Tuesday, August 31, 2010

VA eases rules allowing Vietnam vets to get treatment for Agent Orange exposure

By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Department of Veterans Affairs is preparing for more than 150,000 Vietnam War veterans to apply for benefits in the next 18 months thanks to new regulations making it easier to compensate for health problems caused by exposure to the Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange.
Changes set for publication in Tuesday's Federal Register could result in payouts of about $42 billion in the next decade, VA said. But the department still could face resistance from lawmakers, including Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), concerned with how the department will pay out claims for ailments that are common among elderly Americans anyway, despite military service.
Under the new regulations, the VA will presume that veterans who served in Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, were exposed to Agent Orange and will add three medical conditions -- hairy cell leukemia, Parkinson's disease and ischemic heart disease -- to its list of disabilities presumed to have a connection to exposure to the herbicide.
The changes will go into effect in early November, after a two-month Congressional review period, VA said. The department also plans to review about 90,000 previously denied claims from veterans who had sought benefits for Agent Orange-related health problems.
Congress included $13.4 billion for Agent Orange-related benefits in this year's $58 billion supplemental spending bill. But Webb, a Vietnam veteran, has said that adding ischemic heart disease to the VA's list of approved diseases could result in the department paying veterans for a disease they might have contracted anyway as they aged.
"I take a back seat to no one in my concern for our veterans," Webb said in May. "I have spent my entire adult life one way or the other involved in veterans law. But I do think we need to have practical, proper procedures, and I do believe that the executive branch . . . needs to be held to an accountable standard."
Rick Weidman, director of government relations for Vietnam Veterans of America, defended the potentially high costs, saying the payments should be considered in the same context as the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"We would make the point that many, many times the number of troops originally estimated have [traumatic brain injury] coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan," Weidman said. "Should we not then award it because it's too many people? It's the same argument -- an environmental wound is the same as a blast wound."
Webb sits on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, which is scheduled to hold a hearing on the new regulations on Sept. 23.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Final Rules on Agent Orange New Presumptive Diseases Will be Published August 31, 2010

The Department of Veterans Affairs has sent the final rules to add three new diseases to the list presumptive service connected for exposure to “Agent Orange”. Parkinson’s, B-cell leukemias, and ischemic heart disease (IHD) are in the final rules which will be published in the August 31, 2010 edition of the Federal Register.
The effective date of the rules will be the publication date which is scheduled for tomorrow. VA however cannot start paying benefits under the rules for 60 days because these are major rules subject to the 60 day stay provided for in the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

On Parkinson’s disease, the rules point out that only Parkinson’s disease is covered and does not include other parkinsonian syndromes and/or parkinsonism.

On IHD the rules state:

“As previously stated, VA interprets IHD, for purposes of service connection, to encompass any atherosclerotic heart disease resulting in clinically significant ischemia or requiring coronary revascularization. In the notice of proposed rulemaking, we explained that the term “ischemic heart disease” does not encompass hypertension or peripheral manifestations of arteriosclerotic heart disease, such as peripheral vascular disease or stroke. To ensure that lay readers are aware of the distinction between these diseases, we are adding a Note 3 following 38 CFR 3.309(e) to include the information stated in the notice of proposed rulemaking. (4) Inclusion of Angina as a Compensable Disability. One commenter asked whether the rule will include Prinzmetal’s Angina, and Stable and Unstable Angina in the list of compensable disabilities. 13 VA Response: Prinzmetal’s Angina, and Stable and Unstable Angina are explicitly included as forms of IHD in the list of illnesses that may be presumptively service connected due to exposure to certain herbicides. 75 FR 14393.”

The rule adds all chronic B-cell leukemias (including, but not limited to, hairy-cell leukemia).

ADDITIONAL STORY:http://www.stripes.com/blogs/stripes-central/stripes-central-1.8040/va-to-publish-new-agent-orange-rules-on-tuesday-1.116375

VA Health Care and Benefits Provided for Many Vietnam Veterans

Thanks to Paul Sutton for passing this on.

WASHINGTON (August 30, 2010)- Veterans exposed to herbicides while serving in Vietnam and other areas will have an easier path to access quality health care and qualify for disability compensation under a final regulation that will be published on August 31, 2010 in the Federal Register by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The new rule expands the list of health problems VA will presume to be related to Agent Orange and other herbicide exposures to add two new conditions and expand one existing category of conditions.

"Last October, based on the requirements of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 and the Institute of Medicine's 2008 Update on Agent Orange, I determined that the evidence provided was sufficient to award presumptions of service connection for these three additional diseases," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "It was the right decision, and the President and I are proud to finally provide this group of Veterans the care and benefits they have long deserved."

The final regulation follows Shinseki's determination to expand the list of conditions for which service connection for Vietnam Veterans is presumed. VA is adding Parkinson's disease and ischemic heart disease and expanding chronic lymphocytic leukemia to include all chronic B cell leukemias, such as hairy cell leukemia.

In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a "presumed" illness don't have to prove an association between their medical problems and their military service. By helping Veterans overcome evidentiary requirements that might otherwise present significant challenges, this "presumption" simplifies and speeds up the application process and ensure that Veterans receive the benefits they deserve.

The Secretary's decision to add these presumptives is based on the
latest evidence provided in a 2008 independent study by the Institute of Medicine concerning health problems caused by herbicides like Agent Orange.

Veterans who served in Vietnam anytime during the period beginning
January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.

More than 150,000 Veterans are expected to submit Agent Orange claims in the next 12 to 18 months, many of whom are potentially eligible for retroactive disability payments based on past claims. Additionally, VA will review approximately 90,000 previously denied claims by Vietnam Veterans for service connection for these conditions. All those awarded service-connection who are not currently eligible for enrollment into the VA healthcare system will become eligible.

This historic regulation is subject to provisions of the Congressional
Review Act that require a 60-day Congressional review period before implementation. After the review period, VA can begin paying benefits for new claims and may award benefits retroactively for earlier periods.

For new claims, VA may pay benefits retroactive to the effective date of the regulation or to one year before the date VA receives the
application, whichever is later. For pending claims and claims that
were previously denied, VA may pay benefits retroactive to the date it received the claim.

VA encourages Vietnam Veterans with these three diseases to submit their applications for access to VA health care and compensation now so the agency can begin development of their claims.

Individuals can go to a website at
to get an understanding of how to file a claim for presumptive conditions related to herbicide exposure, as well as what evidence is needed by VA to make a decision about disability compensation or survivors benefits.

Additional information about Agent Orange and VA's services for Veterans exposed to the chemical is available at

The regulation is available on the Office of the Federal Register
website at http://www.ofr.gov/.

