Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vietnamese AO victims to get free check-ups in Korea


Eighty Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange will receive free medical check-ups in South Korea during their trip to the country starting June 4 under a program titled “Welcome Vietnamese AO Victims”.

The 5-day program, which marks Vietnam – South Korea Friendship Year 2012 and the 20th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties, is jointly organized by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO), the Korean Television MBC and the Korean Victims of Agent Orange Veterans Association (KAOVA).

Besides receiving free check-ups at Yonsei Hospital, the Vietnamese AO victims will take tours of famous relics and tourist attractions and attend a cultural exchange program with their Korean counterparts.

This humanitarian program shows the solidarity and friendship between Vietnam and South Korea and is a good opportunity to attract more support of the international community for AO victims in Vietnam, VUFO said.

KAOVA general secretary Kim Dae Jong said the same program will be organized every year as an annual event.

He also said the Agent Orange’s effects on humans in South Korea has prolonged to the third generation.

In Vietnam, about 4.8 million people were reportedly exposed to AO during the Vietnam War before 1975, resulting in around 400,000 people being killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.

Women had higher rates of miscarriage and stillbirths, as did livestock such as cattle, water buffalo, and pigs.

When in human bodies, AO will weaken their immune systems to make victims prone to various diseases, including cancer, Phong said.

VVA Seeks President’s Help to Study Dow’s Dioxin Corn Seed


May 31, 2012

No. 12-11
Contact: Mokie Porter
301-585-4000, Ext. 146

The following is the text of a letter sent earlier today by John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), to President Barack Obama.

“Your obvious concern and efforts on behalf of the health and well-being of America’s veterans and military families, and the overall health of our nation, are very much appreciated by Vietnam Veterans of America. This is why VVA seeks your immediate assistance in staying the deregulation of Dow Agro science’s much ballyhooed 2,4-D-resistant corn seed until an environmental impact study can be conducted and its subsequent results evaluated by scientists who are not affiliated with Dow Agro science.

“To date, no fewer than seven environmental statutes bear on the registration and deregulation of this crop, bred to withstand high levels of herbicides, including 2,4-D, technically known as a chlorinated phenoxy acid in ester form, which comprised what was commonly called Agent Orange, known for the orange stripe around the 55-gallon drums in which this insidious defoliant was stored and shipped during the Vietnam War.

Although there is a lot that science has learned about the effects of dioxin on the human organism, there is still a lot that science has yet to learn. We do know, for instance, the dioxin builds up in the soft fatty tissue, where it remains for years and can do considerable damage. Now, Dow and Monsanto wish to release genetically modified corn that has increased resistance to 2,4-D. What will this mean to Vietnam vets, who have already been exposed to this chemical through our military service? To our progeny? We believe there has been little serious epidemiological investigation by the VA or the CDC or the NIH into this very real issue. To add insult to potential injury, Dow’s naming of this weed-control method “Enlist” is, unintended or not, a slap at all Vietnam veterans.

“The USDA did perform an environmental assessment on this seed and concluded that its deregulation would have no “significant” impact on the environment. We disagree. We submitted formal comments regarding this issue in a letter on April 27, 2012, to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Given what we know, we have major concerns about the effects on biodiversity, human health, cumulative environmental impacts, and the security of the world’s food supply.

“The increased use of 2,4-D could significantly harm the economic interests of farmers who grow broadleaf crops such as tomatoes, potatoes, and grapes, which are damaged by 2,4-D. The potential for cross-pollination and destruction of other varieties of corn and other crops has not been seriously addressed in the environmental assessment, although it is a factor in whether or not this corn is a plant pest and can itself be considered a noxious weed because of its impacts on other plant species. Dow has also acknowledged that its ultimate goal for its new variety of corn is to eventually seize the market. Should this come to pass, USDA fails to address how increased use of Dow’s product could then impact human health.

