Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Journalists expose the legacy of Agent Orange

San Francisco State University - A campus-based journalism project is showing that the toxic effects of a defoliant used by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War continues to cause serious illness and physical deformities among generations of Vietnamese.

Photo of two young women leaving a building. One is using a walker.

Young women whose disabilities are assumed to be the result of Agent Orange receive physical therapy and vocational training at Friendship Village in Hanoi. Credit: Nick Ut, AP, for the Vietnam Reporting Project

The Vietnam Reporting Project, a program of the Renaissance Journalism Center at SF State and headed by Professor of Journalism Jon Funabiki, commissioned 15 journalists to travel to Vietnam to report on Agent Orange's long-term impact on human health and related social justice issues. Project fellows include SF State journalism faculty and students, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and photographers from across the U.S.

Used by American forces in Vietnam to defoliate jungles and expose enemy troops, Agent Orange contained dioxin, a highly toxic pollutant with proven links to cancer and birth defects. According to the Vietnam Red Cross, an estimated 3 million people in Vietnam suffer health problems directly linked to the toxin.

"It's a very under reported story," Funabiki said. "I was shocked and felt very ignorant when I learned that Agent Orange was still affecting people three generations after the war." Children and grandchildren of people exposed to Agent Orange during its use from 1961 to 1970 have been and continue to be born with missing limbs, blindness and cancers linked to the exposure. Funabiki hopes that the project reporting will reach Vietnamese American communities in particular, where he believes lingering bitterness over the war has prevented open discussions about the effects of Agent Orange.

Bay Area broadcast journalist K. Oanh Ha profiled Bay Area Vietnamese soldiers who fought alongside Americans and came to the U.S. as refugees, but who are not eligible for the same medical assistance. According to her three-part radio series, "The Forgotten Ones: The Legacy of Agent Orange," which aired in November on KQED radio's California Report, American Vietnam War veterans have received nearly $2 billion in federal disability payments for treatment of problems linked to Agent Orange.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Military Coalition VETERANS Committee Legislative Goals for 2011

from Paul Sutton

TMC VETERANS Committee Legislative Goals For 2011

Presumptive Service-Connected Eligibility for Agent Orange Exposure, Blue Water Navy

* Monitor Institute of Medicine's (IOM) independent review of research of "blue water" Vietnam veterans' health and Agent Orange-related diseases.
* Blue Water Navy Agent Orange Legislation. Support introduction of legislation, if necessary, to award presumptive service connection for veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam during that conflict.

from George Claxton

Ever since the initiation of the "Agent Orange/Dioxin" problem, thousands of studies have been undertaken to prove and disprove the dilemma that science has been burdened with. When one study is introduced that shows a positive connection between Agent Orange/dioxin, another study is published to deny the suggestion.

The projected reality of this type of conjecture is confusion and a perception that the problem cannot be alleviated either way. It would be incredible to believe that these poisons (dioxin like) do nor rake havoc on veterans and other gullible victims. After all the International Agency for Research on Cancer has said that 2,3,7,8-TCDD, PCB 126, and 2,3,4,7,8-Pentachlorodibenzofuran are all HUMAN CARCINOGENS. There is one consistency, however, and that is a correlation of negative studies from the people whom have the most to lose by seeing the poisons band.

DOW Chemical Company is one manufacturer that created products that contain dioxin like compounds. They (DOW) have done many studies on these products or by products. I think you have the right to judge on the motives behind these studies. Therefore, I suggest to you that you walk over to your computer and look on the Internet for a blog titled "DIOXINSPIN"

After you have printed it all out, I'm sure that you will be sadly awakened to the reality of the massive problem in the world concerning dioxin like poisons.

Faithfully submitted, George Claxton

Monday, December 20, 2010

Danang Agent Orange Girl Subject of UNICEF Photo of the Year‏

December 19, 2010 posted by Chuck Palazzo

Agent Orange continues to create health problems for children and adults in Vietnam

To learn more about Ly and Ed Kashi, visit

(WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.; via Salem News) – A young Danang girl is receiving international attention and bringing awareness to the lingering effects of Agent Orange after she was featured in the 2010 UNICEF Photo of the Year.

Nine-year-old Ly is pictured in a portrait taken by Ed Kashi, with VII Photos, who lives in New Jersey. Kashi photographed Ly and other children helped by Children of Vietnam in July 2010. Children of Vietnam is a charity that provides care to children with disabilities, including those who may have been negatively affected by Agent Orange.

Ly has a noticeable facial deformity, as well as a concave throat and weak heart. She is believed to be affected by dioxin, which was one of the ingredients in Agent Orange. Ly’s grandfather was a soldier during the Vietnam War, and her mother and aunt also have facial deformities. Despite her difficult circumstances, Ly is joyful and a leader among her friends.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Defense Department Wrongfully Discharges Nearly 26,000 Veterans, Refuses to Release Records


Press Release

December 15, 2010

No. 10-24

Mokie Pratt Porter
301-585-4000, Ext. 146

Washington, D.C.--The Defense Department’s (DoD) failure to comply with the law in releasing records that show it has blocked disabled veterans from receiving disability compensation and other benefits, earned as a result of service to our nation has prompted Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and VVA Chapter 120 in Hartford, Connecticut, to file a federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

The complaint, filed today at the U.S. District Court in New Haven by the Veterans Legal Services Clinic of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, charges that, since the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism, DoD has systematically discharged nearly 26,000 veterans, wrongfully classified as suffering from Personality Disorder, a characterization that renders the service member ineligible for receiving rightful benefits. Personality Disorder is a disability that begins in adolescence or early adulthood and can present with symptoms which may mimic Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“DoD’s Personality Disorder designation prevents thousands of wounded veterans from accessing service-connected disability compensation or health care,” said VVA National President John Rowan.

In 2007, the Veterans Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives charged DoD with deliberately misusing personality disorder diagnoses in order to reduce to the cost of health care and disability compensation by at least $12.5 billion. Since then, DoD has dramatically decreased the number of soldiers it has discharged on the basis of Personality Disorder. After discharging an average of 3,750 service members per year for Personality Disorder between 2001 and 2007, DoD has discharged only 960 service members in 2008; 1,426 in 2009; and 650 to date in 2010. However, rather than repairing the harm it has caused to the veterans it misdiagnosed, DoD is refusing to admit that veterans were inappropriately discharged with Personality Disorder before 2008.

“While DoD protects its reputation and its pocketbook, veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury continue to be denied the benefits and medical care they are due,” said Dr. Thomas Berger, Executive Director of VVA’s Veterans Health Council. Since 2007, VVA has publically criticized DoD’s systematic misuse of Personality Disorder discharges, in correspondence to DoD Secretary Gates and in testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee, with the intent of curbing the wrongful discharge practice and assisting those wrongfully discharged veterans in receiving the benefits to which they are entitled.

