Friday, August 26, 2011

Agent Orange Korea: 5 Investigates finds pattern of illness in S. Korean village children

"I am concerned for the people of our country," says Kyun-Ho Kwak, chairman of Chilgok County. He tells CBS 5 Investigates he has seen a high number of unexplained illnesses in his county.

"The stream near the base leads to the Nak-Dong River," says Kwak. "So, I believe that if the Agent Orange is buried there, it could have caused illnesses."

He says the county is conducting its own investigation, because he believes the U.S. military has not been forthcoming.

But a father in the village named Sang-Chul Park says he doesn't need test results to tell him what he already knows. Both his sons are sick.

"I wish this tragedy had never happened," says Park.

Park's oldest son, Yun-Bum, has autism. And his 13-year-old son, Yun-Uk, has leukemia.

According to the South Korean government's own statistics, between 2005 and 2009 the cancer death rates in the area around the military base were higher than the national average – as much as 17 percent higher.

And the number of people dying from nervous system diseases was as much as 73 percent higher than the national average.


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