Monday, October 29, 2012

Monsanto named in 50 cancer lawsuits
WINFIELD – Fifty recently filed lawsuits allege Monsanto and related companies are responsible for causing cancer.
Each of the complaints, filed Aug. 3 in Putnam Circuit Court, say Monsanto and its successor companies caused cancer by exposing the plaintiffs to dioxins/furans contamination of the air and property in and around Nitro. The cases mention the “negligent and otherwise unlawful release of dioxin from defendants’ waste disposal practices on properties … located in and about Nitro, West Virginia.”
These individual cases, filed by Stuart Calwell and The Calwell Firm of Charleston, are not part of an ongoing class action involving thousands of current and former Nitro residents alleging Monsanto polluted the area with dioxin. The class action case specifies no specific damages, and the class-action plaintiffs seek medical monitoring.
The plaintiffs in the new cases, also represented by Calwell, are residents and former residents of Nitro or one or more of several surrounding communities of the now defunct chemical plant located near Nitro. They lived, worked or attended school in Nitro.
Monsanto owned and operated the plant from 1934 to 2000. From 1949 to 1970, the company produced an herbicide that was heavily contaminated with dibenzo dioxins and dibenzo furans. The complaints say the company disposed of the dioxin-contaminated waste in a way which caused dioxins to escape into the air.

Dioxin-contaminated Fish Still Being Hauled Out of the San Jacinto River -- and Eaten
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan is asking for a quick trial date in the San Jacinto River Waste Pits case because people are still fishing the San Jacinto River and may be eating dioxin-contaminated fish.
Ryan announced his action today, saying that somehow, people haven't gotten the word about the fishing (and consumption!) ban in effect and game wardens have confirmed that people are still pulling out those three-eyed fish right and left as they fish right by the waste pits.
And possibly passing those fish on to your dinner table.
"It has become increasingly evident that the public is not fully informed regarding the fishing and consumption ban in effect for the San Jacinto River. People are eating the restricted species of fish and also selling it to the wholesale market, where it could land on anyone's dinner table," Ryan said.
The county filed a civil suit against International Paper Company, Waste Management Inc., Waste Management of Texas, Inc. and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation in December 2011.
The lawsuit alleges that these companies' "actions, inactions and silence in connection with the Waste Pitts led to decades of dioxin exposure to the public and the food supply of Harris County." The case has been scheduled for April 15, 2013, but Ryan says there may be other trials scheduled for that date and wants to make sure his goes first.
A hearing on his expedited request is set for November 12 at 10 a.m. in the 295th District Court.
"While game wardens have increased their patrols on the river to try to stop subsistence fishermen and others from catching and consuming fish impacted by the dioxin, they do not have the manpower and funds to adequately police the area to ensure that the public is protected," Ryan said.

Da Nang denies dioxin rumours
DA NANG (VNS) — The central city's Information and Communications Department has denied reports in local newspapers that some local residents have been accidentally exposed to dioxin.
The stories created public concern after some newspapers said that all samples taken from 62 residents selected since 2006 tested positive for dioxin.
The residents were reported not to be on the recognised list of Agent Orange victims in the province, but were selected randomly from people living near Da Nang Airport.
The airport is a known hot-spot for dioxin because the Monsanto defoliant was stored there during the American War in Viet Nam.
Fears had risen that the real number of AO victims and dioxin affected people was much larger than the 5,000 registered.
Authorities have now admitted that some incorrect information had been released during the examination of residents for traces of dioxin.
However, they said dioxin contaminated areas at the airport had now been isolated and remedial work was being carried out.
That's why further checks are being made on the health of local people suspected of being infected with dioxin and to detoxify those affected.
The Ministry of National Defence and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a US$43 million project in August to clean up an estimated 67,000 cubic metres of contaminated soils and sediments at Da Nang Airport area by 2016. — VNS

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Could Prop. 37 Kill Monsanto's GM Seeds?

Big Ag is spending millions to keep labels off genetically modified foods in California—and with good reason.

