Friday, October 28, 2011

Agent Orange Study Links for October 28, 2011, Courtesy George Claxton

Agent Orange Links October 28, 2011

Propolis protects against 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin-induced toxicity in rat hepatocytes.

Attenuating effect of lycopene and ellagic acid on 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin-induced spermiotoxicity and testicular apoptosis.

Tenuous dose-response correlations for common disease states: case study of cholesterol and perfluorooctanoate/sulfonate (PFOA/PFOS) in the C8 Health Project.

Pathological study for the effects of in utero and postnatal exposure to diesel exhaust on a rat endometriosis model.

Do Thyroid Disrupting Chemicals Influence Foetal Development during Pregnancy?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mark the Date - November 5, 2011

Agent Orange Town Hall Meeting
VVA/AVVA Chapter 862, Beaver County to hold Agent Orange Town Hall Meeting

November 5, 2011
3:00 PM
Monaca, PA 15061

National Speakers:

Mokie Pratt Porter
VVA Director of Communications, former editor of The VVA Veteran, and Long-time VVA staff member, Mokie is the coordinator of the Faces of Agent Orange Initiative

George Claxton
Chair Emeritus of the VVA Agent Orange Committee and long-time advocate for veterans, George ’s knowledge of Agent Orange is unparalleled. His life-time work, a massive database of studies on the health impact of Agent Orange, is an exceptional resource which is used by scientists and service officers alike.

Sandie Wilson
A long-standing member of VVA’s National Board of Directors, Sandie served as an OR Nurse in Vietnam . Her pioneering work on Agent Orange began with her return home in 1971, when she served on the pediatric ward at Fort Campbell ’s base hospital. A steadfast advocate, she has never faltered from her quest for truth and justice for her fellow veterans.

Nancy Switzer
AVVA’s current and founding National President, Nancy has been an outstanding advocate for veterans and their families for more than 30 years. Married to Rick, who is service-connected for Agent Orange, she understands well the legacy of war. A long-time advisor to VVA’s legislative and health committees, Nancy has played a critical role in the Faces of Agent Orange, convening the first-ever FAO Town Hall Meeting at the AVVA leadership conference in 2009.

Pete and Sue Petrosky - A Vietnam veteran, Pete served in the USAF from 64-68.
Married for 42 years, Sue and Pete have two daughters, both born with birth defects. The Petroskys are sharing their compelling story, with hopes that they can make a difference.

Philip and Bobbie Morris
Philip served in Thailand with the USAF, 65-69. When he returned home, he married Bobbie, and their daughter, Dara Rae, was born in 1973. By sharing Dara’s amazing journey, they hope to let others know that they are not alone.

Open Forum

We hope to hear from you, our Vietnam Veteran families, to learn more about the health of our veterans, their children, and their grandchildren.

For more information on the Town Hall Meeting, Contact:

EPA, MDEQ won't use U-M dioxin study in decision making

By Lindsay Knake | The Saginaw News
KOCHVILLE TWP. — The Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality won’t use a University of Michigan study on dioxins to make future decisions on cleanup of the chemical.

Dr. David Garabrant, the leader of the U-M Dioxin Exposure Study, presented the results of the study at Monday’s Tittabawassee-Saginaw Rivers Contamination Community Advisory Group meeting.

About 25 people, mostly Delta College students, attended the meeting at Saginaw Valley State University, 7400 Bay in Kochville Township.

The eight-year study which tested levels of dioxins in soil, household dust and blood samples from residents in the Tittabawassee River floodplain from the Dow Chemical Co. plant in Midland through Midland and Saginaw counties. It found dioxins in property soil and household dust do not have a significant effect on residents’ dioxin blood levels.


Agent Orange Studies Overlook Vietnamese Americans

Commentary by Ngoc Nguyen, New American Media
The numerous studies on American veterans of the war stand in stark contrast to what little is known about the health effects of dioxin in Vietnamese living in the United States.
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - A few years ago, my father, a former naval officer in the South Vietnamese Army, developed liver cancer. The diagnosis followed decades of struggle with Hepatitis C, a viral infection he contracted through a blood transfusion during the war. A liver transplant saved his life.