Obama approves additional $12 mln for Da Nang dioxin cleanup

Last updated: 8/27/2010 10:25
Da Nang Airport in the central city of Da Nang is expected to receive another US$12 million for dioxin cleanup efforts
US President Barack Obama has approved US$12 million for an ongoing project aimed at cleaning up dioxin that has contaminated the soil and water in and around the Da Nang Airport.
The announcement was made by congressman Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) on August 26, during a three-day visit to Vietnam.
Faleomavaega's visit was aimed at discussing the two countries’ relationship, including cooperative efforts to mitigate Agent Orange contamination in Vietnam.
Last year, the Obama administration dedicated $3 million to dioxin cleanup efforts in the central city of Da Nang, where the airport was listed by scientists as one of several “hotspots” throughout the country.
Da Nang Airport was once used by the US Air Force as a base of operations. During the war, US forces untold quantities of defoliant chemicals loaded onto planes to be sprayed over the countryside.
It is believed that US forces sprayed over 12 million gallons of defoliats in Vietnam throughout the course of the war.
The chemicals were meant to deprive Vietnamese forces of "food and cover." The campaign ended up having long-term effects on US soldiers and millions of Vietnamese civilians.
The substance has been linked to increased instances of birth defects and at least 12 chronic diseases - including Spinal Bifidia and several types of cancer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

US Congressman Faleomavaega visits Vietnam

US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega is on a visit to Vietnam to discuss the relations between the two countries, including humanitarian cooperation activities to solve Agent Orange/dioxin consequences in Vietnam.

After his arrival on August 24, Congressman Faleomavaega, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, had discussions with Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Head of the National Assembly’s Committee for External Relations Ngo Quang Xuan, who is co-head of the Vietnam-US dialogue group on Agent Orange/dioxin, and Vice Chairman of the Da Nang Municipal People’s Committee Vo Duy Khuong.

Faleomavaega said the US Congress has mobilised and the President approved additional US$12 million to the Da Nang airport decontamination project, which has been carried out by the US Agency for International Development.

During discussions, the Vietnamese side hailed the congressman’s contributions to overcoming Agent Orange/dioxin consequences in Vietnam and expressed their wish that the congressman and his colleagues would continue making more contributions to the issue.

While in Vietnam, Congressman Faleomavaega visited the decontamination project at Da Nang airport in central Vietnam, and met children who suffer from Agent Orange/dioxin at the Peace Village in Ho Chi Minh City and the Vietnam Friendship Village in Hanoi.

The Congressman is scheduled to leave Vietnam on August 27.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Male Breast Cancer - DIOXIN

by George Claxton
A new study conducted by Sara Villeneuve, et al and published in the journal "OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE" was released on August 25, 2010. This study related to the incidence of breast cancer in males whom were exposed to PCBs, dioxins, and other toxins and occupations.

In volume 69 of the International Agency for Research on Cancer published in 1997 it was suggested that dioxin might be related to male breast cancer. Now a study has shown a connection. The new study showed a 3.8 (95% CL 1.5 to 9.5) increase from exposure to these compounds.

The authors stated that "Endocrine disruptors such as alkylphenolic compounds may play a role in breast cancer".

There is a lot of evidence on dioxin like compounds in female breast cancer but this is the first study that I know of that connected dioxin like compounds with male breast cancer.


Odds stacked against veteran's quest

By Heather J. Carlson
The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

From the very beginning, Steve Fiscus knew the odds were stacked against him.

A machinist by trade, he soon found himself delving into the world of medical research and grassroots politics all in hopes of proving one thing — that exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange in Vietnam can cause Parkinson's Disease.

It all started in 2000 when Fiscus was diagnosed with the neurological disease. He applied for veteran's benefits in 2001, only to be turned down. Unable to work any longer, he devoted his energy to reaching out to other Vietnam veterans experiencing similar symptoms and poring over medical studies. Four years ago, he and a handful of other area veterans established the United States Military Veterans with Parkinson's group.

"Until we formed our group nobody knew which way to go. And once we started getting the group together and started getting some force behind it, they knew we were playing for real. It wasn't just somebody calling in and making idle squawk, that we've got a problem," said Fiscus, of Rogers.

The former Marine served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 at a base 40 miles south of Da Nang working as a machinist. Back then, the military reused all the barrels that had stored Agent Orange.

"Part of my job was cutting barrels in half. We used them for outhouses, we made barbecues out of them, we used them for darn near everything. And they were Agent Orange barrels, so when I am cutting those with a torch, I am breathing those fumes in," he said.

It wasn't until a meeting in July 2007 in Rochester when the group started to make some headway.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shinseki to defend new Agent Orange rules

By Leo Shane III
Published: August 25, 2010

Veterans groups praised the Department of Veterans Affairs last year when officials announced they would add three new diseases to the list of "presumptive illnesses" connected to the use of the Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange. But senators concerned about the cost and precedent of such a change put a 60-day hold on money related to the change, and have asked the VA for more information on why Agent Orange claims should be expanded.

On Tuesday, in a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said he's happy to defend the decision. "It was the right decision, and the President and I are proud to finally provide this group of Veterans the care and benefits they have long deserved."

The rules regarding the new recognized illnesses -- Parkinson’s Disease, Hairy Cell and other types of chronic, b-cell leukemia, and Ischemic Heart Disease — could open up veterans benefits to 250,000 more Vietnam-era veterans and cost the VA another $13.4 billion over the next 18 months.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., has publicly questioned whether scientific research supports including the three new diseases with other Agent Orange exposure conditions, and if the VA is unnecessarily committing billions in compensation payments for problems that are often simply the result of aging.

But Shinseki said he's "happy" to explain the rationale behind the move, and confident lawmakers will support the change. The hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee is set for Sept. 23.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Valley woman suffers from effects of Agent Orange

Lesli Moore Dahlke smiles in her Westlake Village home. When Dahlke was 18, she went to Vietnam during the war, as part of the USO's handshake tour, where young women went to hospitals and bases to help cheer up the guys. 40 years after the war, Lesli has been struck with rare forms of cancer--twice, and it's lately that she wonders if it's because Agent Orange. Lesli has started a website to bring more awareness. | Related story: Agent Orange a toxic killer. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)

Before the cancer settled into her blood and stole parts of her stomach, spleen, and pancreas, the photographs and diary Lesli Moore Dahlke saved from her time in war-torn Vietnam symbolized only her Valley Girl innocence.

She was 18 then, a tall, blonde, blue-eyed beauty from Encino with high cheekbones and an easy smile.

Grieving the recent death of her father, comedian Del Moore, and touched by the televised images of young soldiers fighting an unpopular war, Dahlke volunteered for the USO's Handshaking Christmas Tour in 1970.

During the 18-day trip with legendary entertainer Johnny Grant and three other "handshake girls," she flew by helicopter over thick jungles from Saigon to Quang Tri, swooping in for morale-boosting visits with soldiers at field and evacuation hospitals and fire-support bases.

Carrying along a small, white leather diary, she wrote about what she saw and the young men she met:

"December 14th, 3:00. Went to 3rd Division Evacuation Hospital. Visited three wards and emergency area. The men were all very friendly and glad to see smiling faces from home. They were shy at first but were grateful to be remembered. They talked mostly about their hometowns and about going home.

"Everyone here is very warm but the sadness and loneliness in their eyes is heartbreaking."