“If DoD truly believes that all Personality Disorder discharges were lawful, why does it refuse to provide records responsive to VVA’s Freedom of Information Act request?” asked Melissa Ader, a law student intern in the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, which is counsel in the case. “We hope that this lawsuit will allow the public to assess for itself whether DoD has treated veterans unjustly.” For more information on the lawsuit, go to

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Faces of Agent Orange - SHEILA CLEMENT

By Linda May
Sheila Clement looks at things like any other nurse would, and she would like to see medical science focus on what it can do for the children and grandchildren of Vietnam veterans.
She was married for about two years to Jerry Fox, whom she called “JD.” He was in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam 1968-69, at the same time as his brother, Rick, now 62, who was a Marine.
JD died in 1994 at the age of 41.
“JD’s brother is dying, as we speak,”
she said.
Sheila and JD married after his tour
of duty.
“I knew them a long time. JD and Rick were happy, normal teenagers. They’d go fishing together and things were fine. But they came back very different,” she said. “My ex-husband quickly disintegrated after he came back from Vietnam. He was bloated-looking. From the chest down, he was huge. He looked 20 years older.”
Her belief is that an herbicide like Agent Orange affected his internal organs.
“He was only a teenager when he went over. It gradually ate away at him,” she said. “When he died, they figured his heart just exploded.”
After a domestic violence episode, JD and Sheila divorced, but she is not buying the assumption that Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is the only cause of antisocial behavior in some Vietnam veterans.
“I knew JD and his brother from teenagers. They weren’t like that back then. Plus, Vietnam veterans were not all on the front line, but that didn’t mean they were not exposed to Agent Orange,” she said. “They could have been working in the motor pool and not on the DMZ. Some have no horror stories, but so many of them came back acting the same
as those that did, looking older than
they are.”
JD’s brother performed a supply job in the Marine Corps, and now he is only middle-aged, but he is deathly ill.


Significant numbers of Vietnam veterans have children and grandchildren with birth defects related to exposure to Agent Orange. To alert legislators and the media to this ongoing legacy of the war, we are seeking real stories about real people. If you wish to share your family’s health struggles that you believe are due to Agent Orange/dioxin, send an email to or call 301-585-4000, Ext. 146.

Seminar discusses treatment of dioxin contamination in hot spots in Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge – A seminar to warm up a project for cleaning up hotspots of dioxin contamination in Vietnam was held in Hanoi on December 15.

The event was co-organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The project, which will be implemented from 2010 to 2014, aims to overcome wartime dioxin aftermaths, reduce the devastation of dioxin on the environment and health risks for people living and working in three main hot spots including Da Nang and Phu Cat airports in central Vietnam and Bien Hoa airport in the southern province of Dong Nai.

Delegates focused on discussions on devising plans to treat dioxin contamination and the funding for the project.

Especially, they debated issues related to concentration of dioxin at the three hotspots.

Richard J.Cooke, an international consultant for the Office of The National Steering Committee on overcoming toxic chemicals used by US during the war in Vietnam (Office 33) said the project should pay attention to the basic requirements of technologies for treating dioxin to meet both international and Vietnam’s technical and environmental safety standards.

“Priorities should also be given to technologies which are likely to be implemented in Vietnam immediately through commercial provisions as well as the practical application of these technologies for dioxin contamination in Vietnam”, he said.

Delegates said there should be strict co-ordination between Office 33 and relevant ministries and agencies, especially the Ministry of Defence. They stated the steering committee should also pay more attention to necessary funding sources for the full remediation of all dioxin hot spots.

According to Office 33, US troops sprayed about 80 million litres of herbicides in southern Vietnam during the wartime from 1961 to 1971.

Monday, December 13, 2010

US okays $17 million for AO cleanup in post-war Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge - The US government has earmarked US$17 million to partly clean up a former US air base from toxic defoliant Agent Orange in the central Da Nang City next year.

Considered to be dioxin "hot spot," the Da Nang Airport will be decontaminated in the summer, said Nguyen Van Rinh, chairman of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin Thursday.

He added it cost an estimated $35 million to detoxify the whole airport.

Last year the US provided $1.69 million for a year-long project to assess the environmental impact and draft plans to clean up the airport.

According to the Association, the US army used around 80 million liters of toxic chemicals, mainly Agent Orange, in Vietnam between 1961 and 1971.

Meanwhile, two other dioxin "hot spots" in Vietnam - former US air bases at Bien Hoa and Phu Cat - have yet to be cleansed.

The US has not announced plans for them, Rinh told the press.

Meanwhile, Ngo Quang Xuan, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, and Co-Chair of the Vietnam-US Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin, has sent a letter to US and other donors to seek $300 million for a 10-year plan to detoxify 28 dioxin hot spots across Vietnam.

Dioxin is a component of Agent Orange and other herbicides. They were used by the US army during the War to kill foliage to deny cover to the Vietnamese guerrillas.

Other stories:

A Family's Story: Foreclosure result of small misfortunes piling up

DELTONA -- Most people going into foreclosure don't want to talk publicly about it with a newspaper reporter. But Daniel
Muriel -- a 55-year-old former Marine sergeant who served in Vietnam -- doesn't mind.

Life was comfortable when he first moved to Deltona in 1995. Both he and his wife Rosa worked. They had a young son, Ezequiel, together and several older children from previous marriages. They had a fixed-rate mortgage from a bank on a four-bedroom home with 1,700 square feet.

They went out to eat twice a month. They took trips: camping in Key West, visiting family in New York and Texas, venturing off to Maine and the Smoky Mountains.

Muriel talks about this as he flips through a stack of family photos. "We used to go to St. Augustine like a religion," he said. "We used to be able to take vacations."

In 2001, he was found to be permanently disabled, unable to work. While in Vietnam, Muriel had been exposed to Agent Orange, he said, and he has suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and degenerative joint disease.

His income was limited to a Social Security check. Later, his wife -- a hospital supervisor -- got sick from the stress and had to leave that position. She now works a lower-paying job in child care.

The family started missing mortgage payments. One thing led to another, and facing foreclosure from a bank, they agreed to refinance with a private lender, raising their payments to $1,900 monthly. When that started looking like a mistake, they hired a lawyer, paid him $3,000, but got nowhere.


VA to begin tracking Lejeune water claims
December 09, 2010 9:50 PM

Officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs told members of a community assistance panel addressing issues surrounding historical water contamination at Camp Lejeune that related disability claims would soon be processed at a central location.

Brad Flohr, with the Veterans Benefits Administration Compensation and Pension Service Department, told the group on Thursday that all the Lejeune water claims would be sent to the VA center in Louisville, Ky., as a way to track the cases and keep the procedure for handling them consistent.

Lejeune veterans and former residents who lived aboard the base between the 1950s and 1980s and attribute ailments like male breast cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma to chemical contaminants in the water have advocated for a VA presumptive policy on water cases, similar to that governing exposure to the Vietnam-era chemical Agent Orange.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

US congressmen support Vietnam’s Agent Orange victims

Members of the US congress and the US Department of State have shown their support for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin during a visit to the US by a delegation from the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA).