More than two years since the operation, and my father’s life has been transformed from a state of “wait and see” to near normalcy, except for a daily regimen of dozens of pills. But, for Vietnamese Americans there is another legacy of the war that, like a sleeping dragon, may be starting to awaken: The possible health effects of exposure to wartime Agent Orange.

American forces sprayed 19 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War between 1961 and 1971, mostly in South Vietnam, to deny North Vietnamese soldiers cover in the country’s dense forests and jungles. Agent Orange was contaminated with dioxin, a highly toxic chemical that is persistent in human tissues and the environment.

That wartime spraying has been devastating to American veterans who came into contact with the defoliant and then developed any number of a long list of illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences have linked Agent Orange/dioxin exposure to a slew of health conditions, including prostate, lung and other cancers, Parkinson’s disease and leukemia, and birth defects in the children of veterans, such as spina bifida. Many of the symptoms are only just showing up now in soldiers who served and were exposed.

But the numerous studies on American veterans of the war stand in stark contrast to what little is known about the health effects of dioxin in Vietnamese living in the United States – whether they were born here or are former residents of South Vietnam.

According to a study published in the journal Nature by Columbia University professor emeritus Jeanne Stellman, as many as 4.8 million Vietnamese civilians were exposed to the chemicals during the war. The collapse of the government of South Vietnam brought an exodus of Vietnamese to the United States, with more than 125,000 refugees resettling here after 1975. The country’s Vietnamese population now stands at more than 1.6 million, according to the last census count.

Among that group are former South Vietnamese veterans, who do not receive VA benefits, so their health status is not being tracked. The federal government has yet to conduct large-scale epidemiological studies of U.S. Vietnam veterans, and has not funded studies on their South Vietnamese counterparts.

Additionally, ARVN forces were not part of a 1985 out-of-court settlement with the chemical makers totaling $180 million. Much of that money dried up before thousands of American veterans started to become sick from Agent Orange-related illnesses. Now, as the legal and medical battles move to the children and grandchildren of Vietnam vets who are also suffering the long-term effects of the chemical war agent, Vietnamese Americans continue to be overlooked.

Sailing up and down rivers in Binh Duong province in southern Vietnam during the war, my father says he didn’t handle Agent Orange. But he does recalled seeing charred vegetation along the riverbanks, and said he knew it had been sprayed there. He says he doesn’t believe he was exposed, as he was mainly on the vessel and drank from the boat’s water supply.

But studies show the defoliant was sprayed on about 10 to 15 percent of South Vietnam in certain locations, with little spraying in urban areas. From Saigon, my father says areas outside of the city were sprayed. One in particular, Bien Hoa, just 32 kilometers north of Saigon, is a dioxin “hotspot.”

Bien Hoa is home to a former U.S. air base used for Agent Orange-spraying missions. A large spill of the herbicide occurred underground there, and the area is still contaminated. A study from 2003 found that residents were still exposed to dioxin through animal fat, from eating fish, chickens and ducks and other tainted wildlife.

Bien Hoa residents also had higher dioxin levels than their counterparts in the North, where there was no spraying, and one resident of the city was found to have the highest level of dioxin ever recorded in the country. But while their children also showed elevated dioxin levels, these studies did not address long-term health effects.

Arnold Schecter, a professor of environmental sciences at the Univ. of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas and a leading researcher on dioxin exposure in the Vietnamese American community, said no one has conducted measures of dioxin exposure levels in the population.

Political Sensitivities

Vietnamese immigrants in the United States are largely from South Vietnam, which fell to the communists in 1975. As such, many here do not want to do or say anything that gives credence to Hanoi’s claims about the health effects of Agent Orange, part of a massive campaign to win compensation for victims of the defoliant. [A lawsuit brought by Vietnam against the chemical makers in federal court in New York was dismissed in 2005, and subsequent appeals have failed.]

Yet the lack of health studies for this group comes at a time when the symptoms of wartime exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin could be surfacing.

According to a Chicago Tribune investigation, “Service-related disability payments to Vietnam veterans have surged 60 percent since 2003, reaching $13.7 billion last year, and now account for more than half of such payments the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides to veterans of all wars.” The spike in disability claims suggests that the “long dormant effects of Agent Orange [are beginning] to surface,” according to the article.

For Vietnamese immigrants in the United States, who may have had a history of toxic exposure, it is critical to have this basic and baseline public health data, especially as many go on to work in jobs here, such as nail salons and dry cleaning shops, where they are exposed to additional harmful chemicals.