She walked where the soldiers walked, breathed in their air, drank their water and bathed in their showers.

She almost felt like one of them.

READ MORE: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_15844901

Maryland looks for cancer cluster near Ft. Detrick


The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says it's working with Frederick County health officials to investigate a possible cancer cluster near Fort Detrick, where workers dumped industrial chemicals and field-tested Agent Orange decades ago.

DHMH says it hopes to know by late September whether the cancer rate within a mile of Fort Detrick is significantly higher than in other parts of the county or state.

The investigation stems from a former Frederick resident's claim that he found many cancer cases among current and former Fort Detrick neighbors, including his former wife and late daughter.

On Thursday, DHMH and the Maryland Department of the Environment said they have asked the Army to test for the Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange on and around Fort Detrick.
Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com

Understanding my own connection to Vietnam

Photo-Le Quang Nhat
Yumi Wilson and Goro Nakamura in Vietnam

As for me, all I know is that I know nothing. -- Socrates

Before my trip to Vietnam, where my mission had been to investigate the link between Agent Orange and third-generation birth defects and disabilities, I read lots of books and articles. Watched tons of movies and documentaries. And interviewed as many people as I could. I even tried to learn some Vietnamese.

But in the end, I learned that the that one of the most important things I could have done was to know a little bit more about Japan.

At a well-attended ceremony outside the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, I spotted Goro Nakamura. I had been told by local photographer Le Quang Nhat that Nakamura, a photographer and author, was being honored on Agent Orange Day (Aug. 10) for his work in Vietnam, and that I, as a daughter of a Japanese woman who survived WWII, should talk to him.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/wilson/detail?entry_id=69933#ixzz0xY8Ag3dO

EPA's dioxin regulations try to solve a problem that doesn't exist

BY RICHARD P. RUSH Oklahoman Published: August 18, 2010

Tell me if this sounds familiar. Washington issues a regulation that makes little sense and will do nothing useful. States, local communities, farmers and Oklahoma businesses are required to comply and bear the financial burden.

This time, with state coffers empty from the recession, we have to ask why the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing regulations that will cost the states and their citizens plenty to solve a problem that doesn't exist. The EPA wants to issue new cleanup standards in September for dioxin in soil that will require recleaning Superfund sites that have already been cleaned up once to meet previous EPA standards.

Unfortunately, the EPA's new proposed standards, which are hundreds of times tighter than the old ones, are not based on any new and compelling scientific evidence. According to the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Defense, the proposal is based on flawed assumptions.

Regulations on dioxin already have been very successful, resulting in a dramatic decrease in dioxin levels in the environment. According to EPA, "U.S. dioxin emissions from man-made sources have declined more than 92 percent since 1987." Although this trend would continue if left alone, EPA's proposal will cost millions, disrupt communities and endanger our unsteady economic situation.

Oklahoma does not need more costly federal regulations that may jeopardize a fragile recovery. By making arbitrary changes in the standards, the EPA makes it impossible for people to make reliable decisions — about where they will live, where they will build, where they will invest. When businesses sense an unstable environment, they see risk, and either go elsewhere or stop investing altogether.

And what will these new standards accomplish? In a word: nothing. Dioxin comes not just from man-made sources but from natural events like brush fires. Consequently, it is found everywhere in the environment in low concentrations. We cannot rid the earth of it. There is no scientific evidence that the extremely small amounts found in soil pose a threat.

Oklahoma doesn't have extra resources we can waste on non-problems. The state lost almost $1 billion in revenue last year. Unlike Washington, where spending goes unchecked, in Oklahoma we balance our budget. Having to make further sacrifices in essential areas like education and services for seniors so we can pay instead to meet unscientific and unnecessary federal standards is an abuse of power.

Our congressional delegation should urge the White House and Office of Management and Budget not to advance these new rules until scientific evidence validates the need and the health benefits for such actions. The EPA must rethink what it is doing, focus on policies that will produce useful results and not drive more jobs offshore.

Rush, former president & CEO of The State Chamber of Oklahoma, is chairman of Rush Strategies LLC in Edmond.

Read more: http://newsok.com/epas-dioxin-regulations-try-to-solve-a-problem-that-doesnt-exist/article/3486099#ixzz0xY70Q0k3

Over 100 Central N.J.Veterans, Families Discuss Issues In telephone Forum


Cardin calls for quicker, broader cleanup at Fort Detrick

Maryland senator asks EPA to get involved in cleaning up contaminants at base
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin is calling for a rapid investigation and expanded cleanup at Fort Detrick in Frederick amid fresh questions over the testing and storage of the notorious herbicide blend Agent Orange there decades ago.

Cardin wants the Army and the Environmental Protection Agency to reach an agreement by December that would allow more federal money and expertise to come to the base, where dangerous chemicals were maintained for years and pollutants seeped into water.

The Army needs to "recommit itself to being transparent with the communities surrounding Fort Detrick and to expand its plan for public participation and information," Cardin, a Democrat, said in a letter to officials Monday. "As a fundamental matter of fairness, the public has the right to know."

READ MORE: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-cardin-agent-orange-20100816,0,5520038.story

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Malathion Medical Research

Malathion's Chemical Name is
Dimethoxy Phosphino Thioyl Thio Butanedioic Acid Diethyl Ester Malathion Molecule
C10 H19 O6 P S2

by Wayne Sinclair, M.D.
Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (Immunology Board Certified)
Richard W. Pressinger, M.Ed., Tampa, Florida
email: research@chem-tox.com

The medical research below was located from the University of Florida and University of South Florida Medical Libraries. As can be seen clearly from the research summarized below, contrary to what the public is being told by the Agriculture Industry and some governmental agencies, scientists are stating that malathion (even at low levels) is in fact, a harmful chemical.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vets suspect Agent Orange dangers passed down to kids


By Craig Smith
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bobbie and Philip Morris have never heard their daughter speak.

Born with diseases that baffled her doctors, Dara Rae Morris has lived for 37 years in silence. Mentally and physically challenged, she has three leaks in her heart.

"She doesn't say 'I love you' or 'Mom and Dad,' but she knows ..." Bobbie Morris said, her voice trailing off.

Dara Rae Morris spent the first 15 years of her life mostly hospitalized, undergoing open heart surgery and other procedures. During a hospital visit last fall, doctors found more leaks in her heart and told her parents they believe that fixing them would be too much for her to endure.

READ MORE: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_694180.html

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Monsanto - Corporate Responsibility

Board of Directors

Contact Our Directors

* Frank V. AtLee, III
* John W. Bachmann
* David L. Chicoine
* Janice L. Fields
* Hugh Grant
* Arthur H. Harper
* Gwendolyn S. King
* C. Steven McMillan
* William U. Parfet
* George H. Poste, Ph. D., D.V.M.
* Robert J. Stevens

Contact Information
Monsanto Company
800 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63167

General Inquiries:
(314) 694-1000

Friday, August 13, 2010

When will Dow step up to plate on dioxin contamination?