Major donors include Monsanto ($7.1 million), DuPont ($4.9 million), Dow ($2 million) 

You'd be forgiven for not noticing—unless you live in California, where you've likely been bombarded by geotargeted web ads and TV spots—but this election could spur a revolution in the way our food is made. Proposition 37, a popular Golden State ballot initiative, would require the labeling of food containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients. The food and agriculture industries are spending millions to defeat it, and with good reason: As we've seen with auto emissions standards and workplace smoking bans, as California goes, so goes the nation.
 At least 70 percent of processed food in the United States contains GM ingredients. Eighty-eight percent of corn and 93 percent of soybeans grown domestically are genetically modified. Soda and sweets are almost guaranteed to contain GM ingredients, either in the form of corn syrup or beet sugar. Canola and cottonseed oils also commonly come from GM crops. But if those stats make you want to run and examine the labels on the boxes and cans in your pantry, you're out of luck. Unlike the European Union, the US government doesn't require food manufacturers to disclose their use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Californians appear ready to change that: An August poll found voters in the state favoring Prop. 37 by a margin of 3-to-1. And if they do approve the measure, food companies might well start disclosing GMOs nationwide, since it would be expensive and cumbersome to produce one set of labels for California, home to 12 percent of the nation's population, and another for the remaining 49 states. California voters already have a record of being leaders in food reform: When they passed a ban on tight cages for egg-laying hens in 2008, the egg industry initially fought it. But by 2011, it had begun working with animal welfare groups to take the California standards national.
Why the push to label GMOs? After all, these crops have been marketed as environmental panaceas, and some prominent greens have been convinced. By opposing GMOs, environmentalists have "starved people, hindered science, hurt the natural environment, and denied our own practitioners a crucial tool," Stewart Brand wrote in his 2009 book, Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto. So far, biotech giants like Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta have commercialized two main GM "traits," engineering crops with the bug-killing gene from the insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and crops that can withstand Monsanto's Roundup and other herbicides. Yet GM crops' herbicide resistance has caused a 7 percent net increase in pesticide use in the United States since 1996, according to a recent paper by Washington State University researcher Charles Benbrook.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sandie Wilson: "Agent Orange victims need to speak up."
A chemical designed to lay waste to the jungles of Southeast Asia 40-plus years ago is destroying the lives of veterans and their descendants today.
 The effects of Agent Orange is still being felt decades after the military stopped using it clear out places where the enemy could hide in Vietnam. Veterans have been fighting for years to get the government to recognize the damage the chemical has caused to the men and women who served and their children and grandchildren.
It is their stories that need to be told, according to leaders in the effort. To that end, the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 310 and the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America hosted a town hall meeting Saturday at the William B. Lutz American Legion Hall, Post 322 in Saline.

About 40 people came out to hear various speakers talk about the problem and the efforts to get Congress to enact legislation to pay for studies and assistance.
 The U.S. military used Agent Orange to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam and as many as 2 million veterans may have been exposed from 1961-70. Its main ingredient, dioxin, is the culprit in the problems caused by exposure to it.
According to a booklet available at the meeting, diseases and conditions recognized by the Veterans Administration as connected to Agent Orange exposure include chloracne, Hodgkin’s Disease, ischemic heart disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s Disease, peripheral neuropathy and spina bifida, among others.
Thirty-eight types of cancer are listed including cancers of the bronchus, larynx, lung, prostate, trachea and several sarcomas.
The impact on the veterans is acute, but it may be greater for their offspring and descendants. 


