (DoD) policy requires that antimalarial drugs be issued and regimens adhered to for deployments to malaria-endemic areas. Policies directing which should be used as first and as second-line agents have evolved over time based on new data regarding adverse events or precautions for specific underlying health conditions, areas of deployment, and other operational factors.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

March 26, 1982

Groundbreaking for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

AO Town Hall Meetings - COVID19 virus UPDATE

SOME MEETINGS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED - VERIFY SCHEDULE CHANGES with local chapter and state council officials 

AGENT ORANGE TOWN HALL MEETING SCHEDULE

We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:



Sunday, March 22, 2020

Help make Vietnam War Veterans Day an online commemoration


Sunday, March 29th is National Vietnam War Veterans Day.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, public events at The Wall in Washington, D.C. and in many communities around the country cannot take place as planned. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is moving this year’s commemoration online with a live webcast and messages of thanks. 
We need your video or written message to make National Vietnam War Veterans Day an online event! 
We’re asking you to record a very short video and upload it by Friday, March 27th, and then watch the event online on March 29th at 1:00 pm EST.  You can also leave a written message. 
Who should record videos or leave a written message? 
  • Anyone who appreciates the service and sacrifices of our military! 
  • Family members 
  • Local community representatives 
  • Veterans Service Organizations 
  • Vietnam veterans 
  • Currently serving military members 
Here’s How You Can Help 
  1. Record a 10-second video on your phone. Please hold your phone horizontally and limit the length to 10 seconds. 
  2. On your phone, go to https://www.vvmf.org/WelcomeHome  Follow the link to submit your video. 
  3. Watch the online event on March 29th at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT on our event page at https://www.vvmf.org/WelcomeHome  
Other Things You Can Do at www.vvmf.org/welcomehome
  • Submit your written message 
  • Change your profile picture on Facebook using VVMF's Facebook frame
  • Make a gift to VVMF in honor of someone who served
Together we can create something truly special for all our Vietnam veterans.  
Sincerely,
Jim Knotts
President and CEO
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

Monday, March 16, 2020

VA Website for COVID-19 info

courtesy of our good friend Paul Sutton
What is VA doing?
VA has implemented an aggressive public health response to protect and care for Veterans in the face of this emerging health risk. We are working directly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners to monitor the outbreak of the virus.
VA has administered over 100 COVID-19 tests nationwide while taking aggressive steps to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
These measures include outreach to Veterans and staff, clinical screening at VA health care facilities, and protective procedures for patients admitted to community living centers and spinal cord injury units.

We can't forget about the pole plant

While Superfund attention is focused on the Consent Decree for Uptown Butte, we cannot lose sight of another Superfund site — the Montana Pole Plant. Currently, modifications to the remedy at the Pole Plant are under consideration by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), which is the lead agency at the site. The Pole Plant, because of dioxin on site, is in some ways the most acutely dangerous Superfund site in Butte. In examining the new remedy for Montana Pole Plant, the following needs to be addressed:
1. In the 10/29/2017 edition of the Montana Standard , we find:
a. MDEQ estimates that it will take 50 years to remove all the petroleum based pollutants out of the groundwater.
b. There is money to operate the water treatment plant at the Pole Plant for only 30 years, given that the Pole Plant is a cash out site.
c. So where will MDEQ get the money to operate the water treatment plant for the additional 20 years that it will need to operate to remove all the petroleum based pollutants out of the groundwater?
2. Presently, the water treatment plant is not producing water that can meet all of the water quality standards. What assurances does the public have this this will be remedied and the water treatment plant will produce water that is in compliance with water quality standards? MDEQ says that we are "close." But I don't know what that means. How close? When will standards be achieved? Are we looking down the road at another waiver of standards in Butte? If they haven't been able to meet standards in the past, why should we think that they will meet standards in the future?

Sailors Contribute During Vietnam Port Call

Story by Seaman Erik Melgar
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)   
Visiting Vietnam is something not many Sailors will experience in their Navy career. The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) is only the second carrier to visit Vietnam in more than 40 years. This historic port visit comes 25 years after diplomatic relations began between the United States and Vietnam.
Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Da Nang, Vietnam, March 5, 2020. Sailors experienced the culture and met with the people of Vietnam through tours, professional exchanges, and community relations events.
They volunteered at multiple establishments, including the Agent Orange Center of Da Nang, a vocational school for people affected by Agent Orange, and Dorothea’s Project Legacies Center, a children’s orphanage in Da Nang.