The visit was made from November 22 to December 4 at the invitation of the US’s Veterans for Peace (VFP) organization and the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign (VAORRC) also based in the US.

The Vietnamese delegation met with the leaderships of the VFP and VAORRC to discuss assistance for AO victims and future cooperation, especially when commemorating the 50th anniversary of the start of the dioxin war against Vietnam on August 10, 1961.

They also met with congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary under the US House of Representatives, congressman Eni F. H. Faleomavaega, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment under the Committee on Foreign Affairs at the US House of Representatives, and US Representative Bob Filner.

These US parliamentarians expressed their support for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange and welcomed VAVA’s efforts to assist the victims. They stated that the US administration must attach more importance to settling the aftermaths of dioxin in Vietnam.

Mr Faleomavaega said that he regretted not having done enough for the victims in Vietnam and called on both the US and Vietnamese government to take responsibility and address the problem.

During the delegation’s meeting with representatives from the US Department of State, the US side confirmed that the US Department of State gives a high priority to solving the dioxin issue in Vietnam.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Movie Breaks All Rules Exposing Cancer Origins

Tim King

A new film on the reality of your life and cancer...
Visit: The Idiot Cycle

(SALEM / PARIS) - I think the new film Idiot Cycle that delivers the good on the world's top cancer causing culprits, could easily have been titled "The Business of Cancer"- as it so fully divulges the dark and dirty side of companies like Bayer, BASF, Dow, Dupont, Monsanto, Syngetna, Novartis, Pfizer, and others.

This country is on its knees, in fact the whole world is fairly screwed for the long run, but it all has red, white and blue paint. It's over kids and what seems good or right about it is nothing more than a temporary illusion.

I hate to say it but I don't think there is any way to turn the clock back on this one.

We are cooked; our food and water supplies are impaired, specifically by the hands of American business, and our kids will have such an increased risk of cancer because of American business practices, that you might as well start your good byes now.

We have been reporting for years about the horrible illnesses plaguing former U.S. Marines who served at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro.

They have been impacted by contaminants in the soil and in the water at both bases. Contact with substances like Benzene, Trichloroethylene* (TCE), Perchloroethylene** (PCE) and a long list of other contaminants.

Marines and former Marines, Marine families and base employees, have spent their time after serving at these bases, fighting a variety of ailments, many deadly, that include cancers, lower stomach problems and birth defects in their children. That is just the beginning.

Monsanto is a large focus of this movie, and it should be. The producers don't delve into Monsanto's real history as the American company that manufactured a terrible substance called Agent Orange that was used to thin the jungles of Vietnam during the U.S. war there.

Americans have been terribly affected by Agent Orange, they range from veterans of all services, to civilians like Lesli Moore Dahlke, who recently joined our team of writers.

The Idiot Cycle will screen for the first time in America on
7 December 7th, 2010 - at Dark Cinemas in Corvallis, Oregon and at the same time at California States University in Sacramento.

She was part of a USO tour in 1970 that led her to all kinds of crazy bases in Vietnam. Today she suffers all of the effects of Agent Orange contamination, and is a multiple cancer survivor.


*used in the communication industry to clean jelly-filled cable

**used in the dry cleaning industry

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Haunted Landscape
Thirty-five years after the war in Vietnam ended, the chemical Agent Orange still pervades the soil of the southeast Asian nation. In many places, the land remains scarred. None of America's former military bases has yet been cleaned up. Congress first allocated money to cleanup dioxin-contaminated land three years ago for a project at Da Nang airport in Central Vietnam.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Speaking Out After Decades of Silence

Reporter: K. Oanh Ha

California is home to many Vietnamese-Americans who fought alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam war. Over time, these soldiers developed cancers because of their exposure to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange. But while American-born vets can get medical care and disability compensation for their Agent Orange-related illnesses, America's former allies get no such benefits.

Luc Nguyen is now a naturalized citizen, but in the 1960s he was a South Vietnamese soldier, working as a translator for the U.S. military. South Vietnamese soldiers frequently got Agent Orange on their skin and clothing when patrolling jungles that had been sprayed. Others were exposed when they sprayed agent orange by hand or helped transport and mix the chemicals.

Luc's former American commander, retired 4-star general Louis Wagner, says there's no question he and Luc were frequently exposed to Agent Orange.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Faithfully submitted, George Claxton

Although the US EPA released two studies claiming that "Little cancer risk from BP oil burn dioxin, new studies conclude" A sort of rebuttal article written by Mark Schleifstein of the Times-Picayune asks a lot of questions about how safe the EPA testing was. I agree with Mr. Schleifstein's conclusions. However, there are more concerns.

EPA claims that they tested for two families of toxic chemicals. These are the polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans. But, how many chlorinated dioxins and furans did they test ? The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has declared that three dioxin like poisons are now "human carcinogens". These are 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-dioxin, 2,3,4,7,8-pentachlorodibenzo-furan, and 3,3,4,4,5 pentachlorobiphenol. The EPA did not break down whether these three poisons were tested from the inadequate oil burn.

Imagine what could happen if these poisons got mixed together? And this doesn't include the other poisons. There are 75 chlorinated dioxins, 134 chlorinated difurans, and 209 polychlorinated biphenols. Please keep in mind that this does not include the brominated dioxins and furans, the polybrominated diphenol ethers, the chlorinated napthalenes, What do a lot of these poisons have in common: Perhaps a lot of them look "dioxin like"! Could they provide a much larger poisoning if combined?

What is EPA doing? Are they trying to stop mass hysteria? Perhaps preventing a social uproar is not practical. BUT, what about testing for alot of factors for acute toxicity. Also an epidemiological study which will encompass many years like the ones on Seves, Italy. However, then who would pick up the tab? I'm quite sure that BP would have nightmares over that suggestion. Maybe we should scrap the idea; after all, the dioxin explosions in Italy (76), England (60's), Germany, France,Austria, Holland, Russia. All of these countries had studies which showed injury from exposure to dioxin like chemicals. And let us not forget the Dow Chemical Company. Oh, that's right, Dow's studies didn't show anything but a skin rash.

Vietnam Veteran Wives


I would like to “Welcome” the newest member of VVW, Eileen Perkins. Mrs. Perkins' husband, a combat Vietnam veteran, recently passed away from a glioblastoma. Like many of us, who have lost their husbands, know the frustration of why the VA has not accepted this ailment as a service connected disability. She has offered her services, as a liaison, to record other’s who have lost their loved one to a glioblastoma.

Sometimes it takes the “numbers” for the VA to recognize a sickness is due to Agent Orange/Dioxin so it can be accepted and awarded as a service connected disability.