Growing up, my siblings and I never knew what my father saw or did on the battlefield, what he felt when he loaded his mother, brothers and sisters, his wife and his nine-month-old daughter, and others onto a ship that he then commandeered to Subic Bay, Philippines on April 30, 1975 – the day Saigon fell. We are just starting to have those conversations.

Now, with both my parents aging, the legacy of the war is both a distant memory and a palpable reality, sometimes extending its fingers into our lives.

Ngoc Nguyen is environmental health editor and reporter for New America Media, a national nonprofit news service for ethnic media. She is reporting on the health impacts of Agent Orange/dioxin on the Vietnamese American community through a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Contact her at

Special thanks to New American Media

Originally published here:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Texas A&M System researchers sought for Agent Orange remediation

By: Kay Ledbetter
Print Friendly

COLLEGE STATION – It’s been almost 50 years since Agent Orange was spread as a jungle defoliant across parts of Vietnam in a conflict that has since healed, but the same may not be true for the land, according to Texas A&M University and Texas AgriLife Research officials who are being sought out for some answers.

Faculty from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, especially Dr. Scott Senseman, a professor in the department of soil and crop sciences and an AgriLife Research weed scientist specializing in pesticide fate and management, have been asked to participate in a project with Vietnam National University–Hanoi.

The partnership has been identified as a key strategic project by the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam. Senseman was recently invited to address the Joint Advisory Commission, the key inter-governmental commission for cooperation between the two governments, about the collaboration.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Waiting For An Army To Die - Redux
"Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam"
by Fred A. Wilcox
Seven Stories Press (2011)

"Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange"
by Fred A. Wilcox
Seven Stories Press, Second Edition (2011)

Fifty years ago, while President Kennedy deliberated waging a sweeping herbicide warfare campaign in Vietnam, Rachel Carson may well have been scrutinizing the galley proofs of "Silent Spring," a book Kennedy would soon read and respect. The biologist painstakingly amassed evidence that widespread aerial spraying with toxic insecticides and herbicides constituted a "peacetime" war on nature and human health.

Her electrifying treatise nailed the agricultural industrial complex - pesticide industries and the gaggle of research scientists, government bureaucrats and Congressionals tethered to the industry - for collusion in a chemical assault on nature and public health.

A firestorm ensued. The industry threatened to sue Carson's publisher; their hacks peddled sexist depictions of Carson and satires of "Silent Spring." A tempest of Congressional hearings and citizen lawsuits over DDT pesticide excoriated the pesticide industry and government complicity, provoked immense national debate and launched the modern environmental movement. As Fred Wilcox bitingly observes, though, in "Waiting for an Army to Die," this domestic outbreak of public debate, regulatory action and civic activism against our pesticide-drenched model of agriculture did not stymie the executive decision to wage and sustain massive chemical warfare in Vietnam for nearly ten years.

The most hazardous of the chemicals sprayed in Vietnam was Agent Orange, an equal mixture of the herbicides 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, contaminated during the manufacturing process with the dioxin TCDD, arguably the most toxic small molecule known. First researched for use as warfare agents in World War II, the herbicides were given a post-war makeover for domestic use on brush and weeds in forests, agriculture, pasturelands and suburban yards. In 1961, they became the dominant weapon of choice to defoliate rainforest, mangroves and food crops over one-seventh of the land area of South Vietnam and parts of Laos and Cambodia. Wartime herbicide production spurred an accelerated manufacturing process, a haste which increased industry profits - while it also knowingly magnified the dioxin content and herbicide toxicity in Agent Orange manyfold.

In "Waiting for an Army to Die," the author forcefully illustrates that wartime and peacetime uses of herbicides are two sides of the same coin. He recounts the stories of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and also of Oregon mothers, Arizona potters, and others living near sprayed public lands, all of whom were suffering from a plague of cancers, nervous system effects, miscarriages and birth disorders of their children. In this eminently compassionate and politically astute book, reissued with a new introduction 22 years after the first edition, Wilcox takes us inside the tragic, yet gutsy lives of young, working-class vets who were left to die by "government stonewalling, bureaucratic shell games and the contempt of multinational corporations." Their resolve to win just, respectful medical treatment and disability payment from the Veterans Administration (VA) in the face of stigmatization as neurotic, substance-abusing, mental cases is nothing short of heroic.