AGENT ORANGE CENTER
Agent Orange is a chemical that was used during the Vietnam War, and was harmful to anyone
who came into contact with it. The children of Agent Orange victims often have mental and physical disabilities. The Agent Orange Center helps these children learn in a fun and welcoming environment.
Phan Phanh Pien, the vice president of the Agent Orange Center said more than 30 children attend the school, where they learn general education, as well as vocational skills to help them later in life.
 “We teach them special education living skills, and we give some of them vocational training,” said Pien. “We want to enlighten the children so they can be better, confident, and find a job in the future.”
As a gift to the children, who were not at school, Sailors painted a mural to celebrate the 25 years of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam.
“We painted this beautiful 25th anniversary mural for them,” said U.S. Navy Retail Services Specialist Seaman Keeshma Singh. “The mural was to commemorate our peace with them. It was amazing, knowing that they’re going to come back and see our gift to them.”
Sailors also spent the day beautifying the school, doing yardwork and general clean-up to surprise the children when they return to class.
 “I was heartbroken when I heard they wouldn’t be there,” said Singh. “But knowing that I was still able to make an impact to them had my heart racing.” 

Friday, March 13, 2020

March 13, 1954 -The Battle of Dien Bien Phu Launches

READ ALL ABOUT IT!
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu (French: Bataille de Diên Biên Phu) was a climactic confrontation of the First Indochina War that took place between 13 March and 7 May 1954. It was fought between the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps and Viet Minh communist revolutionaries.
It was, from the French view before the event, a set piece battle to draw out the Vietnamese and destroy them with superior firepower. As a result of blunders in French decision-making, however, the French began an operation to insert, then support, the soldiers at Điện Biên Phủ, deep in the hills of northwestern Vietnam. The operation's purpose was to cut off Viet Minh supply lines into the neighboring Kingdom of Laos (a French ally), and draw the Viet Minh into a major confrontation in order to cripple them. The plan was to resupply the French position by air, and was based on the belief that the Viet Minh had no anti-aircraft capability. The Viet Minh, however, under General Võ Nguyên Giáp, surrounded and besieged the French. They brought in vast amounts of heavy artillery (including anti-aircraft guns) and managed to move these bulky weapons through difficult terrain up the rear slopes of the mountains. The Viet Minh were then able to dig tunnels through the mountain, and emplaced the artillery pieces overlooking the French encampment.
In March, a massive artillery bombardment by the Viet Minh ensued. The strategic positioning of their artillery made it nearly impervious to French counter-battery fire. Tenacious fighting on the ground ensued, reminiscent of the trench warfare of World War I. At times the French repulsed Viet Minh assaults on their positions while supplies and reinforcements were delivered by air. As key positions were overrun, the perimeter contracted and the air resupply on which the French had placed their hopes became impossible. As the Viet Minh antiaircraft fire took its toll, fewer and fewer of those supplies reached the French. The garrison was overrun in May after a two-month siege, and most of the French forces surrendered. A few of them escaped to Laos. The French government in Paris then resigned, and the new Prime Minister, the left-of-centre Pierre Mendès France, supported French withdrawal from Indochina.
The Battle of Điện Biên Phủ was decisive; the war ended shortly after and the 1954 Geneva Accords were signed. France agreed to withdraw its forces from all its colonies in French Indochina, while stipulating that Vietnam would be temporarily divided at the 17th parallel, with control of the north given to the Viet Minh as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh, and the south becoming the State of Vietnam, nominally under Emperor Bảo Đại, preventing Ho Chi Minh from gaining control of the entire country.

Scientists find chemicals may contribute to Parkinson’s Disease

Our good friend Zack Earp has sent us this latest information regarding Parkinson's Disease.
Scientists find a way chemicals may contribute to Parkinson’s
If you’re interested in the link between Parkinson's and the gut, we’ve rounded up some of the best articles and newest research on the subject.
A new study adds to a growing body of research that suggests we might have been thinking about Parkinson's disease wrong this whole time.
A recently published study has revealed differences in gut bacteria in those with Parkinson's disease based on their medications and geographic locations, adding to our growing knowledge.
A team from CalTech proposes a connection between gut bacteria, fatty acids, brain inflammation and Parkinson's symptoms.