VVW is asking all those who wish to join in the fight to get this service connected, and have either lost or presently have a loved one who has this ailment, to please contact Mrs. Perkins.

She can be contacted by clicking here.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Arthur Dekoff

Arthur Dekoff says he is far from the only one in his family who is affected by the Vietnam War.
“My daughter wasn’t in that war,” he said. “But there’s no doubt in my mind that she’s paying the price because I was in it.”
Jessica Dekoff seemed healthy until she started kindergarten and a teacher said Jessica was dozing off in school. That’s when the seizures began.
“We took her to a children’s hospital. The diagnosis was epilepsy, and they treated her for that, but the seizures kept going,” Arthur said. “Then she had a stroke, and she lost the use of her right side, and it also left her mentally handicapped.
“The doctors kept questioning me about if I had ever been out of the country, and I told them I was in Vietnam. That was the end of the questioning. They didn’t need to talk about it any longer,” Arthur said.

The CT scan confirmed that it was Moyamoya disease, a rare condition first identified by the Japanese. It is more common in Asians but can affect anyone. Girls get it more often than boys. The walls of the internal carotid arteries of a person with Moyamoya, which supply blood to important areas of the brain, become thickened. Blood clots can form which may cause strokes and transient ischemic attacks.
Moyamoya can strike at any age, but the average age of diagnosis is around seven years, right about Jessica’s age at the time. About seven percent of the time, the disease runs in families, and those cases are due to a particular genetic defect.
“They told me my daughter had a year to live,” Arthur said.
A trip to another hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, resulted in medication that controlled the seizures. Jessica lived, but at 34, she has the mental capacity of a 9-year-old. She can say words but not complete sentences and does not always understand what is being said to her.

Significant numbers of Vietnam veterans have children and grandchildren with birth defects related to exposure to Agent Orange. To alert legislators and the media to this ongoing legacy of the war, we are seeking real stories about real people. If you wish to share your family’s health struggles that you believe are due to Agent Orange/dioxin, send an email to or call 301-585-4000, Ext. 146.
The Art Dekoff’s Story Continued...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Yuschenko ready to take blood test again for investigation into his poisoning
Third Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko (2005-2010) is ready to undergo medical tests as part of the investigation into a criminal case on his poisoning, his lawyer Hanna Vronska has said.

On September 5, 2004, then presidential candidate Yuschenko was taken ill after having dinner with the leadership of the Security Service of Ukraine. He was hospitalized in Vienna on September 10. Doctors said Yuschenko had been poisoned with dioxin. Moreover, they said the poison had been administered five days before his hospitalization. After that, a number of medical tests were conducted. An examination conducted late in May 2006 confirmed the presence of dioxin in Yuschenko's body.

Little cancer risk from BP oil burn dioxin, new studies conclude
The release of two types of cancer-causing compounds during the burning of oil released from the BP Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico poses little long-term risk of cancer to cleanup workers, onshore residents or fish consumers, according to two new peer-reviewed scientific papers released today by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The scientists measured the release of two families of toxic chemicals -- polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans -- by collecting samples with a battery-operated instrument package suspended in the plumes of 27 surface oil fires between July 13 and July 16.

Friday, November 12, 2010

U.S. Sen. Harkin: Ensuring our veterans receive the benefits they deserve

By Senator Tom Harkin

Every year on Veterans Day, Americans take the time to give our millions of brave veterans the honor and thanks they deserve. We thank those who have served out of love of country, and a desire to protect the rights that we prize so dearly. As a veteran myself, I am humbled by the gratitude that is shown on this day, but am even more humbled by the sacrifices that so many other veterans and their families have made and continue to make.

Ensuring that our veterans receive the care, services and recognition they deserve has been a top priority of mine in Congress, and we have had a few important successes in this area in recent years. We fixed a problem that shortchanged 600 Iowa National Guard service members from receiving their earned leave; ensured those serving after 9/11 would qualify for reduced-age eligibility for the receipt of non-regular service retired pay; helped to secure military medals for those whose recognition is long overdue; and recognized Veterans of Iowa’s Meskwaki tribe, who played a historic role in World War II by using their native language as the basis for creating unbreakable codes and communicating messages in combat.

And because of the disproportionately high rates of suicide among those returning from the battlefield, I worked alongside other members to pass into law the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, named after Joshua Omvig, a soldier from Grundy Center who took his own life after returning from Iraq. It is an important step towards improving the mental health of our veterans.


Dioxin review 'missed many defects'

An anti-dioxin campaigner says the latest study of contamination from New Plymouth's Dow chemical factory has missed many birth defects it was supposed to review.

The Health Ministry study compares defects recorded by New Plymouth's head maternity nurse from 1964 to 1971 with results from other hospitals.

It found that when dioxin contamination from the city's chemical plant was at its worst, New Plymouth had significantly more birth defects than the national average.

It also had significantly more deformed babies than all other hospitals studied except the specialist National Women's Hospital.


The ministry says it cannot be certain dioxin is to blame.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Agent Orange Quilt of Tears

As I gaze upon these Quilts today,
the image of death is altered.
I see instead the symbol of life,
for heroes that never faltered.
Fear not my great soldier!
For your story shall be passed through the years
Because the fabric of your life is sewn into the Quilt Of Tears

from George Claxton

George Claxton is one of the leading authorities on Agent Orange/Dioxin in the country. Although he is not a scientist he can go toe-to-toe with anyone on the subject of Dioxin contamination and its effects.

For many years industry has said that 2,4-D, which was half of Agent Orange, was safe. And that 2,4-D did not contain the most deadly dioxin which is called TCDD. A 1991 study from Russia clearly shows differently. The name of the study is "Determing Tetrachlorodibenzo-n-dioxins and Tetrachlorodibenzofurans iin the herbicide 2,4-D". The authors were N.A. Klyuev, et al. and it was published in "Doklady, Biological Sciences, vol. 316, no 1, p. 21-23, 1991".

The following statement is made in the study:

"The concentrations of the most toxic congeners were: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (1746016) 0.10ng/g and 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzofuran (51207319) plus 1,2,6,9-tetrachlorodibenzofuran (70648189) 1.34ng/g".

The question that is obvious is Can 2,4-D contain TCDD? I think that the answer is yes.

The chemical industry has built 2 task forces with the purpose of keeping 2,4-D on the market. The reason is money and the poison is claimed to be safe. However, a study in 2007 titled "Herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) induced cytogenetic damage in human lymphocytes in vitro in presence of erythrocytes" points in a different direction. 2,4-D was half of Agent Orange and does contain some dioxins.

The study conclusion states the following:

"The results demonstrated that the presence of erythrocytes in the culture system modulated the DNA and cellular damage inflicted by 2,4-D and 2,4-D DMA into human lymphocytes in vitro as well as both 2,4-D and 2,4-D DMA were more potent genotoxic agents in the presence of human red cells"

This study was published in the journal 'Cell Biology International (vol 31, no. 11, p. 1316-1322, 2007). The authors were Sonia Soloneski, et al.
Faithfully submitted, George Claxton

Birth Defect Research for Children

Our work on behalf of veterans’ children is supported mainly by small grants and Combined Federal Campaign funds. To supplement these funds, we have developed an online fundraiser.