“Democracy and free markets cannot exist without an informed citizenry. We have not been provided with enough information to make intelligent decisions regarding the protection of other plants, human health, and the security of the world’s food supply if Dow’s petition moves forward. USDA’s APHIS program has prepared an environmental assessment that raises more questions than it answers, and raises concerns of significant impacts to the future of our crops, our world food supply, and our natural environment. NEPA and the CEQ require an environmental impact statement be prepared under 40 C.F.R. § 1508. We are not calling for a complete ban of this new product at this time. We are simply not willing to be lied to or withheld information from again. Vietnam veterans were lied to about our exposure to chemicals which claimed many lives long after our troops left Southeast Asia.

“Mr. President, at the time when we honor veterans who have laid the ultimate sacrifice upon the altar of freedom, we ask that you honor the public trust and continue to regulate Dow’s product until the USDA performs a proper environmental impact statement on this major federal action and opens the process to appropriate public involvement.

“We thank you for all you have done for veterans and our families, and for active-duty troops and their families.”

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

USA: Passaic River Cleanup Moves Ahead

The Christie Administration has won another round in the state’s legal fight to hold those responsible for intentionally polluting the lower Passaic River with pesticides, including an extremely toxic form of dioxin, liable for cleanup, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced yesterday.

Superior Court Judge Sebastian P. Lombardi, presiding in Essex County, held M Energy Corporation liable under the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act for past and future costs of cleaning up the polluted sediments in the lower Passaic River. Removal of contaminated sediments from a section of the river adjacent to the former Diamond Alkali/Diamond Shamrock plant site in Newark began in March.

“The cleanup of the lower Passaic River is extremely important to the public health and safety of people who live and work along the river, and is a top environmental priority of the Christie Administration,” Commissioner Martin said. “We stand firm in our commitment to hold Diamond Shamrock and its successors responsible for the pollution they caused.”


Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association Announces Free Documents Library!

According to JumpStart Ink, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association (BWNVVA) wants veterans, caregivers and the media to know the organization has launched a documents library on its website. The website also offers a wide-variety of other free resources for Vietnam War Veterans who have served in the United States Navy, Coast Guard or Fleet Marines, and who are disabled as a result of the highly toxic substances found in Agent Orange.
JumpStart Ink, the publicity firm for the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, wants members of the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Fleet Marine services, who fought in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975, and who currently suffer disabilities from the effects of Agent Orange/ Dioxin, to know they have a valuable and free resource available to them. contains news reports, information and links on Agent Orange specific claims, various helpful reports and now, a free large Documents Library. The website’s Public Support Section features a mouse click method where users can send a letter, asking for support of veteran-related legislation, directly to Senators.

In addition, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association has been aggressively requesting public support for U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) by publishing educational information related to their proposed Senate Legislation, S-1629. This information has been a major part of the website’s advocacy and growth. Gillibrand and Graham introduced the legislation to ensure that more than 60,000 Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Vietnam War veterans can become eligible for health care and disability benefits. The website,, continuously updates visitors on the progress of Gillibrand and Graham’s legislative proposal (The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011) and the matching House Bill, HR-3612. has been a valuable resource in since it was started in 2006. With the recent discussions in congress about Agent Orange and benefits for non-boots on the ground service members, the website continues to improve on the resources and information it provides. The website is administered by the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, a non-profit corporation headquartered in Littleton, CO. The website accepts donations and sells merchandise as its sole means to continue its efforts. The Blue Water Navy Association assists all veterans of all WARS with their VA benefits and also sponsors veteran activities.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Health Care Now for Military Families Poisoned at Camp Lejeune

My name is Jerry Ensminger, and I served my country faithfully for 24 years in the United States Marine Corps. During that time, I trained thousands of recruits to become honored Marines. And, like too many who lived at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, my family suffered great tragedy due to contaminated water at the base.

