Monday, September 24, 2012

'Faces of Agent Orange' include Indian River County veterans and their children VERO BEACH — During the 10 years of the Vietnam War, almost 20 million gallons of Agent Orange was sprayed on the foliage of the South Vietnam landscape. And now, veterans and their families are left to wonder what the effects of exposure to the chemical means for their children and grandchildren. At a town hall meeting Wednesday night, members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1038 joined with representatives from the Florida State Council and the National Vietnam Veterans of America to address the birth defects, diseases and learning disabilities affecting millions of children and grandchildren of veterans. "We really don't know how many veterans and their families are affected," said Martin Zickert, president of the Veterans Council of Indian River County. "There are a lot of cases of prostate cancer and heart disease that we believe could be related, but there's no way to confirm the numbers because of confidentiality issues." Agent Orange is a blend of tactical herbicides the U.S. military sprayed from 1962 to 1971 during Operation Ranch Hand in the Vietnam War to remove trees and dense tropical foliage that provided enemy cover. "If you were on the ground in Vietnam, you were exposed," said Zickert. "And it wasn't just used in Vietnam. It was used commonly throughout Southeast Asia and Korea." Nancy Switzer, president of the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, talked about her family's struggle with the effects of Agent Orange. Her husband served in Vietnam and was sprayed with dioxin, and her children have suffered with various genetic medical issues as a result. READ MORE:

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