Fera presentation at Dioxin 2012
Fera scientist Martin Rose recently gave a presentation and chaired a session titled ‘persistant organic pollutants in food and feed’ at this year’s Dioxin 2012 Conference in Cairns, Australia.  The Symposium provides an interdisciplinary forum for communicating scientific advances and emerging issues of concern to the environment and human health.  These presentations demonstrate Fera’s expertise as a world leading laboratory in the area of dioxins analysis, in particular in developing work on new and emerging contaminants.
Martin’s presentation focussed on Fera’s work on the impact of river flooding on beef farms.  In addition to this, there were also presentations which highlighted Fera collaborations.  One was given by the international organising committee of a conference series on brominated flame retardants (BFRs) – this focussed on abbreviation standards.  Another by the Food Standards Agency covered dioxins in matched sheep liver and muscle, and the final involved the network of European National Reference Laboratories focussing on quality criteria for GCMSMS screening methods in the EURL-NRL network.

In Vietnam, a CEO tackles a 'terrible wrong'
A health plan's leader lost her husband, possibly to aftereffects of Agent Orange exposure. Now she seeks to help others in Vietnam.

A health plan's leader lost her husband, possibly to aftereffects of Agent Orange exposure. Now she seeks to help others in Vietnam.
They married at a time when opposition to the Vietnam War was hitting full stride in America -- and in their own lives. They talked of moving to Canada when Bob's draft card came, but he ultimately headed off to an air base near Saigon.
Decades later, after the legacy of the Vietnam War cut their love story bitterly short, Nancy Feldman looked to Southeast Asia as an unlikely salve. She established a small charity to help Vietnamese families still facing insidious effects of exposure to Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide that doctors said likely was linked to Bob's death from cancer at age 59.

meanwhile in California - Monsanto & Dupont Spend Big Money to Defeat Prop 37

Monsanto & Dupont Spend Big Money to Defeat Prop 37

By Glen Kohler
Friday October 19, 2012 - 04:12:00 PM
Are we going to allow the two largest contributors to the No on 37 campaign, Monsanto and Dupont -- who told us Agent Orange and DDT are safe -- convince us that we don't have a right to know what they're doing to our food? 
Ten days of incessant discredited lies have taken their effect, but in the end Californians will not be fooled by these tactics. 
The paramount question that every voter must ask themselves before voting is this: Whose side are you on? 
Do you trust your family's health to Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow Chemical? Or are you better served trusting the Consumers Union, Pesticide Action Network, and the American Public Health Association? 
Similarly, when it comes to the enormous increase in pesticide use that the genetic engineering of our food has led to, do you trust the health of our natural environment with the pesticide industry and the No on 37 campaign its bankrolling, or non-profit supporters of Prop 37 like the Sierra Club, the California League of Conservation Voters, and the Environmental Working Group? 
If voters discard the No on 37 deceptive and debunked television ads polluting our airwaves - bankrolled by the world's most powerful pesticide corporations ' and instead trust their instincts and consult the facts, we're confident Californians will demand the right to know what's in our food and vote yes on Proposition 37.

Friday, October 19, 2012

20 AO victims to join trans-Vietnam cycling tour
Twenty Agent Orange/Dioxin victims will be among 100 cyclists who will take part in a trans-Vietnam cycling tour to be take place next month, the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/ Dioxin (VAVA) has said.
The tour is part of the program titled “Accompanying AO victims for Vietnam-South Korea Friendship”, organized by VAVA and South Korea’s MBC Television.

The ride will start in the Nha Rong Quay in Ho Chi Minh City on November 1 and run through 19 cities and provinces of Vietnam before finishing in the capital city of Hanoi on November 26, with a total length of 1,751.6 km.

During their tour the cyclists, who include artists and sportsmen, will meet up with local associations for AO victims.

The cycling team is expected to arrive in central Da Nang City on November 15.

MBC Television’s reporters will follow the event and portray it in a documentary that features the efforts of AO victims to reintegrate into their communities.

The film will be broadcast live by MBC and a few Vietnamese television channels to raise more funds for Vietnamese AO victims, especially children.

As many as 4.8 million Vietnamese were directly exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War (1955-1975), and many of them are still suffering physical and mental agonies, according to VAVA.

Yesterday VAVA and the Public Health University reviewed their community-based functional rehabilitation project for AO victims in Thai Binh, Quang Ngai and Dong Nai provinces over the past three years.