That’s why I’m asking for your help, to call on the U.S. government to help the families still suffering from the effects of toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Those of us who drank the water have suffered from cancers, leukemias, miscarriages and birth defects from the cancer-causing chemicals in the water. Last month, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said providing healthcare to Camp Lejeuene veterans is "premature," and there are two bills in Congress that would provide health care ffor the families and veterans who desperately need it. But these measures are being held up by politics.

Our nation's leaders must act now to provide health care for the veterans and their families who were stationed at Camp Lejeune.

In 1983, my daughter Janey was diagnosed with childhood leukemia. Janey -- the only one of my children either conceived, born, or raised on the base -- was just six years old. For two and a half years, I watched Janey fight for her life. I watched her fight, suffer, and die. She passed away 27 years ago, when she was just 9 years old.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vietnam: The Secret Agent

The Human Arts Association P.O. Box 3238, NY, NY 10008
Vietnam: The Secret Agent delivers the authoritative account of the history and
troubling legacy of Agent Orange. — David Zierler, Ph.D., Office of the Historian,
U.S. Department of State. In honor of Memorial Day, we invite VVA members, family and friends to watch the newly digitized version of the film Vietnam: The Secret Agent over the internet, in collaboration with New Day Digital — free until June 15th.
Vietnam: The Secret Agent is an award-winning film which documents the Vietnam
Veterans' heroic struggle in the early 80's to attain just treatment and compensation
for illnesses caused by exposure to Agent Orange.
"... excellent ... a tough, angry look at the consequences of exposure to Agent
Orange... a chilling issue that is effectively addressed here." — The New York
Times The recently released DVD of this classic documentary is loaded with bonus features -- updated interviews of veterans, families of veterans, eyewitness photographers, and artists' responses to the legacy of Agent Orange. For more information, visit:
We hope you will take us up on our offer to watch this film for free in honor of
Memorial Day and your service to our country.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

US EPA Failing to Warn Public of Dioxin Exposure Disease Risk


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published a document titled, “Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments”. This document is being described as part of the agency’s dioxin reassessment. EPA struggled for over twenty years to create a final document addressing dioxin exposure disease risk. Now that such a document has been published, EPA is misinterpreting the document so as to please corporate interests.

In the above named document EPA sets forth a non-carcinogenic effects oral reference dose for dioxin. The oral reference dose is 0.7 picograms dioxin TEQ/kg bw/day. Per capita dioxin exposure at current levels of food supply contamination is estimated to be approximately 0.6 picograms dioxin TEQ /kg bw/day. EPA takes the position that the food supply is safe. This position can not be defended with logic. Those who consume animal fats receive dioxin exposure in excess of the oral reference dose. Exposure in excess of the oral reference dose means that significant disease risk is imposed. The food supply is not safe. EPA is responsible for protecting the environment and the public health. EPA is responsible for warning the American public concerning the presence of unsafe levels of dioxin in the animal fat portion of the food supply. Failure to provide this warning results in avoidable harm to public health. EPA’s behavior is unethical and should be corrected.

I have sought to discuss the unreasonableness of this position with the Acting Director of the Office of Research and Development, Lek Kadeli. Mr. Kadeli has not responded.

Vietnam airport world’s most dioxin contaminated place

The Bien Hoa military airport in the southern province of Dong Nai has the world’s highest Agent Orange/dioxin contamination level, a meeting heard Thursday.

The office of the national steering committee tasked with handling the consequences of toxic chemical used by the US during the Vietnam War (Office 33) reported at the meeting that the airport has more than ten hectares of heavily polluted soil.

Dioxin has entered local water species and food chains, it said.

Le Ke Son, chief of the office, said it was necessary to issue urgent warnings, especially about food sources near the airport, as it is very likely that the dioxin contamination would have spread to surrounding areas.

According to Office 33, which organized the meeting to seek solutions for the airport’s contamination, at least 94,000 square meters of tainted soil have been buried at the airport.