"Waiting for an Army to Die" is an unblinking high beam focused on the VA's heartless, obstacle-laden treatment of Vietnam veterans. But Wilcox also highlights a few noble people within an otherwise obstructive medical system, whose stories of courage and altruism relieve the callous betrayal of these veterans poisoned by their country. ("Sprayed and Betrayed" as the vets put it). One is a lower-level employee, Maude DeVictor, in the Benefits Division of the Chicago VA regional. On her own initiative, she collected personal data from clients seeking benefits - Vietnam vets, their wives and their widows - about their exposure to Agent Orange, health effects and reproductive history. When directed by her supervisor to cease her data collection, she turned the results over to the local media. DeVictor's pluck in the face of a punitive bureaucracy is one of numerous chinks in the VA's armored resistance to acknowledging the toxicity of Agent Orange and to undertaking independent scientific studies of Agent Orange exposure illnesses.

The other human face of this ruinous chemical warfare on a rural country's ecosystem and people is that of more than three million Vietnamese war victims of Agent Orange and the three generations of children born since with horrific birth defects and disabilities. Wilcox tells their tragic yet dogged story in a newly published companion book, "Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam." Again, with compassion and an unflinching investigation into the multigenerational Agent Orange victims, he constructs a cogent moral case for compensation by the United States. Read separately, but more so together, the books' core contribution is that they do not let us leave the toxic legacy of the Vietnam War behind us as we wage new wars with new chemicals.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A death from cancer, and a search for answers - Frederick native calls attention to Fort Detrick contamination
FREDERICK — — Randy White had just buried a daughter, dead at 30 with a brain tumor. Now his other daughter had been diagnosed with growths in her abdomen.

When doctors told White in 2009 that their conditions were likely caused by something in their environment, the Frederick native thought of Fort Detrick. His children had grown up near the Army base.

Detrick was home to the nation's biological weapons program from the 1940s through the 1960s. It remains a key center for medical research.

"Anybody that lives in Frederick knows all the rumors," White says. "It's kind of like, 'Fort Detrick, they created anthrax, we knew that, smallpox …' It just clicked for me."

For decades, Frederick residents had speculated about the possible effects of the experiments at the base on the health of the surrounding community. But it took a grieving father with scientists, lawyers and money — White says he has spent more than $1 million so far — to drag questions about contamination and cancer out into the open.

White hired epidemiologists and toxicologists to monitor the air, soil and water around Detrick. He asked neighbors about their health histories and paid for lab tests to measure the toxins in their blood. He shared his findings with government officials.

The county and state health departments are now studying the cancer rate within a two-mile radius of the base. The Army has released details of Agent Orange testing. And local, state and federal officials are meeting regularly with the community to discuss their progress.


Fourteen Vietnam Vets Needed for Agent Orange Claims Research Project

Graduate student at Johns Hopkins University seeks Vietnam vets for a comparative study of the VA’s “Fast Track Agent Orange Claims Processing System”. The study involves interviews with two groups of seven Vietnam vets each who have filed a VA claim of service connection for any of the three following conditions: ischemic heart disease, hairy cell and other B-Cell leukemias and Parkinson’s disease – one group of seven who’ve filed using the on-line fast track system and one group of seven who has not used the fast track system. For more information, contact Kelly Campbell at or 301/575-7318 by October 25th.

NOTE: this study’s I.R.B. documentation has been filed and reviewed by VVA’s I.R.B. research officer and judged to be in compliance with all applicable human subjects research guidelines.

Keeping the lid on the Congressional pressure cooker
Many veterans have simply given up in the battle over Agent Orange. With so many no longer alive there are fewer voices to tell the stories. As I have been writing, this IS NOT an issue confined to Vietnam as we all know. Agent Orange was used in many countries and local communities, forests, and along the nation’s highways back here at home.

With Agent Orange legislation the focus of committee hearings in both the Senate and House, this is not the time to cut and run. This is the time to keep the lid on the pressure cooker and not let up. As I said in Friday’s column, the government and the chemical companies devised a game plan early-on to divide the enemy (the US veterans, civilian populations, the government contractors, and the USO volunteers), keep each isolated as much as possible, and wait out the inevitable time period when our numbers die off.