As a result, about 7,000 AO victims have been examined and 675 of them have been operated on, while 1,300 others have been advised to use supporting devices.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Study finds that dad’s job can influence birth defects
Although emphasis is often placed on how pregnant women can increase their chances of having a healthy infant, a large population study shows that men also play a role in their unborn child’s health. The new NIEHS-funded study  found that men who worked in certain occupations, around the time of conception, were more likely to father offspring with various birth defects.
Epidemiologist Tania Desrosiers, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, led the research team. Although the study didn’t measure workplace exposures, the findings can be used to generate hypotheses about specific occupations and exposures for future research that incorporates exposure assessment.
The investigators looked for associations between paternal occupation and birth defects, using data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study,  which included 9,998 fathers of children with one or more birth defects, and 4,066 fathers of children without birth defects. Many previous studies on this topic have grouped occupations with varied exposures, but the new study individually examined more than 60 types of occupations.

Contamination at Military bases


Agent Orange connection to Parkinson’s disease brings closure to family


Agent Orange connection to Parkinson’s disease brings closure to family

WUFT News on October 11th, 2012 | Last updated: October 11, 2012 at 11:35 am
Editor’s note: this is part two of a series about Agent Orange’s connection to Parkinson’s disease. 
By Alex de Armas – WUFT News
The connection between Agent Orange and Parkinson’s disease has brought answers to many families, including Lieutenant Colonel Bill Holloway’s family.
Mark Holloway, Bill Holloway’s son, said he remembered the day his father died on Thanksgiving Day in 2006, and how the unanswered questions lingered.
“Dad suspected all along there was something wrong with him,” Mark Holloway said. “But he could never get the ( Department of Veteran Affairs) to admit or pin it down.”
In June, Mark Holloway received the answer he had been waiting nearly six years for: in the form of a letter.
In the letter, the department wrote that Bill Holloway died from exposure to Agent Orange, which was used to kill plants during the Vietnam War.
Mark Holloway’s wife read the letter as he sat in his living room with his two children.
“It brought a lot of closure to a lot of unanswered questions,” he said.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Frankenfoods, Reveal Yourselves!

 If passed, California’s Prop 37 will require companies to label foods made with GMOs.
BY Joseph Misulonas
“These are the same companies that told us DDT and Agent Orange were safe,” she says. “We have to point out to the California voters who we are up against and that they cannot be trusted.”
What is in your food? In California, a new ballot initiative may give consumers the power to demand a clear answer to that question.
Proposition 37, also known as the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, would require companies to label foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and bar them from describing these foods as “natural.” In order to place the initiative on the ballot, the California Right to Know campaign collected approximately a million signatures in a 10-week period.
Though the health effects of GMOs in humans have not been studied long-term, some scientists say that tests on animals show cause for concern. “Consumers have a fundamental right to know what is going into their food,” says California Right to Know spokesperson Stacy Malkan. “For too long corporations have left consumers out of the equation. We’re bringing them back into the discussion and giving them true choice.”
Though 50 countries have passed some sort of GMO labeling law, the United States has not, and the only U.S. state to have done so is Alaska, which requires labeling on fish and shellfish. Attempts at label laws have failed in 19 other states in the face of well-funded opposition campaigns. Supporters of the California initiative have reason to remain optimistic, though, as a recent poll shows 70 percent support.
Despite public approval, the road to passage will not be easy. The Big Food industry has already begun an aggressive campaign to oppose the initiative. Makers of household food products, such as Campbell Soup and General Mills, have raised more than $10 million to defeat Prop 37. Another $15 million has come from Big Agro companies such as Monsanto, which increases profits by patenting GMO seeds.
Malkan hopes California voters will see past the flashy ad campaign this fall and recognize the hidden agenda of these companies.
“These are the same companies that told us DDT and Agent Orange were safe,” she says. “We have to point out to the California voters who we are up against and that they cannot be trusted.”
The Prop 37 vote on November 6 will be a showdown between corporate money and grassroots organizing, and the success or failure of the initiative will have a strong impact on future labeling efforts, including one currently underway in Oregon.
“This is one of the most important issues we’re facing,” says Malkan. “This is an opportunity to restore power to the American consumer and to grassroots democracy.”