Loyola Lactation Consultant Reacts to Report on Toxins in Breast Milk

Source: Loyola University Health System

Newswise — When writer Florence Williams was nursing her second child, she had her breast milk analyzed for toxins. What she found surprised her. Trace amounts of pesticides, dioxin, a jet-fuel ingredient and high-to-average levels of flame retardants were present in her breast milk. She reported on these findings in New York Times Magazine, which has since set off a wave of controversy. A Loyola University Health System lactation consultant puts these findings in perspective.

“All human bodies contain toxins. This includes infants, regardless of what they are fed,” said Pam Allyn, RN, BSN, LCCE, IBCLC, lactation consultant. “The question is, which has greater risk and fewer advantages – breast milk or formula? Breast milk is still best for babies for its numerous protective benefits.”

Allyn reports that risks of formula feeding infants include an increased incidence of SIDS, hospitalization for lower-respiratory tract infections, childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, leukemia and asthma. Not breastfeeding also increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for mothers.

The World Health Organization states that the advantages of breastfeeding far outweigh the potential risks from environmental pollutants. The American Academy of Pediatricians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Public Health Association also continue to recommend breastfeeding infants for at least 12 months.

“While the author expresses concern for what she found in her breast milk, she also concedes that while breast milk is food, it also is medicine,” Allyn said. “Breast milk is known to contain nutrients that cannot be duplicated by any laboratory formula, and these nutrients make children more resistant to disease and infection. That is a key point that mothers should keep in mind when they are determining if they are going to breastfeed their baby.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rockville veteran shares experience after returning from visit to Vietnam

“Instead of raising weapons, we were raising glasses and saying ‘To our health’”

Michael Marceau of Rockville, a veteran critically wounded during the Vietnam War, spent two weeks in April in Vietnam as part of a peace and reconciliation tour. The tour focused on educating veterans about Agent Orange and unexploded ordnances.

Question: Why did you head to Vietnam for a peace and reconciliation tour?

Answer: The purpose of the trip ostensibly was to find out about Agent Orange and unexploded ordnance: What’s the situation there on the ground? What are some of the processes of trying to deal with the clean up of both of those problems? So we had meetings pretty regularly with some of the people and groups that are involve with that on a day to day basis on the ground in different areas of Vietnam. Some of the situations we ran across are pretty heartbreaking. Especially some of the Agent Orange victims. We sprayed millions of gallons in the 1960s and early 1970s … and there are still areas of the country where nothing has grown since then. We are beginning to see the third generation of victims over there.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect of the trip?

A: Seeing the Agent Orange victims.


Transcript Just What's Inside Those Breasts?

When writer Florence Williams was nursing her second child, she read a research study about toxins found in human breast milk. She decided to test her own breast milk and shipped a sample to a lab in Germany.

What came back surprised her.

Trace amounts of pesticides, dioxin and a jet fuel ingredient — as well as high to average levels of flame retardants — were all found in her breast milk. How could something like this happen?

"It turns out that our breasts are almost like sponges, the way they can soak up some of these chemicals, especially the ones that are fat-loving — the ones [that] tend to accumulate in fat tissue," Williams tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Unfortunately, the breast is also masterful at converting these molecules into food in the way of breast milk.

Learning that breasts soak up lots of chemicals made Williams wonder just what else was going on with breasts. A lot, as it turns out. In her new book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, Williams offers her take on — among other things — why breasts are getting bigger and developing earlier, why tumors seem to gravitate toward the breast, and how toxins from the environment may be affecting hormones and breast development.

She says many of those toxins, including the flame retardants found in her breast milk, may come from ordinary household items like couches and electronics, which often contain flame retardants. Some animal studies have shown that certain types of flame retardants interact with hormone levels.

Special Report:: Still Fighting

In 1962, the United States started spraying Vietnam with a powerful defoliant known as 'Agent Orange.'

Fighting in the Vietnam War ended in 1975, but even today, many veterans of that war are still battling health problems they believe were caused by the chemicals.