Voice: Carol Chisholm, Saginaw Township

It is refreshing to see that Enbridge and BP are compensating the public for their contamination. As a flood plain resident, I just wish Dow would do the same.

As it stands, there are 24 miles of river, 48 miles of riverbank. Dow has cleaned up half a mile of river bank in two years, and most of that was on Dow property.

Instead of cleaning up the river and compensating the stakeholders for the contamination of our natural resource, Dow is spending money putting its name on things to sway public opinion — The Dow Event Center, Dow Diamond and events in the area. I have never in my life seen Dow’s name on so many functions, events and buildings.

I think Dow realizes how bad it is, and when the public finds out, then maybe something will be done. I hope the public understands, as one of Dow’s own people said last fall at the Delta meeting, dioxin is the most lethal chemical to mankind ever found.

Well, people, Dow put it in our river and air. The company knew from the start how bad it was for living organisms.

DOW Chemical - Board of Directors

Board of Directors
Andrew N. Liveris
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

John B. Hess
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
Hess Corporation; Member of the Board of Directors since 2006

Arnold A. Allemang
Member of the Board of Directors
since 1996

Paul Polman
Chief Executive Officer
Unilever PLC and Unilever N.V.
Member of the Board of Directors since February 2010

Jacqueline K. Barton
Arthur and Marian Hanisch Memorial Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology; Member of the Board of Directors since 1993

Dennis H. Reilley
Former Chairman, Covidien, Ltd.; Member of the Board of Directors since 2007

James A. Bell
Executive Vice President, Finance, Chief Financial Officer, The Boeing Company; Member of the Board of Directors since 2005

James M. Ringler
Chairman, Teradata Corporation; Member of the Board of Directors since 2001

Jeff M. Fettig
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,
Whirlpool Corporation; Member of the Board of Directors since 2003

Ruth G. Shaw
Former Executive Advisor, Duke Energy Corporation; Member of the Board of Directors since 2005

Barbara Hackman Franklin
President and Chief Executive Officer, Barbara Franklin Enterprises and Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Member of the Board of Directors
from 1980 to 1992 and 1993 to date

Paul G. Stern
Dow Presiding Director,
Chairman, Claris Capital; Member of the Board of Directors since 1992

Group Seeks Korean and Vietnam Veterans with Brain Cancer, Glioblastoma for Agent Orange Report

August 12, 2010 posted by Michael Leon •
Agent Orange: The killing and maiming goes on
Korean and Vietnam Veterans that served in areas sprayed with Agent Orange have a higher rate of glioblastoma malformation than found in the civilian population. With the alarming rate of death that our veterans are experiencing from this cancer, it is the mission of the http://www.vietnamveteranwives.org/ to show a link between Agent Orange and glioblastoma.
We have established a website and a registry by which to gather our data and will present our findings to The Institute of Medicine in Dec. 2010 and the House Committee of Veterans’ Affairs with the goal of expanding the Agent Orange registry to include glioblastoma malformation as a recognized cancer.
This will secure the rightful compensation due to the veterans and their family.
Please contact me concerning this matter or go to our website http://www.vietnamveteranswives.org/
Eileen Whitacre Perkins www.vietnamveteranwives.org or tjperkins@q.com

Chemicals Used In Military Operations During The Vietnam War

Thanks to Paul Sutton: General use:
Insecticide, DDT - Pyrethrum aerosol, G-1152, 12-oz, can.*
Insecticide, Dichlorvos, 20% impregnated strips
Insecticide, Lindane, 1% dusting powder, 2-oz. can**
Insecticide, Pyrethrum, 0.6% aerosol, 12-oz. can
Insecticide, Pyrethrum, 0.4% solution, 1-gal. can
Repellent, Clothing and personal application, m 75% DEET, 6-oz. (aerosol can)
Repellent, Clothing and personal application, m 75% DEET, 2-oz. (plastic bottle)
Repellent, Clothing and personal application, m 75% DEET, ½-oz. (bottle, component of
survival kit)
Rodenticide, Anticoagulant, Ready mixed bait, 5-lb can
Rodenticide, bait block, diphacin, 8-oz. block
Supervision Required:
Insecticide, Aluminum phosphide, tablets, can
Insecticide, Aluminum phosphide, pellets, flask
Insecticide, Baygon, 1% solution, 1-gal. can
Insecticide, Baygon, 2% bait, 5-lb. bottle
Insecticide, Carbaryl, 80% powder, 15-lb. pail
Insecticide, Carbaryl-DDT, Micronized dust, 1-gram***
Insecticide, Carbaryl-DDT, Micronized dust, 5-gram***
Insecticide, Carbaryl-DDT, Micronized dust, 13-gram***
Insecticide, Chlordane, 72% emulsifiable concentrate, 5-gal. pail
Insecticide, Chlordane, 5%-6% dust, 25-lb. pail
Insecticide, Diazinon, 0.5% solution, 1-gal. can
Insecticide, Diazinon, 48% emulsifiable concentrate, 1-gal. can
Insecticide, Dieldrin, 15% emulsifiable concentrate, 5-gal. pail
Insecticide, DDT, 25% emulsifiable concentrate, 5-gal. pail
Insecticide, DDT, 75% wettable powder, 20-lb. pail
Insecticide, Dichlorvos, 20% impregnated pellets, 30-lb. pail
Insecticide, Dursban, 40.8% emulsifiable concentrate
Insecticide, Lindane, 12% emulsifiable concentrate, 5-gal. pail
Insecticide, Lindane, 1% dusting powder, 25-lb. pail
Insecticide, Malathion, 57% emulsifiable concentrate, Grade A, (1-gal. can)
Insecticide, Malathion, 57% emulsifiable concentrate, Grade B, (55-gal. drum)
Insecticide, Malathion, 57% emulsifiable concentrate, Grade A, (5-gal. pail)
Insecticide, Malathion, 95% solution concentrate 55-gal. Drum
Insecticide, Methyl bromide, 98%, 150-lb. cylinder
Insecticide, Methyl bromide, 98%, 1-lb. can
Insecticide, Naled, 85% solution concentrate, 15-gal. drum
* For disinsectization of aircraft in compliance with Public Health Quarantine.
** For use in control of body lice.
*** For disinsectization of aircraft in compliance with Agricultural Quarantine.