H.R.566 - Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act 116th Congress (2019-2020) | Get alerts

Official Title as Introduced

To amend title 38, United States Code, to remove the manifestation period required for the presumptions of service connection for chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, and acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Trump Tells Colombia: Spray Coca Fields With Alleged Carcinogen—or Else

CALI, Colombia—During a meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque at the White House early last week, Donald Trump more or less ordered Colombia to wipe out coca plants—the main ingredient in cocaine—by spraying the controversial herbicide glyphosate from the air.
No, it’s not the infamous chemical Agent Orange used in Vietnam, but it’s bad enough, and likely to poison the people and the land beneath the toxic clouds.
“You’re going to have to spray,” Trump said in front of reporters. “If you don’t spray you’re not going to get rid of [the coca plants]. So you have to spray with regard to the drugs in Colombia.”
Duque, long under pressure from the Trump administration, has now agreed to an ambitious “bilateral” plan to eradicate half of Colombia's 212,000 hectares (523,863 acres) of coca by 2023. But Colombia remains the world’s leading exporter of processed cocaine, with about 90 percent of the finished product flowing north to the United State.
That doesn’t sit well with Trump, who has vacillated passive-aggressively between insulting Duque and threatening ominous repercussions for Colombia if cocaine production isn’t curbed.  
In 2017, Trump threatened to decertify Colombia as a good-faith partner in the U.S. ”drug war”—a move that would lead to a cutoff of most foreign assistance to the nation. At the time, other leaders in Washington rushed to assure Duque that his country remained one of Washington’s most valued allies in the region. But Trump doubled down on his coercive threat again in 2018, and this time he made it personal.
“He [Duque] said how he was going to stop drugs. More drugs are coming out of Colombia right now than before he was president—so he has done nothing for us," Trump said.
This cocaine quid pro quo—eradication at all costs or risk losing humanitarian and military aid—has led directly to Bogotá’s decision to resume aerial spraying with glyphosate. Colombia had curtailed the practice back in 2015 due to health risks, including cancer.

Meet the VetPop of 2030: Service Era and Geography

At the turn of this new decade, we’ve been thinking about what’s ahead for our nation’s veterans. Statistics tell us that the veteran population in 2030 will look quite different than it does today. So what will it look like, and what do these changes mean for communities serving veterans? This series of blogs compares the demographic makeup of the 2020 veteran population to that of 2030. We’ll consider the circumstances driving these demographic shifts, imagine the challenges and opportunities they present, and offer considerations for collaboratives as they work to create communities in which veterans and their families can thrive after service. Here’s what we know about 2030...
The largest service-era cohort will also be the group with the longest continuous wartime service. 
In 2030, the majority of veterans—52.8%—will have served during the Gulf War era, including Post-9/11 veterans who will make up 23.8% of the veteran population. It is possible that by 2030, the entire military experience of the majority of America's veterans will been served during times of war.
Communities can continue to improve how they serve these veterans and their families by:
  • Continuing to support the caregivers who play a significant role in recovery and well-being for ill and injured veterans.
  • Considering that surveys show that many veterans who participated in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are unsure that they made a difference or believe they did not; for veterans experiencing this dissatisfaction, cynicism, or ennui, traditional gratitudes and honors may not resonate or otherwise be well-received.
  • Remaining abreast of research and best practices—both for clinical practitioners and anyone serving veterans—on connecting with and caring for veterans with the “trademark injuries” of these wars: PTSD, TBI, and moral injury. People living with each (or some, or all) of these injuries may experience cognitive changes that inherently make it difficult to both recognize when there is a problem and ask for help to solve it.
  • Tightening public-private connections with active duty military installations and guard and reserve units to identify ways to bring veterans into the fold sooner.
  • KEEP READING