'Operation Ranch Hand' dropped 20 million gallons of chemical herbicide and defoliant on Vietnam. These members of Moultrie's VFW served in Vietnam in the mid-60's, and now nearly 40 years later, in their mid-sixties, say those chemicals still affect their lives.
"It's still with you. It's something that stays with you the rest of your life," Ed Irby, an Army Vietnam Veteran 1966-1967, said.

And they admit too often when they are together, one topic of conversation is their common health problems.

"I got bad kidneys. Bad heart," Ronald Carruthers said. Carruthers, an Army Vietnam Veteran in 1969-1970, said they told him Agent Orange had something to do with it.

"I have health problem," Wayland Gay, and Army Vietnam Veteran in 1967-1968 said. "I have diabetes, been diagnosed and treated for prostrate cancer."

Agent Orange 'tested in Okinawa' Documents indicate jungle use in 1962

Paper trail: Michelle Gatz holds the logbook of the SS Schuyler Otis Bland, which apparently transported defoliants to Okinawa in the early 1960s. MICHELLE GATZ

Special to The Japan Times

Recently uncovered documents show that the United States conducted top-secret tests of Agent Orange in Okinawa in 1962, according to a veterans services employee.

The experiments, believed to have taken place under the auspices of Project AGILE — a classified program to research unconventional warfare techniques — have also been confirmed by a former high-ranking American official.

The documents, which include a ship's logbook, army deployment orders and declassified government records, were tracked down by Michelle Gatz, a veterans service officer in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota.
While assisting a former soldier who claims he was poisoned by these defoliants at military ports in Okinawa in the early 1960s, Gatz pieced together the paper trail of how the chemicals were transported from the U.S. to the island aboard the merchant marine ship SS Schuyler Otis Bland.

"The ship's logbook shows it was carrying classified cargo that was offloaded under armed guard at White Beach (a U.S. Navy port on Okinawa's east coast) on 25 April, 1962," Gatz told The Japan Times.

The Bland was a civilian-owned ship regularly employed by the U.S. Navy to transport defoliants incognito and that was able to bypass customs inspections of military vessels entering foreign ports.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vietnam protests Dow Olympic sponsorship over Agent Orange crimes

His children are 36 and 33 years old, but they look just like three-year-old boys who still scream through the night, smash anything they find in the house, and bite their parents’ hands for comfort.

In 1968, Nguyen Van Tao, from the northern province of Thai Nguyen, fought to expel the American army from the A Luoi Valley in what is now the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. The US drenched the area with Agent Orange for ten years, 1961-1971 period.

Tao said he was exposed to Agent Orange and blamed his sons’ mental and physical health problems on dioxin, a highly toxic chemical in the herbicide, which US troops used to strip Vietnamese forces of ground cover and food.

But like up to 4.8 million Vietnamese victims who were exposed to the poison, Tao has no idea when its producers will pay them the damages they demand.

“I even don’t know who they [the producers] are,” Tao told Vietweek.

But he might soon as Dow Chemical Company, one of the two major manufacturers of Agent Orange, is all set to crank up its global profile through a 10-year US$100-million Olympic sponsorship. The US chemical giant will give away $100 million every four years to sponsor the Olympics through 2020.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dow rolls out PR campaign as USDA weighs herbicide-resistant corn seed
Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter
Greenwire: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The video shows corn being harvested against an orange sky as a pianist plays a somber tune.

"Think about the challenge that the world is facing, quite honestly," Dan Kittle, the vice president of research and development for Dow AgroSciences LLC, says in the next frame. "Over the next 40 years, we have to produce as much food as the entire planet has produced in the previous 10,000 years of mankind."

Images of farms follow, with farmers saying they need a better system to control threatening weeds.

It's all a buildup for the appearance of Dow's Enlist Weed Control System, which uses genetically modified corn seeds that are resistant to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), a widely used herbicide. The product, the narrator suggests, is critical to the U.S. food supply and the "Future of Farming," the title of Dow's six-minute YouTube video.