Our second annual Great Green Auction is now open for bidding. We have over 130 wonderful items that have been donated by companies like Whole Foods, Novica (sponsored by National Geographic), Sprout Watches, Alex n’ Annie jewelry, Crayon Rocks and two fantastic vacation opportunities. Many of these products have been featured picks in “O” Magazine. This year’s auction is sponsored by the Green Parent Association. The founder of this group donated a week’s stay during the height of the ski season at her fabulous private lodge in Colorado. This ski-in lodge will sleep 12 so two families could share the cost and have a wonderful and very reasonably priced vacation.

We need everyone’s help in spreading the word about the auction to friends, family, veterans’ groups, business colleagues and neighbors and we hope you may find something to bid on for yourself.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the auction. For those who aren’t interested in purchasing products, there is an option to make a cash donation on the auction page.

We are hoping to build our Great Green Auction into a successful annual event that will help to support our services for parents and research through the National Birth Defect Registry.

With best wishes,

Betty Mekdeci
Executive Director
Birth Defect Research for Children
800 Celebration Ave., Suite 225
Celebration FL 34747

407-566-8304 Fax 407-566-8341

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Paying new Agent Orange claims a complex drill

By Tom Philpott
Special to Stars and Stripes
Published: November 4, 2010

Many Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B-cell leukemia expected VA compensation for their illnesses to begin soon after a 60-day congressional review period ended Oct. 30.

Though the first batch of payments went out this week, the relatively small number — about 1300 claims worth $8 million — reinforced the fact that the process for calculating retroactive payments is lengthy and complex.

VA expects to produce a steady stream of rating decisions and payments each week for these diseases,but there will not be a flood of checks as some veterans had hoped.

Most of 163,000 veterans or survivors with pending claims for these diseases should expect a longer wait, at least several more months. The VA goal is to have all these claims processed and paid by October next year.

After VA published its final regulation Aug. 31 to add these diseases to its list of ailments presumed caused by herbicide exposure in Vietnam, Congress had 60 days to block it. To veterans’ relief, it chose not to do so.

VA used that time to do preliminary work on many claims but had to stop short of assigning disability ratings. That’s because VA computers are programmed to assign a payment date with each rating and, by law, none of these claims could be paid before the 60 days had passed.

Claim specialists don’t have all the information they need yet to rate many of the older claims. Many veterans and survivors in line for retroactive payments, some going back 25 years, are being asked to provide letters from private physicians explaining when the ailments first were diagnosed.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Department of Veterans Affairs begins payment for new Agent Orange Claims


VA Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Public Affairs
Media Relations
Washington , DC 20420
(202) 461-7600



November 1, 2010

VA Begins Paying Benefits for New Agent Orange Claims - VA Encourages Affected Vietnam Veterans to File Claims

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun distributing disability benefits to Vietnam Veterans who qualify for compensation under recently liberalized rules for Agent Orange exposure.

“The joint efforts of Congress and VA demonstrate a commitment to provide Vietnam Veterans with treatment and compensation for the long-term health effects of herbicide exposure,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

Up to 200,000 Vietnam Veterans are potentially eligible to receive VA disability compensation for medical conditions recently associated with Agent Orange. The expansion of coverage involves B-cell (or hairy-cell) leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease.

Shinseki said VA has launched a variety of initiatives – both technological and involving better business practices – to tackle an anticipated upsurge in Agent Orange-related claims.

“These initiatives show VA’s ongoing resolve to modernize its processes for handling claims through automation and improvements in doing business, providing Veterans with faster and more accurate decisions on their applications for benefits,” Shinseki said.

Providing initial payments – or increases to existing payments – to the 200,000 Veterans who now qualify for disability compensation for these three conditions is expected to take several months, but VA officials encourage all Vietnam Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and suffer from one of the three diseases to make sure their applications have been submitted.

VA has offered Veterans exposed to Agent Orange special access to health care since 1978, and priority medical care since 1981. VA has been providing disability compensation to Veterans with medical problems related to Agent Orange since 1985.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a “presumed” illness do not have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service. This “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.

The three new illnesses – B-cell (or hairy-cell) leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease – are added to the list of presumed illnesses previously recognized by VA.

Other recognized illnesses under VA’s “presumption” rule for Agent Orange are:

• Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy
• Chloracne
• Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
• Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
• Hodgkin’s Disease
• Multiple Myeloma
• Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
• Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
• Prostate Cancer
• Respiratory Cancers
• Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)
• AL Amyloidosis

Veterans interested in applying for disability compensation under one of the three new Agent Orange presumptives should go to or call 1-800-827-1000.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Medical Forms Will Streamline Veterans Claims Process

Physician Questionnaires to Boost Disability Exam Efficiency

Physician Questionnaires to Boost Disability Exam Efficiency

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released three new disability benefits questionnaires for physicians of Veterans applying for VA disability compensation benefits. This initiative marks the beginning of a major reform of the physicians’ guides and automated routines that will streamline the claims process for injured or ill Veterans.

“This is a major step in the transformation of VA’s business processes that is yielding improvements for Veterans as we move to eliminate the disability claims backlog by 2015”

“This is a major step in the transformation of VA’s business processes that is yielding improvements for Veterans as we move to eliminate the disability claims backlog by 2015,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

These new questionnaires are the first of 79 disability benefits questionnaires that will guide Veterans’ personal physicians, as well as VA physicians, in the evaluation of the most frequent medical conditions affecting Veterans.

Accurate and timely medical evaluations are a critical element of VA’s continued commitment to high-quality and prompt decisions about the nature and degree of conditions afflicting Veterans. Streamlining this process by directly involving Veterans’ treating physicians in providing specific information needed to evaluate their claims will lead to completeness in the examination and faster compensation decisions.

VA’s goal is to process all claims in fewer than 125 days with a decision quality rate no lower than 98 percent, a mark Secretary Shinseki has mandated by 2015. The physician questionnaire project is one of more than three dozen initiatives actively underway at VA, including a major technology modernization that will lead to paperless claims processing.

The disability benefits questionnaires are part of VA’s automated health records system which prompts VA physicians conducting disability examinations to include precise information in a standardized way to assist claims adjudicators in ensuring Veterans receive the benefits they deserve as quickly as possible. These VA examination results are electronically available to claims adjudicators in VA regional offices.

For Veterans who receive their care from private physicians, VA has placed the disability benefits questionnaires on its Internet site ( with instructions for physicians to submit examination results on Veterans’ behalf.