What's killing Staff Sergeant Wesley Black? The VA doesn't want to talk about it

By Brianna Keilar and Catherine Valentine, CNN
"I'm not bullshitting you when I say the conversation went like this: 'Hi Wesley, I just wanted to call and see how you're doing. Are you alone this weekend?" retired Staff Sergeant Wesley Black said, describing the call he received three years ago from his doctor.
"No, my wife is here," he answered.
"Great, OK good, because we wanted to let you know you have stage four colon cancer, and we'll be in touch with you Monday, OK? Have a good weekend."
Black was 31 years old and had recently begun a new career as a firefighter. His wife had just given birth to their baby boy. Days before, they had signed the mortgage on their first home.
The colon cancer had spread to his liver and lungs and Black says doctors gave him three to five years to live. That was three years and one month ago.
Later, he learned burn pits used by the military to destroy trash in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Black had served in the Vermont National Guard, were to blame.
What is a burn pit?
Ask any veteran of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars what went into the burn pits, and they'll tell you: everything. Food, human waste, tourniquets, bloody gloves, cans of paint, plastic water bottles, unexploded ordnance, batteries, tires, big screen televisions, mini-fridges, Kindle E-readers and entire humvees, too damaged by IEDs to salvage.
They would add diesel and jet fuel, both known carcinogens, and light the trash piles on fire. At times, they burned around the clock, churning out acrid, black smoke.
At one base in Afghanistan, soldiers saw the entire fuselage of a Soviet-built Afghan airplane smoldering as they jogged along a burn pit on their daily run.
Veterans repeatedly describe choking air wafting through their sometimes makeshift barracks as the wind shifted.

Milken's Unpardonable Redwood Felonies

Some crimes cannot be forgiven. There's Harvey Weinstein's sexual assaults, the Sackler family's (alleged) opioid proliferation and, for Humboldt County, Michael Milken's junk bonds.
So when President Trump pardoned "Junk Bond King" Milken for his criminal offenses last week, the message to Humboldt was clear: No matter how many ancient forests you plunder, it's an admirable undertaking — as long as it makes money.
Milken's felonious financing was a primary cause for Maxxam's massive clearcutting of big redwoods in the 1980s. Maxxam used Milken's junk bonds to leverage a hostile takeover of Pacific Lumber Co. But junk bonds have huge interest rates because they're deemed risky investments and the exhausting interest on those takeover bonds was repaid with the hard currency of ancient trees.
When Milken started using investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert to create the financial underpinnings for forest destruction, Humboldt was already reeling from nearly a decade of Enviro v. Logger politics. The attitude toward forests was tearing apart the social fabric of Humboldt County at the time. It was a one-industry economy, logging, and it was tanking. Jobs were scarce. The community grew polarized. The factions got violent. It got bloody. Entire watersheds were denuded.
Enviromentalists were in fist fights with loggers in Eureka's streets. The timber industry, backed by Humboldt State University and the Times-Standard, was promoting giant clearcuts. In the name of "silviculture," clearcuts were followed by dropping napalm for controlled burns after logging, then helicopters spraying the components of Agent Orange – 2,4,5-T (until it was banned) and 2,4-D. The herbicides' aim was to kill all wide-leaved vegetation before it could compete with the next softwood cash crop.

Lawmakers introduce bill aimed at helping with the No.1 cancer diagnosed at VA

The most commonly diagnosed cancer at VA hospitals nationwide is prostate cancer. Two members of Congress have introduced a bill aimed at helping care for those veterans.
More than 489,000 veterans are currently undergoing treatment at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities for prostate cancer. It's also more common among black veterans and among veterans exposed to toxins, such as Agent Orange.
On Thursday, Reps. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., and Neal Dunn, R-Fla., introduced the Veterans Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act.
The bipartisan bill creates a national clinical pathway for prostate cancer, a standardized system of treatment for veterans and establishes a real-time registry to track patients' progress. Standardizing treatment will improve care for veterans and the registry could help patients get better access to "cutting-edge clinical trials," the congressmen said.
“After everything our veterans experience while serving, the last thing they should be faced with is yet another enemy – prostate cancer,” Dunn said in a statement. “The key to overcoming prostate cancer is early detection. Veterans deserve a system that streamlines the pathway from early detection to successful treatment. This bill is a solid first step forward to save fellow veterans' lives and defeat this deadly adversary.”