Victims of 'Agent Orange' (Dioxin poisoning)
Voice of the People

Victims of Agent Orange (AO) who are infected, Vietnam veterans, children of Vietnam veteran and their spouses, mothers and fathers who are victims by association. There is a call to band together and press forward to be heard. This is the only way we victims can win. We know how to help others, we have been there. Our bodies are proof, our minds are not in denial, our lives are not equal to those without AO. We are strong and build our own quality of life, the hard way. Only we know what it is like to struggle with AO. Each day we live is a gift.
Yes, we suffer, as do our loving family's who care about we who struggle with AO. Let us not forget we have friends who care. Our consolation is knowing they love us and care about us. Our worst pain is the burden upon our loved ones. It is the most difficult of all pain to endure.
We know the frustrations of not being able to do the things as we have in the past. We know the frustrations our family's have in having to take up the slack for us at one time we were able to do for our selves. I know only to well how this feels to me and how it must feel for my family.
For these reasons we victims of Agent Orange Dioxin poisoning, our Congress and Senate must understand our needs. There are Bills in legislation that can make our lives less frustrating. Those Bills are House Bill HR-3612 and Senate Bill S.1629. Please urge your members of Congress and Senate to pass the Bills.

John J. Bury, US Navy, retired, Vietnam War Veteran, Media, Pa.

Monday, October 8, 2012
Jon Mitchell
Foreign Policy In Focus / News Analysis
Published: Monday 8 October 2012
“Now, for the first time, a recently uncovered U.S. army report reveals that, during the Vietnam War, the United States stockpiled 25,000 barrels of Agent Orange on the Pacific island.”
Article image

Since 1945, the small Japanese island of Okinawa has been unwilling host to a massive U.S. military presence and a storehouse for a witches’ brew of dangerous munitions and chemicals, including nerve gas, mustard gas, and nuclear missiles. However, there is one weapon the Pentagon has always denied that it kept on Okinawa: Agent Orange.
Now, for the first time, a recently uncovered U.S. army report reveals that, during the Vietnam War, the United States stockpiled 25,000 barrels of Agent Orange on the Pacific island. The barrels, containing over 1.4 million gallons of the toxic defoliant, were brought to Okinawa from Vietnam before being taken to Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean, where the U.S. military incinerated its stocks of the compound in 1977.
Contradicting decades of denial by Washington, the report is the first direct admission by the U.S. military that it stored these poisons on Okinawa. A series of photographs was also uncovered, apparently showing the 25,000 barrels in storage on Okinawa’s Camp Kinser, near the prefectural capital of Naha.
The army report, published in 2003 but only recently discovered, is titled “An Ecological Assessment of Johnston Atoll.” Outlining the military’s efforts to clean up the tiny island that the United States used throughout the Cold War to store and dispose of its stockpiles of biochemical weapons, the report states directly, “In 1972, the U.S. Air Force brought about 25,000 55-gallon (208 liter) drums of the chemical Herbicide Orange (HO) to Johnston Island that originated from Vietnam and was stored on Okinawa.”