We will never know to what degree collusion between government agencies and the chemical companies has occurred because the way the system works, there has been no simple way to drag them all into court, present all the evidence, and let the jury decide. No, the cards are stacked against those with claims, with “tribunal-type systems”, which restrict access to justice. Decisions are being made by bureaucrats based on applications that have to be made without full access to all the facts. Since the government controls the records/files, and can hide behind the cloak of secrecy, it becomes a steep uphill climb for an individual to justify his/her claim in many instances. By keeping each group separated…“boats on the ground”, blue water navy, civilian contractors, and USO volunteers, each must navigate whatever legal channels can be opened, which is beyond the financial reach of most.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vet claims exposure to Agent Orange on Guam
by Nick Delgado

Guam - Veterans and their families who were on Guam during the Vietnam War and were exposed to Agent Orange have launched a petition drive, calling on the Obama Administration to launch a full investigation into the matter. One such veteran hopes the White House will listen and learn from his story.

"I'm Master Sergeant Leroy Foster," the man said, introducing himself. "I'm retired from the U.S. Air Force. I came over to Guam during the Vietnam War 412 with the 99th Air Force Base and I was assigned to at that time it was the 3960th Combat Support Group. I think it was the 819th Support Squadron converted to the 43rd Supply Squadron."

According to Foster, he arrived to Guam in September 1968. "I was assigned to the Fuel Division and I worked on fuel tank farms refueling aircrafts, B-52s. They had me spraying Agent Orange herbicides."

Foster is one of many veterans who say they were exposed to Agent Orange on Guam during the Vietnam War and have signed a petition calling on President Barack Obama to launch an investigation. Foster says it wasn't too long after working in the fuel tank farms on Guam his health began to deteriorate and just got worse through his military career and into retirement. "Sometime in 1978, not realizing that it was all connected to Agent Orange, I ended up having some severe health problems right up ‘til I retired from active duty. But they discovered I had spongeolosis. I was denied employment after I retired from active duty because I'm paralyzed from my waist down."

He added, "[I] had strokes and heart attacks not knowing what happened to me, and then in July 2009, the Agent Orange Commission released Agent Orange Update and I realized then what was happening to me and it was from those herbicides that I sprayed over there in Guam from and on Andersen AFB and off-base."

A total of 5,000 signatures are needed in order to get the White House's attention. Currently there are only 126 people who have signed the petition.

If you would like to read the petition you can read it on The deadline to get the required number of signatures is October 22. Meanwhile, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo supports the initiative, telling KUAM News that individuals who may have been exposed to these chemicals deserve to have this matter investigated fully.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Monsanto is secretly poisoning the population with Roundup
(NaturalNews) Dr. Andreas Carrasco remained in the locked car and watched with fear as the crowd beat the vehicle and shouted at him -- for two hours. His friends who didn't make it into the vehicle were not so lucky. One ended up paralyzed. Another unconscious. The angry crowd of about 100 were likely organized by a local rice grower who was furious at Carrasco for what he was trying to do that day. Carrasco's crime? Telling people that Roundup herbicide from Monsanto causes birth defects in animals, and probably humans.

Carrasco is a leading embryologist at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School and the Argentinean national research council. He had heard the horrific stories of peasant farmers working near the vast fields of Roundup Ready soybeans -- plants genetically engineered to withstand generous doses of Monsanto's poisonous weed killer. The short-term impact of getting sprayed was obvious: skin rashes, headaches, loss of appetite, and for one 11 year old Paraguayan boy named Silvino Talavera, who biked through a fog of herbicides in 2003, death. But Carrasco also heard about the rise of birth defects, cancer, and other disorders that now plagued the peasants who were sprayed by plane. He decided to conduct a study.

Exposing Roundup's 30 year cover-up of birth defects
Carrasco injected minute amounts of Roundup into chicken and frog embryos, and sure enough, the offspring exhibited the same type of birth deformities that the peasant communities were seeing in their newborns. A report by the provincial government of Chaco soon followed, confirming that those living near soy and rice fields sprayed with Roundup and other chemicals did in fact have higher rates of birth defects -- nearly a fourfold increase between 2000-2009. (Child cancer rates tripled during the same period.)