Repellent, Clothing application, M-1960, 1-gal. can
Repellent, Clothing application, 90% Benzyl benzoate, 1-gal. can
Rodenticide, Anticoagulant, Universal concentrate, 1-lb. can
Rodenticide, Calcium cyanide, 42% powder, 1-lb. can
Rodenticide, Zinc phosphide, 80% powder, 1-oz. bottle
Fungicide, Pentachlorophenol, 5% moisture retardant, 55-gal. drum
Soil fumigant, SMDC (VAPAM) 32.7% solution
Herbicide, Borate-Bromacil mixture, 50-lb. bag
Herbicide, Bromacil, 80% powder, 50-lb. drum
Herbicide, Chlorate-Borate mixture, 50-lb. bag
Herbicide, Dacthal, 75% powder, 50-lb bag
Herbicide, Dalapon, 85% powder, 50-lb drum
Herbicide, Dicamba, 49% solution, 1-gal. bottle
Herbicide, Diquat, 35.3% solution, 5-gal. drum
Herbicide, Diuron, 80% powder, 50-lb. drum
Herbicide, DSMA, 63% disodium methylarsonate, 100-lb. drum
Herbicide, Monuron, 80% powder, 50-lb. drum
Herbicide, Picloram + 2,4-D, 5-gal. drum
Herbicide, Picloram, 11.6% pellets, 50-lb. drum
Herbicide, Silvex, Low Volatile Ester, 4-lb/gal., 5-gal. drum
Herbicide, Simazinc, 80% powder, 5-lb. can
Herbicide, 2,4-D, Low Volatile Ester, 4-lb/gal., 5-gal. can
Herbicide, 2,4-D, Amine, 4-lb/gal., 5-gal. can
Herbicide, 2,4,5-T, Low Volatile Ester, 4-lb/gal., 55-gal. drum
Herbicide, 2,4,5-T, Low Volatile Ester, 4-lb/gal., 5-gal. pail
Herbicide, Cacodylic Acid (Blue), 55-gal. drum
Herbicide, Picloram + 2,4-D, (White), 55-gal. drum
Herbicide, 2,4-D + 2,4,5-T, High Volatile ester (Orange), 55-gal. drum

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Final Agent Orange review ordered


August 10, 2010 4:09 PM

An estimated 200,000 Vietnam veterans suffering from three diseases newly associated with exposure to Agent Orange are closer to receiving disability compensation following an appeals court order Aug. 2 directing VA to publish a final implementing regulation within 30 days.

On a lawsuit brought by a coalition of veterans’ service organizations, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit instructed VA to issue by Sept. 1 a final regulation authorizing payment of claims for ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, or B-cell leukemia for any veteran who stepped foot in Vietnam during the war, or their survivors.

VA has been urging veterans with these diseases to file claims immediately because payments, when they begin, will be retroactive to the filing date.

VA lawyers did concede to the court that VA had missed several deadlines set in the Agent Orange Act for reviewing the latest science report and for publishing rules to expand claims eligibility to these diseases.

Still, they argued that VA could not publish a final regulation until the Office of Management and Budget completed its own review of the draft regulation.

They also argued the delays were reasonable given the complexity of the issues and the costs involved, and that veterans are protected from financial harm if they just file their claims immediately.

The appeals court rejected those arguments.

After final a regulation is published, VA still will have to wait 60 days under the Congressional Review Act to begin paying claims, given the cost of adding these three diseases to the list of ailments presumed caused by exposure to defoliants used in Vietnam. That would give Congress time to block the regulation, though that seems unlikely given that funds already have been approved for anticipated first-year and retroactive payments.

If OMB completes its review soon, allowing rule publication before Sept. 1, payments could begin in October. If VA waits until Sept. 1 to publish its regulation, payments wouldn’t begin before Nov. 1.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee still intends to hold a Sept. 23 hearing on how VA officials and independent scientists reached their decision on presuming these diseases were caused by Agent Orange.

Tom Philpott can be contacted at Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, Va. 20120-1111, or by e-mail at: milupdate@aol.com

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Burn Pits: the Agent Orange of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Burn pit at Balad Air Base in Iraq (photo: Julianne Showalter, U.S. Air Force)


Monday, August 09, 2010
Although no formal policy has been adopted for dealing with the problem, defense officials are moving closer to acknowledging the health consequences of open-pit burning on soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some soldiers who have developed serious respiratory conditions from working the pits have been discharged with full disability benefits. At the same time, the Department of Veterans Affairs is funding a study by the Institute of Medicine to determine the possible consequences of burn-pit exposure on military personnel. The VA also has told its staff to look out for veterans with illnesses with possible burn-pit symptoms.

The Department of Defense is conducting its own examination of burn pits, and has already shut down many of them in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are presently 42 still operating in Iraq and 184 in Afghanistan.

Even though the military is moving more quickly to address the problem than it did during the Vietnam War and the controversy over defoliant Agent Orange, many soldiers and veterans aren’t waiting around for help to arrive. About 300 victims or their families have joined a class-action lawsuit against KBR, the military contractor that operated some burn pits at bases in Iraq. KBR’s defense is that the pits were operated by the Army or at the military’s direction.
-Noel Brinkerhoff

READ MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/07/us/07burn.html?_r=1


Monday, August 9, 2010

Vietnam veteran exposed to agent orange running out of options, VA won’t budge


A bronze star awarded to Frank Tate of Drums rests next to a map of where the chemical Agent Orange was applied during the Vietnam war. Tate, who saved another Marine's life during the war, and served in areas where Agent Orange was utilized, has cirrhosis of the liver that the Department of Veterans Affairs will not acknowledge as a disease caused by the foliage-destroying chemical.

By Jill Whalen in the StandardSpeaker
Pennsylvania — Frank Tate received the prestigious Bronze Star Medal for dragging two seriously injured Marines across fire-swept terrain in Vietnam as machine gun bullets sailed past him.
More than 30 years later, Tate’s own life needs saving.
The Drums man’s liver has all but completely failed. His body is filling with fluids, and his skin has already turned yellow – a telltale sign of jaundice.
Doctors told him he needs a liver transplant, said his wife, Carol Tate. But none will attempt the procedure, saying the former Marine’s health is too depleted and thus, an operation is too risky.
Frank has seen many doctors, Carol said, and many of them agree: the 59-year-old’s liver cirrhosis was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange, the name given to the herbicide used by the United States during the Vietnam War to destroy foliage that provided cover for the enemy.
What’s frustrating, Frank said, is that the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t acknowledge cirrhosis as a disease caused by Agent Orange.
“They won’t admit to it,” Frank said.
It’s a tough pill for the Tates to swallow.

READ MORE: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/08/09/vietnam-veteran-exposed-to-agent-orange-running-out-of-options-va-wont-budge/

Sunday, August 8, 2010


August 6, 2010 posted by Robert O'Dowd
Marine veterans of former MCAS El Toro were exposed to toxic chemicals. None were notified and most are unable to “connect the dots of serious illness” to military service.
(IRVINE, CA) – I don‟t believe in ghosts. If I ran into one or two, maybe I‟d change my mind. The stories of lights in the former Marine Corps Air Stations El Toro‟s control tower when the power was cut off in July 1999 may be just someone‟s wild imagination or I guess if you believe in paranormal activity, maybe the ghosts of Marines who served on the base and returned to haunt the place. No question there‟s good reasons for haunting the old base.
Courtesy: U.S. Navy, MCAS El Toro
At night, the former base takes on the appearance of a ghost town. With the power to buildings cut off and hundreds of dilapidated buildings still standing, moonlight can play tricks on your mind. Shadows move or seem to move and it doesn‟t take too long before normally rational people see things that are not there.
Placed on the National Priority List (EPA Superfund) in 1990 as a result of a trichloroethylene (TCE) plume spreading into Orange County, it was only a matter of time before El Toro was closed. The Navy‟s investigation identified 25 contaminated sites on the base, 11 of them were in the most industrialized southwest quadrant where the Marine transport aircraft were serviced in two huge maintenance hangars.