Louisville Denies Most Lejeune Claims
VA denies most compensation claims from toxic water wells. Marine veterans left to their own resources.
(LOUISVILLE, KY) - The latest statistics from the VA’s Louisville office on Camp Lejeune’s disability compensation claims show an 84% denial rate for medical conditions claimed by veterans for Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water wells.
According to a Congressional source, 16% of Camp Lejeune’s claims for medical conditions linked to the contaminated water were approved by the VA’s Louisville office as of September 2012. The Louisville office approved  517 medical conditions out of 3,233.
On January 11, 2011, the VA established an office in Louisville to process all Camp Lejeune associated with the contaminated water wells.  According to this directive, “As the ATSDR, which has been contracted by the Department of the Navy, continues to research the effects of exposure from this incident, VA must be prepared to evaluate claims based on such exposure in a consistent manner. By centralizing jurisdiction to the Louisville RO, VA enhances its ability to process these claims efficiently and consistently.”
We don’t know the reasons for the high rate of denials. By establishing an office dedicated to processing Camp Lejeune compensation claims, the VA’s Louisville personnel should be  more knowledgeable about Lejeune’s contaminated well water than the Regional Offices
The unanswered question is the VA looking for reasons to deny these claims and simply processing denials faster to avoid complaints about backlogs?
For example, lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking as well as exposure to organic solvents. At one time, cigarettes were included in rations and Marines were not discouraged to quit smoking. It follows that veterans who don’t deny smoking and have lung cancer would be at some high risk of denial. That may explain some of the denials; other claims without medical nexus opinions are candidates for denial. At some point, the VA will have to brief Congress on the efforts of the Louisville office, including the claims processed, approved and denied and the reasons for the denials.
The same Congressional source provided information for Lejeune dependents and civilian workers and their dependents that lived on the base during the 30 year period (1957-1987) when the base water was contaminated with volatile organic compounds, including benzene, vinyl chloride, tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE).
Civilian workers and dependents that lived with them at Camp Lejeune during the period 1957 to 1987 are not covered by any existing Federal law.  Civilian workers injured by the contaminated water are ‘out of luck.’ Workers and dependents can file Federal tort claims but the Navy is sitting on all Camp Lejeune tort claims, possibly awaiting the results of ATSDR scientific studies.  The Congressional source said that: “At this time, DOL [Department of Labor] cannot cover civilian [workers] dependents and children per the statute they operate under. I don’t know if any of that would change in the future if Congress decided to take it up.”
With regard to health insurance, this same source recommended that no dependents cancel health insurance since “VA hasn’t clarified the conditions or financial limitations for VA to be payer of last resort. Cancelling insurance is not something anyone should do as we don’t yet know if just having insurance, even if it was inadequate, would disqualify someone from getting VA to pay for care.”
In December 2010, Barbara Barrett, reporting for the McClatchy Newspapers, “VA takes steps to deal with mounting Lejeune water claims” wrote that, “VA would train a specialized workforce in Louisville to handle disability compensation claims related to the base’s contaminated water wells.
According to Barrett, the “move is more than bureaucratic; it could prove significant to Marine veterans across the country who are suffering from cancers and other diseases that they think are related to the poisonous chemicals that flowed through Lejeune’s water from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s.”
The facts are the Louisville office has been a significant development for Lejeune veterans and the VA.  But, not one in favor of Marine veterans.
The VA is reducing its backlog of claims, denying most of them.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Red Fridays - Burn Pits, the new Agent Orange

There have been a lot of comparisons to the Wars in Afghanistan and Viet Nam, though much of it has been in the form of arguments for ending the current war based on lessons learned from that previous conflict. However, there is a much more concrete and dire comparison between the two to which even the most ardent anti-war demonstrators seem blind. In Viet Nam, it was called  Agent Orange, and forty years later veterans exposed to this and other
chemicals are still fighting for treatment and answers. In Afghanistan, they are called Burn Pits. The primary difference is the first was a weapon deployed
against the environment and the second is ostensibly in defense of the environment.
In Afghanistan, as it was in Iraq and in the Gulf War, military bases have a serious problem with waste disposal. Particularly on very large bases with hospital complexes and on Forward Operating Bases in the more remote regions, what to do with the waste generated daily by several thousand people is a question for which there are no easy answers.
In the instance of medical waste, at least at the joint Camp Leatherneck/Camp Bastion, there are incinerators but they are used only for operating room waste, according to a letter written by an Army captain to Military Times in June of this year. The captain states that all other waste, “including bloody bandages, medical supply waste and needles, were thrown into a burn pit less than 100 yards from (her) quarters.”