The first three questionnaires cover B-cell leukemia (such as hairy-cell leukemia), Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease. VA recently published a final regulation to be implemented Oct. 30 that will establish the presumption of eligibility to VA disability compensation benefits for Veterans with one of these three conditions who were exposed to Agent Orange, a herbicide agent used extensively in Vietnam.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war who have a “presumed” illness do not have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service. This “presumption” establishes eligibility to VA compensation if their condition is disabling to a compensable level.

For additional information on the VA disability compensation program or additional presumptive disabilities for Veterans exposed to herbicide agents, contact VA at 800-827-1000 or visit

Monday, October 25, 2010

War-zone burn pits violate laws, GAO says

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Oct 17, 2010 16:48:51 EDT

Of four U.S. bases in Iraq operating burn pits, none complies with federal regulations designed to keep service members safe, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday.

The report includes photos of hazy air near the pits, photos of prohibited hazardous materials, and a list of emitted health hazards such as carbon monoxide, dioxins, particulate matter and carcinogens.

Contracts with private companies to run the pits did not reflect emissions guidance, the contractors disobeyed orders to comply with the regulations, and incinerators were not installed for five years — in part due to contract disputes, GAO found.

The military also does not sample burn-pit emissions as required by its own regulations, the report said.

“The health impacts of burn-pit exposure on individuals are not well understood, mainly because the military does not collect required data on emissions or exposures,” it said.

Contrary to initial military claims that there are no known long-term health effects from the burn pits, GAO found that long-term health implications cannot be ruled out.

The report comes after Military Times began investigating the use of burn pits in the war zones in October 2008, leading Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., to request an investigation by GAO.


Agent Orange Is Going To Cost America $42 Billion Over Ten Years

Not only is it the cause of severe birth flaws for gener
ations of Vietnamese kids, the herbicide/chemical weapon Agent Orange has afflicted a lot more than a million American veterans. Scores of soldiers who enlisted or were drafted to serve their country came home with such conditions as acute peripheral neuropathy, soft tissue sarcoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, to name a couple of. The Washington Post reports that a quarter of the one million troops receiving disability checks, or 270,000 Vietnam War veterans, will in two months get compensation for diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s and different types of leukemia. This means that forty two billion dollars can be spent by American working class on this in 10 years.

Agent Orange causes every little thing from diabetes to erectile dysfunction

The Department of veterans’ Affairs reports on which medical condition is most common from Agent Orange. It actually ended up being diabetes. Agent Orange also has erectile dysfunction tied to it now. Normally this would be attributed to age but veterans are getting additional compensation for it. Alan Simpson thinks that this compensation is way far off from what federal spending is attempting to do. Alan Simpson is the chairman of President Obama’s deficit commission.

“The irony (is) that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess,” he said.

Also, Sen. Daniel K Akaka (D-Hawaii) who’s the chairman of Veterans’ Affairs Committee thinks these are “presumptive conditions” that taxpayers are now paying for. The Post found an email stating Alkaka’s plans to be in a listening to on “what changes Congress and also the VA may need for making to existing law and policy,” around September 23.

VA spending isn’t right

The Associated Press reports on the how much the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is going to end up spending on Vietnam veterans with diabetes. It appears like it can be way too much. The VA’s numbers for how much would be paid for diabetes per year are shown to be much higher than independent calculations depending on VA records that show $850 million a year being enough. Considering that the VA spends $34 billion a year on disability benefits for American veterans wars, the $42 billion increase over the next ten years is an earth-shattering leap.

Then there’s the ‘Credible evidence for association’

Victoria Anne Cassano is the Veterans’ Health Administration Director of Radiation and Physical Exposures. She explains that there was a federal law created on Agent Orange in 1991 saying that chemical agents and afflictions do have a correlation with Agent Orange “if the credible evidence for the association is equal to or outweighs the credible evidence against the association.” The Post reports it does not take much to meet that burden of proof. Cassano says, “Does it make you take a deep breath? Does it give you pause? Yes. But you nevertheless do what you think is the right thing to do.”

So, how much do 20 B-2 Bombers cost?
Estimated Cost of the First 20 B-2 Bombers
Program Acquisition Cost (RDT&E and procurement) $44.65 Billion
Life Cycle Cost (RDT&E, procurement, operations and support) $49.9 Billion
Cost per plane $ 2.5 Billion

Director of Ford Foundation's Special Initiative on Agent Orange/Dioxin to deliver message

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Cynthia D Quinn, (808) 956-6545
Director of Communications & External Relations, William S Richardson School of Law
Posted: Oct. 19, 2010

The 2010 celebration called Make Agent Orange History is a two-part program including a keynote address with Charles Bailey, film screening, and a special educational session presented by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, William S. Richardson School of Law (Environmental Law and Health Policy Center) and San Francisco-based strategic communications non-profit Active Voice.

Charles Bailey, Director, Ford Foundation Special Initiative on Agent Orange/Dioxin, will pay a special visit to the UH Mānoa campus on October 21 and 22 as part of the international celebration of Conflict Resolution Day 2010. Conflict Resolution Day is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October to promote the use of conflict resolution in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments and the legal system.
Keynote address and film: Thursday, October 21 from 5‐7 p.m. (reception 5-5:30 p.m.)

Charles Bailey will give a keynote talk that will be followed by the showing of the film “Vietnam's Lingering Ghost: Facing the Legacy of Agent Orange” as part of the Make Agent Orange History program. Charles Bailey is the key architect of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group, a diverse group of private citizens, scientists, and policy makers from the U.S. and Vietnam who, through the effort of the Ford Foundation, were brought together to work on critical issues related to the legacy of Agent Orange that the two countries’ governments, for decades, were unable to resolve. Bailey will recreate his experience forming the U.S.-Vietnamese Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin and address the strategic selection of participants and the vital role neutrality played in its success.


Widow wants other vets to get checked out for heart condition


SEBRING -- "I just want others to know that it exists and it is treatable," said Jean Foster this week.

Foster is the recent widow of Nu-Hope Director Sandy Foster, whose sudden death in September left many in the community in shock.

Sandy Foster, a veteran who served in Vietnam, died unexpectedly while on a golfing trip in North Carolina from a heart attack that Jean was told later was caused by ischemic heart disease, which can be caused by Agent Orange.

Ischemic heart disease is characterized by a reduced flow of blood to the heart muscle, which makes a person feel tired, and can cause a heart attack.

Jean was informed that her husband's condition was one approved by Congress to receive benefits this year because of the exposure vets received during the Vietnam War.

"I was stunned when I discovered that Sandy died from a form of heart disease that is caused by Agent Orange," Foster told the News-Sun this week. "I am angry as well. If we had of known, he would still be here. No ifs, ands or buts about it.



October 24, 2010 posted by Robert O'Dowd

(WASHINGTON, DC) – For the life of me, I still don’t know why the Veteran Service Organizations (VSO’s) have not published the list of 130 military bases on the National Priority List (EPA Superfunds), the chemicals found by EPA and the health effects of exposure.


