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. 


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