Birnbaum talks science and strategy at Dioxin 2012

NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., was one of nearly a thousand delegates attending Dioxin 2012, where she made three invited oral presentations and was lead researcher on four poster presentations.
The meeting, held Aug. 26-31 in Cairns, Queensland, Australia, attracted scientists from throughout the world to the 32nd International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants — Dioxin 2012,  offering Birnbaum an international forum for raising awareness of NIEHS advances in the promotion of environmental public health.
The program covered a broad range of core topics on analytical and environmental chemistry, environmental and human toxicology, epidemiology, and exposure assessment, as well as regulation, risk assessment, and management. Focal points for the meeting were emerging contaminants, marine and ecotoxicology, and chemical regulation and policy.

Despite knowing Agent Orange, Parkinson’s link some veterans still have questions

Jon Anderson can’t run like he used to.
The 66-year-old Vietnam veteran has been running marathons since 1976 and ultra marathons since 2003.
But in 2008, Anderson stopped running, four years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“Probably running one mile would be very difficult for me now,” he said.
Anderson said for the past eight years, he saw the disease slowly outrun his body and affecting the way he walks.
“I kind of do more of a shuffle and that’s really difficult because you have to will your legs to move,” he said. “Just moving your legs normally, you don’t think about it you just move your legs from point A to point B . . . But for me, and people with Parkinson’s disease it’s an arduous process just to walk sometimes.”
Anderson said he questioned why he had Parkinson’s disease and decided to check with doctors for help.
“I didn’t find out anything that linked it at the time,” he said.
Anderson said he called the Department of Veteran Affairs and asked what kind of treatment he should undergo following his diagnosis.
The department told him his diagnosis was not considered a service-connected disability, Anderson said.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Veterans win right to proceed with suit

About 100,000 military veterans who were exposed to chemicals during decades of secret weapons experiments by the armed services and the CIA have won the right to proceed with a class-action suit that seeks to learn what substances they were given and to obtain any medical care they need.
The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco in 2009, contends the veterans' rights were violated by a system under which the government has denied 97 to 99 percent of their claims for disability and death benefits.
"The Department of Defense has taken the position that none of these people have had health effects, that there are no long-term health effects associated even with such things as mustard gas," said the veterans' lead attorney, Gordon Erspamer.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

AGENT ORANGE - The Corpus Christi Army Depot

The Corpus Christi Army Depot repaired hundreds of helicopters (shown) during the Vietnam War, and now some workers claim they were exposed to Agent Orange and other chemicals they say were present in the aircraft.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune-WARNING: Don’t Drink the Water

Even in a partisan era, compensating and treating veterans who have suffered disabilities while serving the nation receives bipartisan support.2 To receive medical benefits or disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), veterans have the burden of proving that a disability or medical condition is service-connected, and may do so by referring to their military records which may document injuries or illnesses incurred while in service, as well as any resulting disability.3 However, in most cases, the burden of proving service connection may be a challenge to overcome when the fact and extent of exposure to a particular hazard during service is uncertain and when any relationship between a medical condition appearing after service and an in-service event is inconclusive.

Study linking GM maize to cancer must be taken seriously by regulators

Trial suggesting a GM maize strain causes cancer has attracted a torrent of abuse, but it cannot be swept under the carpet
Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, professor of molecular biology at Caen university in France, knows how to inflame the GM industry and its friends. For seven years he and his team have questioned the safety standards applied to varieties of GM maize and tried to re-analyse industry-funded studies presented to governments.
The GM industry has traditionally reacted furiously and personally. Séralini has been widely insulted and smeared and last year, in some desperation, he sued Marc Fellous, president of the French Association of Plant Biotechnology, for defamation, and won (although he was only awarded a nominal €1 in damages).
But last week, Seralini brought the whole scientific and corporate establishment crashing down on his head. In a peer-reviewed US journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, he reported the results of a €3.2m study. Fed a diet of Monsanto's Roundup-tolerant GM maize NK603 for two years, or exposed to Roundup over the same period, rats developed higher levels of cancers and died earlier than controls. Séralini suggested that the results could be explained by the endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, and overexpression of the transgene in the GMO.