The EPA Superfund database is accessible from the internet and the health effects of exposure to many of the contaminants have been identified by the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Many vets have access to the internet from their own computers or from another family member. It’s not like this is classified information or any national security issues are in play.

What is at stake is the health of veterans. The health of veterans should be of paramount interest to all VSO’s. Veterans pay dues to their VSO’s to represent them and to protect their interests.

Not everyone who served on an EPA Superfund base was exposed to toxic chemicals. Publishing the EPA lists is not going to spread panic among veterans. We’re mature adults fully capable of making rational decisions about our health care needs.

DOD, the biggest owner of Superfund sites, has no interest in notifying veterans of their possible exposure to toxic chemicals nor is there a legal requirement for any government agency to notify veterans or Congressional interest in pursuing this.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

You Can Do This In Your Community


Press Release

October 15, 2010

No. 10-22

Ken Holybee

Vietnam Veterans of America To Hold Town Hall Meeting on Generational Effects of Agent Orange/Dioxin

Santa Rosa, CA —Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 223 in Santa Rosa will hold a Town Hall meeting to address the birth defects, diseases, and learning disabilities affecting the children and grandchildren of Vietnam veterans. The forum will be held on Saturday, October 16, 2010, at 1:00 pm, at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building , 1351 Maple Avenue, in Santa Rosa , California .

“We cannot be silent about the effects of our battlefield exposures on our children in the face of overwhelming evidence connecting many diseases and birth defects to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam ,” said Ken Holybee, Legislative Coordinator for the California State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America and for Chapter 223, Santa Rosa .

“We encourage all veterans with children and/or grandchildren suffering from illnesses, learning disabilities, or physical disabilities to come share their stories. We will explore issues surrounding Agent Orange exposure, including scientific information, health effects, and methods for educating the public and elected representatives about the issues of Vietnam veterans, their children, and their families,” said Holybee.

The goal of the town hall meeting is to bring attention to the hidden cost of our service and to encourage the government to create and maintain a registry of these birth defects as well as assist our doctors in finding ways to diagnose and treat these birth defects. Veterans of all wars are subjected to many contaminates and most were not aware of what was being used or what effects most would have on their health. Said Holybee, “Our children are innocent victims of our war and need the help of our government to cope with these problems. We worry, who will be there to take care of them when we are gone?”

In keeping with VVA’s founding principle, “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” Vietnam veterans throughout the state of California continue to fight for the welfare of our nation’s veterans from all wars.

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

Dioxin and chromosome damage

From: George Claxton
A new study released last month shows that dairy cows exposed to dioxins and dioxin like compounds have genetic damage. Genetic damage is one route to chemically induced cancer. Althouugh IOM has consistantly stated that dioxin does not cause genetic damage, the evidence is clearly in the other direction.

The study authored by G.P. Di Meo, et al, and published in the journal "Carcinogenesis" as an in press clearly shows that "although the role of other pollutants in the genesis of the recorded chromosome alterations cannot be ruled out, our results confirm the findings of previous research into dioxin exposed sheep".

I believe that the reason the chemical industry and government have tried to deny mutagenic damage by dioxin is because the connection would be a clear cut answer to dioxin being the most dangerous chemical on earth and is in fact, a "human carcinogen".

Faithfully submitted by

George Claxton


Veterans 'In The Dark' About Environmental Hazards

“No mama, no popa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces.
No rifles, no planes, or artillery pieces.
And nobody gives a damn.
We’re the sick and dead who lived and worked on contaminated land.”

Veteran Service Organizations are not providing critical health information to their memberships on military installations that are EPA Superfund sites. (WASHINGTON, DC) – Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) have not notified veterans of their possible exposure to environmental hazards at 130 military installations on the EPA National Priority List (Superfund sites).
Courtesy: CNN
There‟s a critical need for the VSOs to exercise leadership by identifying the 130 military bases on the NPL, including the EPA internet link to Contaminants of Concern for each base.
There is no legal requirement or interest by the Defense Department or any government agency to notify veterans that they may have been exposed to toxic chemicals, radiation or other environmental hazards.
It‟s unlikely that the government will step into this role without specific legislation. Under intense pressure from Congress, the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune established a website registry for veterans who may have been affected by TCE contaminated drinking water at the base.
A number of Congressional hearings were held, bills introduced into Congress to provide medical care to veterans and their dependents, but as of this date, the Marine Corps has not accepted responsibility for illnesses and deaths linked to the contaminated well water.
With 130 military bases on the EPA National Priority List (EPA Superfund), veterans are at risk of exposure to environmental hazards.
The mission of VSOs is to serve veterans and support their needs. Nothing can be more important than your health. There‟s no magic pill for exposure to an environmental hazard. Medical care providers need to know when a patient has been exposed to particular environmental hazards to provide appropriate medical care. Failure to provide this critical information is inexcusable.
Not everyone who was stationed on an EPA Superfund base was exposed to an environmental hazard, but an indeterminate number were and the health effects are serious.
Emails to the national headquarters of the American Legion, VFW, the Marine Corps League and other VSOs asking them to alert their membership of possible exposure to toxic chemicals were left unanswered.
This is not rocket science. The information on environmental hazards is resident on the EPA Superfund database. The link to the websites is contained in this article. This is literally a „no brainer.‟ Any VSO with a website only has to cut and paste the list of military bases.
MCAS El Toro Example. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California, has been an EPA Superfund site since 1990. In 1985, the Orange County Water District found trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in shallow irrigation wells down gradient of the base.
Before knowledge of the adverse health effects on humans from exposure to these TCE and PCE were known, they were commonly used as degreasers for aircraft and vehicles.
In 1990, MCAS El Toro was placed on EPA‟s National Priorities List (NPL) primarily because of a plume of toxic waste of TCE and PCE spreading off base several miles which threatened the local water supply. In 1993, MCAS El Toro was placed on the DoD BRAC list and officially closed in 1999.
At El Toro, the Navy identified 25 contaminated areas on base, including landfills containing both hazardous and solid waste; buried drums of explosives and low-level radioactive waste; and areas where PCBs, battery acids, leaded fuels, and other hazardous substances were dumped or spilled. The Navy spent millions of dollars in cleaning up the former base.
At a September 2010 Irvine City Council meeting, the Navy estimated that it would take 40 years to complete the environmental clean-up at El Toro.
Assuming a Marine veteran “connects the dots of military services to a current medical condition,” their only remedy is to file a claim with the Veterans Administration, assuming they are aware of what happened to them and unless they lived in Orange County, California that‟s unlikely.
EPA‟s Contaminants of Concern
For military bases that are EPA Superfunds, EPA defines environmental hazards as Contaminants of Concern (COC‟s).
According to EPA, “COC‟s are the chemical substances found at the site that the EPA has determined pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. These are the substances that are addressed by cleanup actions at the site.”
“ Identifying COC‟s is a process where the EPA identifies people and ecological resources that could be exposed to contamination found at the site, determines the amount and type of contaminants present, and identifies the possible negative human health or ecological effects that could result from contact with the contaminants.”