Friday, March 6, 2020

Congress worries VA isn't ready to care for growing number of senior, disabled vets

As veterans age and the population of senior veterans grows dramatically in the next eight years, Congress worries the Department of Veterans Affairs isn’t prepared for what lawmakers called a “silver tsunami.”
The number of veterans older than 75 enrolled in VA health care is expected to nearly double by 2028, VA leaders told Congress during a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing Tuesday. About half of the 9 million total veterans who receive care at VA are older than 65.
As the veteran population gets older, their need for care also significantly increases, particularly for those with service-connected disabilities. The number of veterans with service-connected disabilities is expected to increase by more than a third by 2028, such as Vietnam veterans ill from Agent Orange exposure or Gulf War and post-9/11 veterans exposed to other toxins. The demand for long-term care -- anything from help around the house to round-the-clock care, including help eating or bathing -- is expected to rise in particular.
But VA may struggle to meet that demand, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.
VA faces workforce shortages for nursing assistants and other jobs, which result in waitlists for long-term care and challenges reaching veterans in rural or remote areas, where about a third of all veterans live, according to Nikki Clowers, managing director of health care at GAO.
VA will need to spend $14 billion annually to keep up with this increasing demand for long-term care, according to GAO. In 2018, VA provided or paid for long-term care for more than half a million veterans.

City of Wausau to test five locations in Riverside Park for soil contamination

WAUSAU - Five soil samples will be taken from Riverside Park this spring and tested for high levels in chemicals.
The city's Parks and Recreation Committee voted unanimously to have five soil samples taken from the west-side park and tested for dioxins. The tests were ordered after continued pressure from Citizens for a Clean Wausau, a local advocacy group that works to ensure neighborhoods free from harmful toxins.
The tests will be taken in several places throughout the park at 100 Sherman St., but mostly on the western side, away from the river, according to city documents. A sample will also be taken from a culvert discharge area, where previous tests have shown elevated levels of dioxins.
The samples will include testing done at two different levels, the committee also decided, at soil depths of about 1 inch and again at 5-6 inches. Each of the five tests is estimated to cost $1,500, said Eric Lindman, the public works and utilities director.
The elevated levels of toxins are the result of a former Crestline Window plant site, near the current 3M plant. As a part of its normal functions, the Crestline plant in the 1980s released chemicals into the soil and groundwater, according to Wausau Daily Herald archives.

Hazardous contaminants found in Molalla soil

For nearly four decades, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has been monitoring contamination on a former mill site, located on 5th Street, south of the Molalla library.
A cleanup is expected to take place this year or next; but before that happens, and even before DEQ selects a specific cleanup plan, the department is holding a public meeting to hear comments and answer questions. That meeting will take place on March 10 at 7 p.m. at the Molalla Adult Community Center.
Site History and Contamination
The site to-be-cleaned is part of the 91-acre Avison #1 mill site, located at 500 E. 5th St. in Molalla, where lumber was produced from the 1950s through the 1990s, according to a DEQ staff report on the cleanup.
At Avison 1, from approximately 1973 to 1983, Avison Lumber Company dipped wood in a solution of 1 percent pentachlorophenol (PCP) and water to prevent mold growth on lumber being shipped overseas, per DEQ's report.
Now, both PCP and dioxins (deriving from PCP) have been found in soil on the property as a result of the dipping activities.
PCP is extremely toxic to humans, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and can cause effects on the respiratory tract, blood, kidney, liver, immune system, eyes, nose and skin. It is a probable carcinogen.

Monday, March 2, 2020

AGENT ORANGE TOWN HALL MEETING SCHEDULE

We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:






March 14, 2020
Mesa, Arizona
Contact: Chuck Byers
480-258-7105

March 21, 2020
Portland, Oregon
Contact: Steve Carr
503-558-2970

March 27-28, 2020
Watertown, South Dakota
Contacts: Jack Dean 605-393-0444
Maynard Kaderlik 507-581-6402

March 28, 2020
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
John Margowski,
262-224-6525                          

April 25, 2020
Barrington, Rhode Island
Contact: Fran Guevremont
401-374-0573

April 25, 2020
New Ulm, Minnesota
Contact: Rod Mueller
507-276-9206
Maynard Kaderlik
507-581-6402