U.S. Veteran Exposes Pentagon's Denials of Agent Orange Use on Okinawa

Originally published in The Asia Pacific Journal Japan Focus

Thousands of barrels of Agent Orange were unloaded on Okinawa Island and stored at the port of Naha, and at the U.S. military's Kadena and Camp Schwab bases between 1965 and 1966, an American veteran who served in Okinawa claims.

In a Jacksonville Florida interview in early April with The Japan Times and Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting Co., a TV network based in Okinawa, former infantryman Larry Carlson, 67, also said that Okinawan stevedores were exposed to the highly toxic herbicide as they labored in the holds of ships, and that he witnessed it being sprayed at Kadena Air Base.

Carlson is one of only three American servicemen who have won benefits from the U.S. government over exposure to the toxic defoliant on Okinawa — and the first of them to step forward and reveal that massive amounts of it were kept on the island.

His claims, which are corroborated by five fellow soldiers and a 1966 U.S. government document, directly challenge the Pentagon's consistent denials that Agent Orange was ever stored on Okinawa.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Vietnam to use advanced technology to clear dioxin contamination

A Da Nang resident catches fish and picks lotus stems from a lake which is known to have high concentrations of dioxin from Agent Orange
Photo: Tuoi Tre

Experts from Vietnam and the US met at a seminar in Hanoi on May 8 to discuss the use of ‘In-Pile Thermal Desorption’ (IPTD) technology to clean up Agent Orange or Dioxin contamination from the Da Nang Airport area.

As part of a joint project between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Vietnam Ministry of Defence, the ‘In-Pile Thermal Desorption’ technology will clear the Da Nang Airport area of dioxin contamination, said one US expert.

IPTD is an advanced technology treatment method that has been used successfully in the US, EU countries and in Asia to clean up dangerous waste pollutants to make the environment safe for millions of people and future generations.


Monday, May 7, 2012

2,3,7,8 -Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD, "dioxin")

from Paul E. Travis, Johnston Island Veteran
Interesting CDC Publication on TCDD (bad stuff in AO) my Lawyer found reference from 1984. It proves that TCDD can travel on dirt or dust and expose. Can help all in AO claims with VA. I had probably seen before, but had forgot about it when I was filing my VA claims.
"Nature of Occupational Exposure to TCDD"
It is not possible to estimate accurately the number of U.S. workers currently at risk of exposure to TCDD. Occupational exposure to TCDD may occur during production of TCP; in decontamination of worksites from prior production or use of TCP, 2,4,5-T, or silvex; from waste materials (such as reclaimed oil) contaminated with TCDD; or from cleanup after fires in transformers containing polychlorinated aromatics.

Dust or soil particles contaminated with TCDD can remain airborne or accumulate on indoor or outdoor work surfaces and may present a potential exposure hazard. Exposure to TCDD as a vapor will normally be negligible because of its low vapor pressure. Contact with TCDD-contaminated liquids is possible through the handling of drums or tanks containing the liquid or through dispersion of the liquid. "

Current Intelligence Bulletins are reports issued by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, for the purpose of disseminating new scientific information about occupational hazards. A Current Intelligence Bulletin may draw attention to a hazard previously unrecognized or may report new data suggesting that a known hazard is either more or less dangerous than was previously thought.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

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Our latest video: What do you know about Agent Orange?

Welcome Home, Maryland: A Look at Agent Orange Today
Alan B. Oates gives an audience of veterans and veteran supporters in Silver Spring, Maryland, a look at where the legacy of Agent Orange stands today and what it may still bring to future generations that will be affected by it.

Mr. Oates is Chair of the VVA Agent Orange/Dioxin and Other Toxic Exposure Committee as well as Director of Research, Special Projects and Legislative Affairs for U.S. Military Veterans with Parkinson's (USMVP).