Regulatory agencies had given Roundup a green light years before, claiming that it was free of such problems. However after Carrasco's findings were published, European authorities quietly pushed their official re-assessment of Roundup, due in 2012, back to 2015. And the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, charged with responding to Carrasco's findings, issued a statement claiming that the Argentine scientist must be mistaken; earlier studies conducted by manufacturers of Roundup (including Monsanto) had already demonstrated that Roundup does not cause birth defects.

But in June 2011, a group of international scientists released a report detailing a massive cover-up that went back to the 1980s. The very industry studies cited by the German Consumer Protection office in fact showed just the opposite. Roundup did increase birth defects. Using scientific sleight of hand, Europe's regulators had ignored statistically significant increases in birth defects, and so did every other regulatory agency worldwide. Monsanto has relied on these misleading statements of safety by regulators ever since, using them to deny that Roundup causes birth defects.

Learn more:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dioxin-Like Chemical Messenger Makes Brain Tumors More Aggressive
ScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 2011) — A research alliance of Heidelberg University Hospital and the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ), jointly with colleagues of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, has discovered a new metabolic pathway which makes malignant brain tumors (gliomas) more aggressive and weakens patients' immune systems. Using drugs to inhibit this metabolic pathway is a new approach in cancer treatment.

The group's results have been published in the journal Nature.

Glioma is the most frequent and most malignant brain tumor in adults. In Germany, about 4,500 people are newly diagnosed with glioma every year. About 75 percent of such tumors are considered particularly aggressive with an average life expectancy of eight months to two years. The standard treatment is surgery to remove the tumor as completely as possible, followed by radiotherapy, usually in combination with chemotherapy. However, results are unsatisfactory, because these tumors are very resilient and soon start growing back. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new treatment approaches.

Tumors grow more aggressively and immune system is weakened

The Helmholtz Junior Research Group "Experimental Neuroimmunology" led by Professor Dr. Michael Platten of DKFZ and the Department of Neurooncology of Heidelberg University Hospital and the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) headed by Professor Dr. Wolfgang Wick have come across the kynurenin molecule in their studies of human cancer cells and in the mouse model. Kynurenin is formed when the amino acid tryptophan -- a protein component taken in with food -- is broken down in the body. "We have been able to detect increased levels of kynurenin in cancer cells of glioma patients with particularly aggressive tumors," Professor Michael Platten explained. The current research results from Heidelberg show that this link also appears to exist in other types of cancer such as cancers of the bladder, bowel or lungs.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

AOZ Posting & Distribution

Please check regularly for new postings.Items of interest are posted almost daily. Distribution is typically done twice each week unless a time sensitive item is posted. There are always exceptions to the rules.

26 Hawkins Vietnam Vets get $2.7 million for Agent Orange exposure
ROGERSVILLE (Tennessee)— Vietnam veterans nationwide who were exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange during the war are now being awarded disability back pay for heart disease. Among those receiving payments are 26 Hawkins County veterans who have been paid a total of more than $2.7 million in the past 11 months.

A lawsuit against the Veterans Administration was settled last year in favor of Vietnam veterans. The lawsuit, as of Nov. 1, 2010, established ischemic heart disease as a presumptive service connected condition based on exposure to herbicides used during the Vietnam War.

Information about Agent Orange & possible health-related problems and VA benefits
Latest Agent Orange Report: The Institute of Medicine has just released, “Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2010.” This is one in a series of reviews of the long-term health effects of herbicides on Vietnam Veterans. VA is assessing this report.
New Vietnam Veterans ship list: VA has released a list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships that operated in Vietnam to help Vietnam-era Veterans find out if they qualify for presumption of Agent Orange exposure.

Agent Orange is the name of a specific blend of herbicides used during the Vietnam era. The military sprayed millions of gallons on trees and vegetation that provided cover for enemy forces.

Some Vietnam-era Veterans were exposed to these herbicides. Learn how Veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides during military service, including outside Vietnam.

VA and many other government departments and agencies have conducted research studies on the possible health effects of Agent Orange exposure on U.S. Veterans.

VA has recognized certain cancers and other diseases related to Agent Orange exposure. Veterans, Veterans’ children and survivors may be eligible for compensation benefits for these diseases and health care benefits.

50 Years of Poisoning - Agent Orange on Okinawa

“Without Okinawa, we cannot carry on the Vietnam war.”