May 9, 2020
Room 112 A & B
Contact: Joseph P Eiting
920-205-1565

May 16, 2020
Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Contacts: Carla Henning 218-326-0095
Maynard Kaderlik 507-581-6402

Largest maker of the pesticide chlorpyrifos which is linked to brain damage in kids to stop its production






The world’s largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, an agricultural pesticide linked to brain damage in children, has announced that it will stop producing the chemical by the end of the year.
The announcement on Thursday by Corteva, the corporation formed from a Dow Chemical and DuPont merger, comes after the Trump administration reversed regulatory plans to ban the pesticide and rejected the scientific conclusions of US government experts.
Chlorpyrifos has been widely used on corn, soybeans, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes, walnuts and other crops, but research has repeatedly found serious health effects in children, including impaired brain development. Environmental groups have long advocated for its ban, and the state of California, which grows the majority of the nation’s fruits and nuts, defied Trump and banned the chemical last year.
Corteva said it was ending production due to declining sales. Susanne Wasson, the president of Corteva’s crop protection business, told Reuters it was a “difficult decision”.
Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxic chemical that was found to be harmful enough to humans that the US banned it from residential use in 2000. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, has continued to defend its safety for agricultural uses.
In California’s Central Valley, the heart of the agricultural industry, researchers raised concerns about impacts on pregnant women who lived near farms that sprayed chlorpyrifos. Some studies found low to moderate levels of exposure during pregnancy were linked to memory problems and lower IQ.

LETTER: We fought in Vietnam; now we fight the VA


Dear Editor,
Fifty years ago, I fought the Vietnam War from the flight deck of the USS America, operating in the Tonkin Gulf.
I lost hearing working among the jet engines.
After examination at VA in Albany, I received my benefit letter.
Determination: "Acoustic trauma, service connected."
My award was calculated as 0 percent. Yes, zero. No benefit.
I was suffering from diabetes; my doctor prescribed Invokana. I sent a script to the VA and never got meds. I asked, "Where is my medicine?” Their response: "Too expensive, we will not fill prescriptions for Invokana.” I have to go private and pay a $179 co-pay.
We fought for years to get the VA to admit that Agent Orange wafted into the (Tonkin) gulf and affected the sailors on these ships.
Ten years ago, we started a lawsuit that made it to the Supreme Court. In January 2019, the court found in our favor. Congress passed the Blue Water Navy Act of 2019 and demanded the VA approve our claims and pay our benefits.
Benefits were to start January 2020. But the VA figured out a loophole: It determined that the carriers were operating outside an imaginary 12-mile limit from shore.
And so the VA has determined that the thousands of men on the carriers will be excluded from the benefits of the Blue Water Navy Act and will not be awarded compensation. We appealed to Congress and it refused to allow the carriers to be included.

Robert Carroll
Aviation Electronics Mate
Attack Squadron 82
Arkville, N.Y.

K2 military veterans, widow share stories of deadly exposure with lawmakers

More than 15 years after her husband died of stage three brain cancer, Kim Brooks of Norwood, Massachusetts, shared his story with lawmakers on Thursday.
"I'm here today because my husband, Lt. Col. Timothy Brooks, can't be," she said, testifying to the House Subcommittee on National Security -- only two weeks after her first visit to Washington, where she was part of a group that demanded a hearing before Congress to ultimately get recognition of the health effects that resulted from their exposure at an Uzbek military base.
Tim Brooks served at Karshi-Khanabad, otherwise known as K2, from November 2001 through Spring 2002. The U.S. had leased the former Soviet base from the Uzbek government following the 9/11 attacks -- largely because of its convenient location near al-Qaida and Taliban targets in northern Afghanistan.
In May 2003, Tim Brooks was at a pre-deployment meeting with his wife when he collapsed and had a grand mal seizure. A year later he died at age 36.
According to previous ABC News reporting, a November 2001 report by the Army Public Health Center found areas of the base "contaminated with asbestos and low-level radioactive depleted uranium," which were caused by the destruction of Soviet missiles.
Kim Brooks told lawmakers Thursday that she believes her husband's cancer was caused by these toxic exposures at the base, and now she's pleading for recognition from the government.
"K2 families and veterans deserve to know the full extent of what they were exposed to so that they can focus on their health and plan for their futures," she said.