Kimberly-Clark mill leaves a toxic mess behind
EVERETT WASHINGTON-- For decades, the Kimberly-Clark plant provided countless jobs in Snohomish County and paper products to millions of people.

Now that it's closed, the plant is leaving behind another, not-so-positive legacy.

-- toxic substances thought to cause cancer in humans -- have been found in the waterway next to the plant at a level 15 times higher than what the state considers safe. The dioxins in sediment under the water are a result of the bleaching process in making paper.

On land, some petroleum contamination has been found at the 66-acre plant site and under what is now a parking lot south of the plant. Oil companies used parts of the current plant site and the parking lot for petroleum storage and distribution during much of the 20th century.
Click here for a look at what's on the site now, and what's next.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

GMO is getting even more dangerous
Did you know that Dow wants to start selling a corn variety bred to be resistant to a pesticide that contains an Agent Orange chemical? In case you’re too young to remember the Viet Nam War, Agent Orange was sprayed widely over that country to kill its rainforests, to make its soldiers easier to target. Besides inflicting unthinkable environmental damage, Agent Orange harmed many Vietnamese and Americans.
The chemical (2,4-D) has been implicated in cancer, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, reduced sperm counts, endocrine (hormone) disruption, and damage to nerves and the immune system.

Agent Orange Dump Site Is Oregon Desert’s Toxic Legacy
One of the most toxic dumps in Oregon remains in legal limbo.

A deal cut by the state with the company that owns the site has now been dropped. And the Department of Environmental Quality has no plans – or money – to clean it up.

About 60 miles north of Lakeview a barbed wire fence surrounds a patch of desert. Warning signs tell people to stay away.
Boyd Levet remembers watching in 1976 as the dump was created.

“It was probably just acres but it seemed like miles and miles of barrels just lined up in rows. It was a sight you would not expect to see in a place as beautiful as Oregon,” says Levet, who was a reporter back then for KOIN-TV.

25,513 barrels containing more than 1 million gallons of pesticide had been stacked next to Alkali Lake. They promptly started leaking.

Levet’s old news film shows the state of Oregon sent in bulldozers. They didn’t just bury the drums. They crushed them, allowing more toxins to pour out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dow's marketing message misses its mark

If recent reports are any indication of how green marketing initiatives may be having a hard time finding their mark, it seems Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE: DOW) has some lessons to learn in convincing consumers it is on a sustainable path.

The Midland, Mich.-based company was recently in the line of fire as its new herbicide and genetically modified corn project, Enlist, moves closer toward regulatory appeal.

If approved, the company will roll out the new corn seeds, alongside its 2,4-D herbicide next year. The new corn will be immune to the chemical compound, which contains 2,4-D and glyphosate. The combination will be able to kill the surrounding weeds that have become resistant to the glyphosate alone, without harming the corn itself.


Genetically modified crops' results raise concern
Washington -- Biotechnology's promise to feed the world did not anticipate "Trojan corn," "super weeds" and the disappearance of monarch butterflies.
But in the Midwest and South - blanketed by more than 170 million acres of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton - an experiment begun in 1996 with approval of the first commercial genetically modified organisms is producing questionable results.
Those results include vast increases in herbicide use that have created impervious weeds now infesting millions of acres of cropland, while decimating other plants, such as milkweeds that sustain the monarch butterflies. Food manufacturers are worried that a new corn made for ethanol could damage an array of packaged food on supermarket shelves.
Some farm groups have joined environmentalists in an attempt to slow down approvals of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, as a newly engineered corn, resistant to another potent herbicide, stands on the brink of approval.
Read more:

San Francisco Chronicle, Letters to the Editor, May 2

Modified crops are frightening

Nothing scared me more than the article about genetically modified crops ("Modified-crops battle picks up as doubts grow," April 30) manufactured by the same companies that make Roundup; 2,4-D; and dicamba to kill weeds ("potentially damaging all broadleaf plants in their path"), resulting in the development of hardier/drug resistant weeds; the possible contamination of organisms that are not genetically modified ("turn corn chips and cereals into mush"), vapor and rainwater runoffs; the killing of milkweeds where monarch butterflies lay their eggs; and possible long-term health and environmental effects.
The development of drug-resistant bacteria, viruses and other pathogens have been caused by the overuse of antibiotics. The use of modified crops and weed killers poses an even bigger threat to all living beings and Earth itself, all in the name of monetary gain.
Please vote in November to thwart the Obama administration's clearance of a new genetically modified corn that could flood the nation's cornfields with 2,4-D, a 1940s-era herbicide.

Charlotte Ferrey, Berkeley

We were warned

In the article on genetically modified crops, I'm concerned about a statement attributed to an Iowa State University scientist.
Ecologist John Pleasants reportedly said that the catastrophic decline in the monarch butterfly population was something "no one foresaw."
Not true. The potential for damage to the monarch population was predicted, as was the forced selection of Roundup-resistant weeds, when Monsanto first discussed its plans for Roundup.
The only effect not anticipated many years ago was how quickly this would occur.

Kenneth Koutz, Guerneville

Leggo my nachos

I don't want another complication added to my life every time I purchase nachos. Down with genetically engineered corn.

Hemant Agrawal, Santa Clara

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Corn Modified To Deter Agent Orange Nears USDA Approval

(RTTNews) - On the heels of Dow AgroSciences' development of genetically engineered corn, teams of farmers, scientists and consumer groups scheduled a news conference Thursday calling on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to end Dow's regulatory application for a multi-crop project called "Enlist." These groups believe the project will cause damage to the environment and human health. Dow's new strain of corn is said to be resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D, the New York Times reported, and was submitted for U.S. regulatory approval.

The herbicide 2,4-D is also one of the active ingredients in Agent Orange, the widely known militarized defoliant cocktail that was used in Vietnamese jungles during the Vietnam War. Causing deformation in people and widespread cancers, Agent Orange impacted all those who were exposed to it.

"Most experts agree that the harm from Agent Orange was caused primarily by its other ingredient, 2,4,5-T, which was taken off the market long ago. By contrast, 2,4-D, first approved in the late 1940s, is considered safe enough for use in many home lawn care products," according to the NY Times.

The critics of Dow's new Enlist corn said opponents have sent over 350,000 letters, emails and other public comments discouraging the new strain of corn.
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Study questions whether Agent Orange exposure from Westover planes was enough to make Air Force crews sick

This undated photo shows five members of the 74th Aeromedical Evacaution Squadron standing in front of one of the C-123 Providers at Westover Air Reserve Base in the early 1980s. All were medical technicians at the time. From left are: Debbie Asamoah, Maj. Gail Mas Harrington of Shrewsbury; Susan Linenkemper of Lancaster; Cindy Lapa; and Marlene Wilson.
An Air Force study determined Westover Air Reserve crews were unlikely to have fallen ill from being exposed to Agent Orange while flying planes formerly used in the Vietnam War.

At the same time, the study said there is not enough data to made a definite determination if mechanics, pilots, medical crews and others were exposed to a high enough level of the dangerous chemical in the 10 years they flew the C-123 Providers.

The Air Force report, released Monday, was sparked by congressional inquiries and lobbying from crew members who served at Westover in Chicopee and flew the planes from 1972 to 1982.

“At this time we conclude that the discernible information suggests the potential Agent Orange exposures¦...¦were unlikely to have exceeded acceptable regulatory or have predisposed persons¦...¦to experience future adverse outcomes,” the report said.

But it said the tests were too few, too limited and too late — most were not taken until 12 years or more after the planes were flown at Westover.

The first known air samples were taken in 1979, but they did not test for dioxin, the hazardous chemical in Agent Orange. Surface samples taken in 1994 on one former Westover plane came back saying the plane was “highly contaminated.” In 1996, samples taken on 17 planes tested positive for dioxin.