READ MORE: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/08/06/el-toros-unwanted-legacy/

Camp Lejeune Update


August 7, 2010 posted by Michael Leon
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
By Dave Bedworth
“Kidney Cancer – first dad now mom” was the title of the first posting I saw on the Discussion Board of the website “The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten”. The details of the posting made my heart sink into my boots. Once again, a new member had joined the discussion, looking for information and help. Once again, the story was tragic beyond belief. All as a result of exposure to contamination at Camp Lejeune. This member was only five years old when her father was stationed at Camp Lejeune and the family was allotted housing at Tarawa Terrace II. Now both parents have kidney cancer with little financial or medical means to obtain needed treatment. The “déjà vous” feeling this story creates is tinged with both a sickening repetitiveness and anger that the government has not stepped forward to assist these victims of contamination.
As I conducted a little more research it appears that not all of the ongoing events are so colored with sadness. Indeed, a series of events are ongoing or in the pipeline that will bring our veterans and family members closer to the truth.

READ MORE: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/08/07/camp-lejeune-update/

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Exhibition features Agent Orange victims


Nhan Dan – A photo exhibition entitled ‘Agent Orange – Message from the heart’ opened yesterday at the Chi Lang park in Ho Chi Minh city to celebrate the Day for Vietnamese AO victims (August 10).

The exhibition displays thirty photos on large size (50 x 70 cm) featuring the physical and spiritual pain of AO victims suffering from the consequences of chemical dioxin and their efforts to overcome their disadvantages. The photos also depict social support for the victims to help them integrate into the community.

It is the first photo exhibition on the topic held in Ho Chi Minh city.

The event, held by the Ho Chi Minh city Association for Victims of Agent Orange/ Dioxin, will run until August 8.

Area B: Cancer victim’s father urges Detrick resignations

Photo by Sam Yu - Randy White, a member of Fighting for Frederick, holds up copies of The Frederick News-Post citing coverage of Fort Detrick’s Area B and local cases of cancer during a news conference Wednesday at Hotel W in Washington.


By Megan Eckstein of the News-Post Staff

WASHINGTON — Randy White and his Kristen Renee Foundation took their fight with Fort Detrick to a new level Wednesday, calling for two employees to resign and announcing his cause had gained congressional interest.
Blocks from the White House, White said he was becoming increasingly convinced that a series of actions by Fort Detrick caused hundreds or even thousands of cases of cancer. He promised to take o course of action off the table and that he would seek justice for his daughter and others in Frederick who have died of cancer.

White has spent $220,000 of his own money to hire a team of researchers and lawyers to investigate contamination at Fort Detrick’s Area B, as well as the Army post’s history of testing Agent Orange. Fort Detrick officials last week said Agent Orange was tested in small batches in the 1950s and 1960s, but little else was known about the extent of its research.

READ MORE: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/08/06/area-b-cancer-victim%E2%80%99s-father-urges-detrick-resignations/

Friday, August 6, 2010

Breaking Patterns of Environmentally Influenced Disease for Health Risk Reduction: Immune Perspectives


Rodney R. Dietert1, Jamie C. DeWitt2, Dori R. Germolec3, Judith T. Zelikoff4

Background: Diseases rarely, if ever, occur in isolation. Instead, most represent part of a more complex web or “pattern” of conditions that are connected via underlying biological mechanisms and processes, emerge across a lifetime, and have been identified with the aid of large medical databases.

Objective: We have described how an understanding of patterns of disease may be used to develop new strategies for reducing the prevalence and risk of major immune-based illnesses and diseases influenced by environmental stimuli.

Findings: Examples of recently defined patterns of diseases that begin in childhood include not only metabolic syndrome, with its characteristics of inflammatory dysregulation, but also allergic, autoimmune, recurrent infection, and other inflammatory patterns of disease. The recent identification of major immune-based disease patterns beginning in childhood suggests that the immune system may play an even more important role in determining health status and health care needs across a lifetime than was previously understood.

Conclusions: Focusing on patterns of disease, as opposed to individual conditions, offers two important venues for environmental health risk reduction. First, prevention of developmental immunotoxicity and pediatric immune dysfunction can be used to act against multiple diseases. Second, pattern-based treatment of entryway diseases can be tailored with the aim of disrupting the entire disease pattern and reducing the risk of later-life illnesses connected to underlying immune dysfunction. Disease-pattern–based evaluation, prevention, and treatment will require a change from the current approach for both immune safety testing and pediatric disease management.

READ MORE: http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1001971

1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA, 2 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA, 3 National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA, 4 Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University Langone School of Medicine, Tuxedo, New York, USA

Thanks to Betty Mekdeci, Executive Director
Birth Defect Research for Children

Fort Detrick tested Agent Orange between 1946 and '63


Originally published August 05, 2010
From Staff Reports

Researchers at Camp Detrick and later Fort Detrick tested Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam many times between 1946 and 1963, according to Department of Defense records.

The tests included experiments of plant inhibitors sprayed or applied to the soil to be soaked in by roots, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Public Health and Environmental Affairs.

Additionally, researchers at Camp Detrick tested the feasibility of an experimental spray tower for applying a mixture of chemical anti-crop agents to broad-leaf crops in the spring and summer of 1953, according to a Veterans Affairs report titled "Agent Orange: Herbicide Tests and Storage in the U.S."

READ MORE: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyid=108205

Thanks to Betty Mekdeci, Executive Director
Birth Defect Research for Children

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Court orders VA to act on new Agent Orange findings

An estimated 200,000 Vietnam veterans suffering from three diseases newly associated with exposure to Agent Orange are closer to receiving disability compensation following an appeals court order Aug. 2 directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to publish a final implementing regulation within 30 days.

In response to a lawsuit brought by a coalition of veterans' service organizations, the U.S. Court of Appeals instructed the VA to issue by Sept. 1 a final regulation authorizing payment of claims for ischemic heart disease, Parkinson's disease or B-cell leukemia for any veteran who stepped foot in Vietnam during the war, or their survivors.

VA has been urging veterans with these diseases to file claims immediately because payments, when they begin, will be retroactive to the filing date. VA lawyers conceded to the court that VA had missed several deadlines set in the Agent Orange Act for reviewing the latest science report and for publishing rules to expand claims eligibility to these diseases.
READ MORE: http://www.dailypress.com/news/military/dp-nws-philpott-agent-orange-20100805,0,5722468.story

Vietnam 's forgotten war victims

NOTE: http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange-dioxindec17,0,674174.story?page=2

As the U.S. military aggressively ratcheted up its spraying of Agent Orange over South Vietnam in 1965, the government and the chemical companies that produced the defoliant knew it posed health risks to soldiers and others who were exposed.

That year, a Dow Chemical Company memo called a contaminant in Agent Orange "one of the most toxic materials known causing not only skin lesions, but also liver damage."