– Admiral Ulysses Sharp, Commander of U.S. Pacific Forces, December 1965.

During the 1960s and ‘70s, the United States military transformed Okinawa into a forward operating base for its war in Vietnam. From mainland American ports, it transported supplies to the island it dubbed its “Keystone of the Pacific” before transferring them into smaller ships for the passage to South East Asia. But there is one vital ingredient of its war machine that the Pentagon denies ever passed through Okinawa – the defoliant, Agent Orange.

Given the fact that the military transported everything else through the island – from tanks and toilet paper to guard dogs and hundreds of thousands of GI’s – such a claim is implausible. Yet as recently as 2004, the US government has asserted that its records “contain no information linking use or storage of Agent Orange or other herbicides in Okinawa.”

Over the past few years, though, the cracks in that denial have started to show. In 2007, it came to light that the Department of Veterans Affairs – the US government body responsible for caring for sick soldiers – awarded compensation to a marine who had developed prostate cancer as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange in the northern jungles of the island. Then in 2009, the same department admitted that “herbicide agents were stored and later disposed in Okinawa” during Operation Red Hat – the 1971 US military project to remove its stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons from Okinawa to Johnston Island.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review of Risk Assessment Work Plan for the Medical Countermeasures Test and Evaluation Facility at Fort Detrick: A Letter Report

Committee on Risk Assessment of the Medical Countermeasures Test and
Evaluation (MCMT&E) Facility at Fort Detrick, Maryland; National
Research Council

Monday, October 3, 2011

Veterans keep waiting for their just rewards
Cathryn Currie of St. Lucie West is sick of waiting.

She has spent the past two years going back and forth with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs over disability payments for her Vietnam veteran husband's service-related illnesses.

Sadly, her husband, Tech. Sgt. William C. Currie, couldn't wait anymore.

He died in January, suffering from dementia, prostate cancer and Parkinson's Disease that the VA agreed in 2010 were a result of his exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange during two tours in Vietnam.

Over the past two years, his widow has amassed a mountain of paperwork relating to the claim, and the VA keeps asking for the same information over and over, she said.

"Are they waiting for me to die, too?," Currie, 77, wonders. She calls the VA's Pension Maintenance Center in Philadelphia "a broken-down business."


Judge Lets Agent Orange Case Against Monsanto Proceed
Monsanto Co. has lost a bid to close part of a lawsuit alleging the company caused health injuries to residents living near a plant that made the Vietnam War-era U.S. military defoliant “Agent Orange.”

Monsanto, which operated a Nitro, West Virginia, chemical plant from 1934 to 2000, argued it was working as a government contractor and therefore protected from certain claims related to its waste disposal at that facility.

But U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in New York on Wednesday rejected the company’s request for partial summary judgment based on its “government contractor defense” and said the suit, filed in 2009 by West Virginia residents, could proceed.

Monsanto spokesman Thomas Helscher said the case related to “the former Monsanto company from over 40 years ago.”

“Although the motion has been denied at this time, we remain confident that we will prevail on the merits at the trial of this case,” Helscher said.

In his written ruling, Gardephe cited the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upholding a trial court’s finding in signature Agent Orange litigation.

“Here, there is no evidence that the U.S. government was ever aware of the alleged open pit burning practice, much less that it had evaluated the hazard posed by such a practice,” Gardephe said.

“Because defendants have not demonstrated that the complained-of activity — the open pit burning of dioxin waste at the Nitro plant — was conducted ‘pursuant to reasonably precise government specifications,’ their motion for summary judgment based on the government contractor defense must be denied,” the judge said.

Monsanto manufactured a herbicide — 2,4,5- trichlorophenoxyacacidic acid (“2,4,5-T”) — a compound used in “Agent Orange,” so-called in the Vietnam War because of the orange color of the barrels in which it was stored.

Plaintiffs Mary Spaulding and Sandy Spaulding lived in the Nitro area during the period of Monsanto’s activities and said they suffered injuries from being exposed to the harmful chemicals, which are also known as dioxins, due to negligence disposal practices by Monsanto.

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs allege Monsanto disposed of the dangerous dioxin waste by burning the materials in open pits. They said the dioxin also contaminated soils.

In 1984, seven chemical companies, including Dow Chemical and Monsanto, agreed to a $180 million settlement with U.S. veterans who claimed that agent orange caused health problems.