Meanwhile in California...

California Proposition 37, Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food (2012)
This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 of Article II of the California Constitution.
This initiative measure amends and adds sections to the Health and Safety Code

New provisions are printed in underline type
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act

Spraying Agent Orange on America And the news media is helping...

Agent Orange on Okinawa - The Smoking Gun: U.S. army report, photographs show 25,000 barrels on island in early ‘70s

Jon Mitchell
During the Vietnam War, 25,000 barrels of Agent Orange were stored on Okinawa, according to a recently uncovered U.S. army report.1 The barrels, containing over 1.4 million gallons (5.2 million liters) of the toxic defoliant, had been brought to Okinawa from Vietnam before being taken to Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean where the US military incinerated its stocks of Agent Orange in 1977.


Monday, October 1, 2012

A de-facto admission of Agent Orange guilt

by Dr. Wayne Dwernechuk is an environmental scientist in British Columbia, Canada. 
Many expatriates have written to Vietweek concurring that despite the problems they face in Vietnam, it is simply not acceptable that people direct their anger and slurs at all Vietnamese. This forum opens the floor for you, the expats, to hold forth on the changes you see in Vietnam: what disappoints, what pleases and what you would like to see happen.
Email your thoughts to We reserve the right to edit your submissions for reasons of space and clarity.

On September 24 the US Embassy in Hanoi issued a press release titled “VietnamUS Joint Advisory
Committee [JAC] Highlights Bilateral Cooperation on Agent Orange.”
This group has met annually since 2006 to provide scientific advice to the governments of Vietnam and the US on dioxin cleanup strategies for former US military bases in Vietnam, and research involving human health issues related to Agent Orange/Dioxin (AO/dioxin) exposure.
Two statements attributed in the press release to US Ambassador to Vietnam, David B. Shear, provide hints of a possible policy shift in the US’s view on the relationship between AO/dioxin and resulting health consequences for Vietnamese people exposed to this toxicant.

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Agent Orange always an unpopular weapon
— Despite its name, Agent Orange was not orange. It was colorless and odorless, a chemical weapon that had a real effect on military operations in Vietnam.
It also was unpopular.
Between 1962 and 1971, the Air Force dropped an estimated 19 million gallons of herbicides — of which about 11 million gallons was Agent Orange — on about 6 million acres of ground primarily in South Vietnam and in limited areas of Laos.
The Air Force notes that in some cases, an acre may have been sprayed up to three times.
The military purpose of defoliants was to kill the jungle and deprive the enemy of cover and concealment, and the operation to apply them was named "Ranch Hand."
The Air Force said the defoliants also were used on a limited basis to kill food crops.
Developed by several companies in the United States at the request of the government, the defoliants also were called the "Rainbow Herbicides" because they were stored in drums painted with different colored bands to denote the different mixtures.
Agent Orange was the most popular, a toxic mix of two chemicals — 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T — both useful in killing and discouraging future growth of broad-leaved plants.
The presence of cancer-causing dioxin in 2,4,5-T gave raise to concerns in later years, and Agent Orange eventually was removed from the federal government's list of approved herbicides in 1985.

Rats harmed by great-grandmothers' dioxin exposure, study finds
Pregnant rats exposed to an industrial pollutant passed on a variety of diseases to their unexposed great-grandkids, according to a study published Wednesday. Washington State University scientists found that third-generation offspring of pregnant rats exposed to dioxin had high rates of kidney and ovarian diseases as well as early onset of puberty. They also found changes in the great-grandsons' sperm. The great-grandkids – the first generation not directly exposed to dioxin – inherited their health conditions through cellular changes controlling how their genes were turned on and off, the researchers reported. The dioxin doses used in the study were low for lab rats, but are higher than most people’s exposures from the environment. The study raises questions that won’t be easy to answer about people’s exposure to dioxins from food and industrial sources.