BYLINE: Chris Arsenault
When Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, visited Vietnam on Thursday she extolled the country's "unlimited potential" and strong trade relations with the US . But the words must have rung hollow for Ngyuen Ngoc Phuong, who has seen his potential destroyed by American chemical poisoning.

Phuong, 19, was born long after the US cut and run from the Vietnam war, evacuating its last remaining personnel by helicopter from the roof of its Saigon embassy in 1975.

But the results of that war, which officially ended 35 years ago, affect every aspect of Phuong's life.

The young man has severe physical deformities, and like an estimated three million Vietnamese, he suffers from exposure to Agent Orange, a toxic chemical US forces sprayed during the war to defoliate the dense jungles Viet Cong rebels used for cover.

In its manufacture, the chemical was contaminated with TCDD, or dioxin, "the most toxic substance known to humans", according to an investigation in the journal Science.

In his book Agent Orange on Trial published by Harvard University Press, Peter Schuck reported that companies who manufactured the defoliant knew "as early as 1952" that deadly dioxin had contaminated the chemical.

Between 1962 and 1971, the US military sprayed an estimated 80 million liters of Agent Orange and other herbicides on Vietnam , the journal Naturereported in 2003.

"I met one family of victims with four blinded children, no eyes - period," Dr Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, a Vietnamese researcher, said in a 2007 interview.

In a now declassified report for the US department of veterans affairs, Admiral ER Zumwalt Jr wrote that Dow Chemical and other manufacturers knew Agent Orange exposure could cause "general organ toxicity" and "other systematic problems" as early as 1964.

These and other studies show that the American military, and the chemical companies who serviced it, were well aware of the dangers posed by the chemicals on the general population.

On this front, Agent Orange elucidates an alarming trend in modern warfare, particularly counter-insurgency fighting: civilians and the environment tend to be main casualties.

Brutality clearly defined World War I and II and previous conflicts between standing armies, but soldiers usually made up the majority of the dead.

From the jungles of Vietnam to the plains of Sudan , Iraq 's cities to the Afghan mountains, civilians now bear the highest cost for wars not of their making.

"In Vietnam it was chemical [weapons] ... Agent Orange and napalm," Len Aldis, secretary of the Britain-Vietnam friendship society, told Al-Jazeera.

"In Iraq , Kosovo, [and] Afghanistan the US, UK and NATO have used depleted uranium, cluster weapons ... and drones that are controlled from military bases in the US ."

These conflicts tend to continue even after the wars officially end.

"We did a number of soil samples and followed [dioxin contamination from Agent Orange spraying] though the food chain into ponds, to fish, into ducks and then into humans. We found it in children who had been born long after the war ended," Dr Wayne Dwernychuck, who led the first team of western scientists to study the long-term affects of spraying in Vietnam , said in an interview.

"We concluded the only way they could be contaminated is through food and nursing," he said, referencing his 1994 study.

Former US military bases including Bien Hoa, Phu Cat and the infamous Danang are the worst sites of present day contamination.

"We have been working with Vietnam for about nine years to try to remedy the effects of Agent Orange," Clinton said at a press conference in Hanoi .

Since 2007, the US congress has appropriated $9million to help Vietnam clean up contaminated areas and for related health activities, or an amount roughly equal to the cost of 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

In June, a joint panel of US and Vietnamese policymakers, citizens and scientists estimated the cost of a proper clean-up and rehabilitation for the sick at $300million.

"The war is over but the wounds from the war still remain in many areas of Vietnam ," Nguyen Van Son, a member of Vietnam 's National Assembly, said during the report's launch in Hanoi .

Vietnamese civilians are not the only ones suffering from exposure. Veterans in the US , Canada and beyond also have histories with the chemicals.

In 1984, US veterans reached an out-of-court settlement for $180million with companies who produced the chemicals, including Monsanto and Dow Chemical.

Remarkably, Dow maintains that there is no evidence to link Agent Orange to illnesses from US veterans and Vietnamese civilians.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), the pre-eminent scientific authority in the US when it comes to setting government policy, links exposure to a raft of conditions including cancers, diabetes and spina bifida.

Like their American counterparts, Vietnamese victims have tried to gain justice in US courts, but after a series of cases, the US supreme court refused to hear their case in 2009.

However, American conservatives were some of the first to recognize the moral quagmire around giving pensions and other benefits to US veterans and not Vietnamese civilians, even though both groups were poisoned by the American government and the companies who provided it with chemicals.

It is "difficult to rationalize why [American] Vietnam vets are compensated for Agent Orange exposure but Vietnamese civilians shouldn't be," Steve Milloy, a scholar at the Cato institute, wrote in a commentary for Fox News.

During her visit, Clinton criticized Vietnam for jailing rights activists and censoring the internet and urged the single party, nominally communist state to "strengthen its commitment to human rights".

However, in the broader schema of rights, Vietnam 's transgressions against courageous lawyers and journalists seem positively minor compared to three million destroyed lives: children born missing eyes, grossly elongated heads or misshapen legs where their arms ought to be.

Al Jazeera English; July 26, 2010

Read more at: http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/Social-Isssues/201842/15m-raised-for-Agent-Orange-victims.html

House-Backed Bill Would Boost VA 's Spending on Agent Orange Claims

BYLINE: Eugene Mulero

The House on Wednesday gave strong support to a bill that would increase funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, in part to help pay for new medical claims from thousands of Vietnam War soldiers found to have been sickened by the defoliant Agent Orange.

The increased money would be provided in a $141.1 billion spending measure that would fund military construction projects, the Veterans Affairs Department and related agencies in fiscal 2011.

The bill (HR 5822), sponsored by Chet Edwards, D-Texas, chairman of the Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee, would appropriate $6.5 billion more than the fiscal 2010 enacted level, matching President Obama's budget request.

The House passed the measure, as amended, 411-6.

Members of both parties expressed satisfaction with the bipartisan nature of the legislation. "In this time of war, we have continued our tradition of a bipartisan Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that has honored in a meaningful way the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women, our veterans and their families," Edwards said.

The bill would provide the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) with $120.8 billion. That would include $56.8 billion in discretionary spending and $64 billion in mandatory spending. The bill would also provide $50.6 billion for VA medical accounts in advance appropriations for fiscal 2012 .

Senate appropriators reported their version (S 3615), which would provide similar funding levels, earlier this month. The spending measure is expected to reach the Senate floor after the August recess.

A portion of the increased discretionary funds would be used for claims by veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Last fall, the department extended coverage to Vietnam War veterans who had developed B-cell leukemia, Parkinson's disease or ischemic heart disease. The legislation means that such veterans do not have to prove an association between their illness and their service, according to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Shinseki also noted that the cost to provide care for the new cases of Agent Orange could be as much as $42.2 billion over the next decade.

Agent Orange, which was used to clear jungle areas where enemy troops might be hiding, contains a dioxin. In 1991 Congress gave the department authority to determine which diseases could be connected to Agent Orange.

Variety of Amendments

Before passing the measure, the House adopted several amendments.