The case is Mary Spaulding and Sandy Spaulding v. Monsanto Company, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 09-09470.

Children of Agent Orange - How a group of US veterans in Vietnam are trying to atone for the mistakes of the past
Fifty years ago this month, in the early stages of the Vietnam War, the US military began spraying rural areas of the country with the herbicide, Agent Orange. The programme's goal was to defoliate forested land, depriving the enemy Viet Cong of cover and driving peasants to the cities, thus destroying the Viet Cong's support base and food supply.

Over the next 10 years more than 80 million litres were deployed across 7.4 million hectares of Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia. They were an effective defoliant, but there is strong evidence that the deadly dioxins contained in Agent Orange also had a catastrophic effect on the health of millions of Vietnamese – killing hundreds of thousands and causing dreadful diseases and birth defects in subsequent generations right up to this day.

Thousands of US servicemen - men who handled the herbicide and who operated in areas where it was deployed - were affected too, and they and their families eventually won compensation through the courts. But attempts to get similar US financial aid for the Vietnamese victims, or even much help with a clean up of polluted land, have been less successful.

With many areas of Vietnam still poisoned by the dioxin and the country's hard pressed health and welfare services struggling to support those suffering, this film by Risto Vuorinen tells the remarkable story of the children of Agent Orange and a group of US veterans in Vietnam who are trying to atone for the mistakes of the past.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gillibrand, Graham To Help 250,000 Vietnam Vets Harmed By Agent Orange, But Ignored By Feds Due To Technicality In The Law
Current Law Would Require VA to Provide Benefits for Service Members Exposed to Agent Orange On Dry Ground, But Ignores Vets In the Water

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced legislation to ensure that more than 250,000 Navy veterans from the Vietnam War exposed to the powerful toxin Agent Orange will be eligible to receive the disability and health care benefits they have earned for diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed approximately 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam to remove jungle foliage. This toxic chemical had devastating effects for millions serving in Vietnam. In 1991, Congress passed a law requiring the Veterans Administration (VA) to provide presumptive coverage to Vietnam veterans with illnesses that the Institute of Medicine has directly linked to Agent Orange exposure. However, in 2002 the VA determined that it would only cover Veterans who could prove that they had orders for “boots on the ground” during the Vietnam War. This exclusion affects as many as 250,000 sailors who may have still received significant Agent Orange exposure from receiving VA benefits.

“Because of technicality in the law, hundreds of thousands of American veterans are being denied the benefits they need and deserve,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Our government must fulfill its commitment to the service members who have fallen victim to Agent Orange-related disease and enact new legislation that will provide our vets with the disability compensation and healthcare benefits they have earned. Agent Orange is a very difficult chapter in our nation’s history. It is time that we correct the errors of the past.”

“This is a legacy issue that needs to be dealt with,” said Senator Graham. “There are Vietnam vets who are suffering from Agent-Orange related illnesses and we need to ensure they are getting the care they need. It’s now time to ensure the government takes care of their needs which were incurred during their defense of our nation.”


Vitenam Navy Vets Deserve Better Than Second-Class Treatment

New York’s junior senator is leading a bi-partisan push to make sure thousands of Naval vets exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War get the health benefits they are entitled to.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) teamed up with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R—N.C.) on legislation that would enable Naval veterans exposed to the toxin to get disability and health care benefits.

The Veterans Administration decided in 2002 it would only provide Agent Orange benefits to veterans who could prove they had orders for “boots on the ground,” a definition that excluded some 250,000 sailors who may have still received significant Agent Orange exposure.

“Because of technicality in the law, hundreds of thousands of American veterans are being denied the benefits they need and deserve,” Gillibrand said.

“Agent Orange is a very difficult chapter in our nation’s history. It is time that we correct the errors of the past," she said.

The U.S. military sprayed approximately 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam to remove jungle foliage.

Blue Water Navy Vets – veterans who were on duty in the waters around Vietnam, but did not have “boots on the ground” – were often exposed to Agent Orange on a daily basis, Gillibrand noted.

In 2005, the VA’s former director of Environmental Agents Service publicly acknowledged that there was no scientific basis for the exclusion of Blue Water Vietnam veterans, but the VA has continued to refuse these veterans the benefits.