Courtesy: CNN
(PITTSBURGH, PA) – An informational meeting about the CAMP LEJEUNE WATER CONTAMINATION effects will be held Saturday, November 6, 2010, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, located at 107 6th Street, Pittsburgh, PA.
Sometime in the 1950’s through 1987, the US Military improperly disposed of chemical degreasers and other toxic substances that ultimately contaminated the drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
These contaminants posed multiple health risks to countless military personnel, their families, and private individuals living and working near the vicinity of the base. These risks include:
• Cancers
• Reproductive disorders
• Birth defects
• Neurological problems
• Kidney and Liver disease If you believe your health or the health of a loved one has been affected from exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune, you are invited to attend this free informational seminar. Lunch will be provided at no charge to registered guests.
We currently have 19 people registered to attend the November 6th meeting in Pittsburgh. In order to justify the expenses incurred with such a trip it will be necessary to have at least 50 people registered and confirmed by October 30th.
Mike Partain and Jerry Ensminger will be giving an overview of the contamination which includes the supporting documents.
Representatives from the Bell Legal Group will be present for questions during the lunch break and after the presentation.
This is your opportunity to get informed about what happened at Camp Lejeune. If you would like to receive more information about our meeting, email Vanessa Bertka at Please copy and in the email.
Additional meetings are scheduled for:
November 21, Elks Lodge, Troy, NY
December, exact date TBD, Tampa Florida

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dioxin like polychlorinated biphenyls and malignant melanoma

from George Claxton

A new study released last month shows a connection between dioxin like polychlorinated biphenyls and malignant melanoma. The study is titled "Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), UV radiation, and cutaneous malignant melanoma". The study was published in the journal BMC PROCEEDINGS ( 4 SUPP : 04). The study is from the 16th International Charles Heidelberger Symposium on Cancer Research in Colmbra, Portugal, 26-28 September 2010. The authors are Richard P. Gallagher, et al.

Vietnam Veterans have claimed for many years that their skin cancers have been caused by the deadly dioxins and furans in Agent Orange. The US Government and big industry have always peddled the excuse that the real culprit was sunlight in Vietnam. However, the above study has finally accounted for the confounding problem of sunlight.

The study stated that "a strong association was seen between melanoma risk and plasma levels of total PCBs" AND "these associations persisted after adjustment for recreational sun exposure, sun sensitivity and pigmentatior". This study will have to be confirmed by a larger study (non industrial by company lackeys).

READ the abstract of the study:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blood tests for Mapua

The Press 14/10/2010
Mapua residents could be blood-tested for dioxins next year to see if they have been affected by the cleanup of the town's toxic chemical site.

The Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council this week called for proposals for the study. The contract is expected to be awarded in April.

The study will involve health questionnaires and blood samples, which will be matched against samples from volunteers from outside the region.

The samples will be tested for dioxins and other toxins, such as organochlorine pesticides.

Experimental New Zealand-designed technology was used to remediate the 3.3-hectare site where the former Fruitgrowers Chemical Company made pesticides for 55 years.

The three-year cleanup project finished in 2007.

Up to 200 people lived near the site from 2004-2006 – a period thought to cover the highest dioxin emissions.

From Wikipedia
Mapua is a small town in the South Island of New Zealand.

It is to the west of Nelson on State Highway 60 and on the coastline of Tasman Bay. The 2006 census gave a population of 1878, up 16.1 percent since the 2001 Census.

With a thriving wharf and commercial area, Mapua has grown in popularity for visitors, with numbers swelling the region over the summer months.

A large fair and market is held every Easter Sunday. Up to 30,000 people visit the town on this day to enjoy rides, stalls, and other attractions. The local schools and playcentre benefit from the fair, which is their primary fundraising activity.
[edit] Former contaminated site

In the 20th century, Mapua was one of the most contaminated sites in New Zealand due to pesticide residues in the soils from a now defunct factory, but has since had a major cleanup operation.

In 1932 the Fruitgrowers Chemical Company built a plant to manufacture pesticides for use in the numerous orchards in the surrounding area. In the 1940s organomercury and organochlorine pesticides, including DDT, DDD, dieldrin, 2,4-D and paraquat, were produced. Organophosphorous pesticides were produced from the 1960s. By 1978, 124 chemicals were being used to produce 84 different formulations. The plant closed in 1988.

The site was taken over by the Tasman District Council in 1989, and measures were taken to prevent leaching of the chemicals into the adjoining Waimea Inlet. The 1999 Budget allocated $3.7 million towards containment of the site. Site decontamination was carried out, initially by Thiess Pty. Ltd. but later by the Ministry for the Environment. The site was handed back to the Tasman District Council in November 2007.

Ft. Detrick linked to Agent Orange testing
October 13, 2010 - 5:01pm
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FORT DETRICK, Md. - Army researchers at Fort Detrick sprayed the dangerous herbicide Agent Orange at various locations outside the fort, a four-year-old report reveals.

The Department of Defense has evidence that Fort Detrick worked to develop Agent Orange -- a defoliant sprayed on forests to destroy vegetation during the Vietnam War -- beginning in the 1950s.

The poison reportedly was sprayed on grass around Fort Ritchie, Md. and other locations.

The information comes as Frederick County residents express increasing concern that experiments at Fort Detrick may have raised their risk of cancer. After the Vietnam War, Agent Orange was linked to cancer and birth defects in Vietnamese and Americans who served in the war.

A Fort Detrick scientist tells The Gazette he and his colleagues are "trying to get their hands" around the idea that Agent Orange was tested outside and not just in greenhouses as they previously thought.

Bob Craig tells the Gazette he and other scientists only recently discovered the 2006 report along with other documents.

FORT DETRICK, Md. - Army researchers at Fort Detrick sprayed the dangerous herbicide Agent Orange at various locations outside the fort, a four-year-old report reveals.

The Department of Defense has evidence that Fort Detrick worked to develop Agent Orange -- a defoliant sprayed on forests to destroy vegetation during the Vietnam War -- beginning in the 1950s.

The poison reportedly was sprayed on grass around Fort Ritchie, Md. and other locations.

The information comes as Frederick County residents express increasing concern that experiments at Fort Detrick may have raised their risk of cancer. After the Vietnam War, Agent Orange was linked to cancer and birth defects in Vietnamese and Americans who served in the war.

A Fort Detrick scientist tells The Gazette he and his colleagues are "trying to get their hands" around the idea that Agent Orange was tested outside and not just in greenhouses as they previously thought.

Bob Craig tells the Gazette he and other scientists only recently discovered the 2006 report along with other documents.

For the full Gazette report click here:

WTOP's Evan Haning contributed to this report.

WTOP's Evan Haning contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2010 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)