The chamber adopted, 353-69, an amendment by Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., that would prevent the use of military construction funds for the purchase or renovation of any facility located in the continental United States to hold suspected terrorists or enemy combatants from Guantnamo Bay , Cuba.

The bill also included an amendment by Rush D. Holt, D-N.J., that would instruct the VA to set aside at least $20 million for suicide prevention outreach via direct advertising and the use of online social media. It was adopted by voice vote, with strong support from both parties.

Two amendments were offered that would have allocated funding for minor construction projects to other projects.

The first, offered by Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., was withdrawn after Edwards and members representing districts containing projects funded through the minor construction account expressed opposition.

But the sponsors of the other amendment, Republicans Scott Garrett and Leonard Lance and Democrat John Adler of New Jersey , insisted that their proposal be put to a vote. The amendment, which would have increased funding by $7 million for the state's construction account for veterans' cemeteries, was rejected, 128-296.

While members agreed with the goals of the amendments, they argued that the funding was essential for other projects. Expressing frustration, Garrett noted that appropriators had already provided $40 million more for minor construction projects than was requested by the administration. "There is a need for the cemeteries, not just in the state of New Jersey , but across the country as well," he said.

Overall, the spending bill includes $53.4 billion for the Veterans Benefits Administration's compensation, pension and burial benefits, which is $6 billion above the 2010 enacted level and matches the administration's request.

Additionally, $13.7 billion would be provided for military construction programs, along with $1.3 billion for emergency funds for construction projects in Afghanistan and $40 million for Arlington National Cemetery -- 4 percent more than the president's request -- to help the Army address alleged mismanagement.

Frances Symes contributed to this story.

60-Day Countdown Nears for New ‘AO’ Claims BYLINE: Tom Philpott


The Department of Veterans Affairs is expected in October to pay thousands of disability claims to Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson's disease and B-cell leukemia ---- illnesses newly associated with exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants used in the war.

A 60-day countdown to the day that the VA can start compensating up to 86,000 veterans retroactively for these diseases will begin when the agency publishes its final implementing regulation, which could be next week.

Congress sent a strong signal of support to these veterans this month when first the Senate, and on Tuesday, the House passed the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 (HR 4899), which included $13.4 billion for the VA to pay the first wave of compensation claims for these diseases.

Read more at: http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/military/article_8ae2764d-1972-5a5b-96e2-b84261d85c9a.html

New Warning About Excessive “Agent Orange” Toxin in Baby Formula and Breast Milk


Posted By Dr. Mercola | August 03 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency has held public hearings to review a proposed safe exposure limit for dioxin, a known carcinogen and endocrine disruptor.

Dioxin is nearly impossible to avoid, as women exposed to it pass it on to fetuses in the womb, and both breast milk and formula have been shown to contain it.

Research done has shown that a nursing infant ingests an amount 77 times higher than what the EPA has proposed as safe exposure. Adults are exposed to 1,200 times more dioxin than the EPA suggests is safe.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ask your Representative to co-sponsor the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act

Are you ready for some good news? Legislation has just been introduced in the House of Representatives that would, for the first time, require the chemical industry to ensure chemicals are safe before they end up in our homes, schools, and places of work.

Representatives Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) have unveiled the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act HR 5820, the strongest bill ever introduced to protect our families from toxic chemicals.


National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures

The Community Conversations were a success!
Over a thousand people joined community conversations from April through June 2010, to offer input on public health and chemical exposure issues. Interested individuals held more than 50 conversations across the United States, and have submitted summary reports. A map with information on each community conversation is available.
What will we do with the summary reports of the community conversations?

The community conversation summary reports that conveners submitted are available on the National Environmental Health Association’sExternal Web Site Icon. Web site. In the next few months, the team will summarize major themes and ideas from the community conversations in a report that it will post online. This report will be the primary means for providing the results of the community conversations to the Leadership Council and work groups of the National Conversation.

The Leadership Council and work groups will approach the results of community conversations with two questions in mind: (1) Should certain issues or recommendations currently under consideration by the group be prioritized over others? and (2) Is the group failing to consider key issues or ideas that are important to the members of the public?
Now that community conversations have ended, can people still use the toolkit?

YES! Although the Community Conversation Toolkit was developed as part of the National Conversation project to assist hosts of local meetings gather input on public health and chemical exposure issues, it could be easily adapted for other purposes.

Do you have an idea for using the Community Conversation Toolkit? Please share your ideas with us at nationalconversation@cdc.gov.

Agent Orange Town Hall Meeting - Gagetown


Since American Viet Nam veterans are dealing with many of the same issues [related to Agent Orange exposure] as Canadian and other veterans who may have served or trained at CFB Gagetown, we thought the coverage might be of at least peripheral interest to your organization and its stakeholders. You're very welcome, if you choose, to distribute the link. If you do so we request that any link to us go to the full page and not the video coverage alone.

Worried about lead and phthalates in your child's products?


Toxic Toys? How Do We Stop It?
Falls Church, VA – The Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) is releasing a new Back to School
Guide to PVC‐Free School Supplies to help parents choose safer, PVC‐free school supplies. The guide is
being released just in time for tax‐free back‐to‐school shopping. Parents across the country are stocking
up on binders and lunchboxes. But while it’s easy to know the healthiest foods to pack in those
lunchboxes, many parents are not aware of the toxic plastic used to make them. In fact, the average
child’s character‐themed backpack is filled with supplies and materials made from the most toxic plastic,
polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl).

What's the story with toxic chemicals in cosmetics?
Would you pour toxic chemicals-even a little bit-on your baby in the tub? Not if you had the choice not to! Learn more about toxic chemicals in cosmetics by watching The Story of Cosmetics, a new video just released by Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff Project, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Free Range Studios.

This is the 7 minute video we've all been waiting for that will change the personal care products industry for the better! We need to shake up the cosmetics industry and the FDA: Please watch The Story of Cosmetics and share widely!

Dioxin Hearing
A couple days ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a Science Advisory Board meeting to finalize their response to the National Academies of Sciences' report on dioxin. The board heard from a number of panels as well as members of the public. Public commenters ranged from citizens who have been fighting on the front lines of dioxin exposure in their own communities to chemical company representatives. However, whether they represented environmental health interests or the chemical industry, every person present could agree on one thing: the fact that dioxin exposure is harmful.


Army Probes Its Use Of Agent Orange In Md. City

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) ― The Army says it's searching internal records for details on outdoor spray testing of Agent Orange at Fort Detrick in Frederick.

A Fort Detrick spokesman said Friday that the Maryland Department of the Environment asked the Army about the tests. The Veterans Administration says they were conducted there in the 1940s and '50s.

Concerns have been raised by some past and present Fort Detrick neighbors who contend their families' cancer and other health problems stem from the Army's careless use and disposal of toxic chemicals.

Agent Orange is the nickname for a blend of herbicides the U.S. military sprayed during the Vietnam War to remove plants and leaves that provided enemy cover.

The VA has recognized certain cancers and diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure.