Monday, January 28, 2013

'America's Safest City' has a toxic, dirty secret that local press ignores
(IRVINE, CA) - There has to be a term for people who write at length about a subject without addressing the core root of the matter. I know money is important in Southern California, but if you're dead from cancer it means little.
Case at hand - they call it 'America's Safest City', yet Irvine has a terribly contaminated closed Marine Corps base on its hands, that is leaching toxic contaminants into the soil and groundwater, and God knows what else. But local media in Orange County barely touches the subject, even when they are writing specifically about El Toro. What type of a process is this?
A new article in the Orange County Register Guard, about the old base and plans to transform it into a park and housing community, completely fails to address El Toro's deadly contamination that has claimed the health and lives of so many Marines, Marine family members, and former civilian employees of the base. The list potentially extends to housing communities near the base today and those residents. Lest we forget there is another closed Marine base, MCAS(H) Tustin, only a couple of miles away.

Updated links on the VA Public Health website

http://www.publiche index.asp

http://www.publiche exposures/ wars-operations/ cold-war. asp

Veterans who served during the Cold War Era may have been exposed to a range
of environmental and chemical hazards that carried potential health risks.

Ionizing Radiation
http://www.publiche exposures/ radiation/ military- exposure. asp>
Exposure from atmospheric and underground nuclear weapons tests
Herbicide Tests and Storage
http://www.publiche exposures/ agentorange/ tests-storage. asp>
Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam, tested or stored
Project 112/Project SHAD
http://www.publiche exposures/ shad/index. asp>
Military tests of chemical/biological warfare materials conducted in the
1960s to early 1970s
Edgewood/Aberdeen Experiments
http://www.publiche exposures/ edgewood- aberdeen/ index.asp>
Classified medical studies of low-dose chemical agents conducted from
Mustard Gas http://www.publiche exposures/ mustardgas/ index.asp>
Military tests of mustard agents in the 1940s
Camp Lejeune Water Supplies
http://www.publiche exposures/ camp-lejeune/ index.asp>
Tap water contaminated by industrial chemicals at Marine Corps Base Camp in
the 1950s to 1980s
Atsugi Waste Incinerator
http://www.publiche exposures/ sand-dust- particulates/ atsugi.asp>
Atsugi, Japan: Combustion waste disposal that burned industrial and medical
Noise http://www.publiche exposures/ noise/index. asp>
Harmful sounds from guns, equipment, and machinery that is often experienced
during military service
Occupational Hazards
http://www.publiche exposures/ categories/ occupational-
Exposures from working with chemicals, paints, and machinery during service
http://www.publiche diseases- conditions. asp
The Office of Public Health focuses on certain medical conditions that may
affect Veterans. Find out more about these diseases and conditions.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stanley Karnow, journalist and Vietnam historian, dies
Stanley Karnow, an author and journalist who wrote one of the seminal histories of the Vietnam War and won the Pulitzer Prize for his sweeping historical narrative of U.S. involvement in the Philippines, died Jan. 27 at his home in Potomac. He was 87.
He had congestive heart failure, said his son, Michael Karnow.
The New York-born Karnow launched his career as a foreign correspondent after setting sail for Europe on a coal freighter a week after graduating in 1947 from Harvard University. He subsequently became known for his distinguished coverage of the Vietnam War, first for Time magazine and later for news outlets that included the Saturday Evening Post, The Washington Post and NBC News.
Filing dispatches from the Far East for nearly 15 years — from the earliest days of American casualties in Vietnam — he became one of an elite handful of influential journalists who challenged the official stance in Washington that the United States was easily controlling the “struggle.”
His Emmy-winning 13-part PBS series “Vietnam: A Television History” was one of the most widely viewed public-television documentaries ever when it first aired in 1983; his companion book, “Vietnam: A History,” sold millions of copies and was praised for its insight and comprehensiveness.
In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines,” the book for which he received the 1990 Pulitzer Prize in history, earned praise as the best popular history of America’s relationship with the Philippines. Mr. Karnow synthesized three centuries of Filipino foreign relations into what critics described as a compelling read, with vivid portraits of the Spanish, American and Filipino leaders who shaped the country that would be the United States’ only colony. 

Putnam judge approves Monsanto settlement
A Putnam County Circuit Court judge approved a settlement reached in the massive Monsanto Co. Case seeking medical monitoring, authorities recently confirmed.
Plant workers and thousands of West Virginia residents filed the suit in 2004 against Monsanto, Pharmacia Corp., Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc., Akzo Chemicals Inc., Flexsys America Co., Flexsys America LP, Flexsys International LP and Flexsys International Co.
The workers and residents alleged herbicides Monsanto manufactured at its Nitro chemical plant between 1948 and 1969 created dioxin as a byproduct. That dioxin was released into the air when waste material was burned at the old Monsanto plant, the lawsuit alleged.
In February 2012, the company and the residents reached a potential $93 million settlement, which was preliminary approved. Terms of the settlement resolved all claims in pending litigation, as well as the class action suit.
At the time of the preliminary settlement, Presiding Circuit Judge Derek Swope also noted all personal injury cases filed by Charleston-based The Calwell Practice involving Monsanto have been settled.
Parties agreed to provide a 30-year medical monitoring program at a local hospital. Preliminary funds of $21 million will pay for medical testing, and if certain conditions are met, $63 million in additional funds will go for 30 years worth of medical screenings.
The settlement also granted $9 million as part of a program to offer free cleaning of affected homes. Authorities estimate there are 4,500 homes in the remediation area.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hi Everyone,
I wanted you to be among the first to see our new animated video about the increase in birth defects and diabilities in the children of Vietnam and Gulf War veterans. I think it makes a very powerful statement.
We are getting close to 10,000 signatures on Causes supporting the Center to diagnose and treat the children of Vietnam veterans.
If everyone who has signed could get 3 more people to sign, we would more than reach our goal of 25,000 signatures.
With best regards,
Betty Mekdeci
Executive Director
Birth Defect Research for Children
976 Lake Baldwin Lane, Suite 104
Orlando FL 32814

Deployment Health News for 23 January 2013 - Udall-Corker Burn Pit Registry Signed Into Law, 11 January 2013
“U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced that President Obama signed their bill to establish a registry of service members and veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes from open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan into law. ‘We celebrate the conclusion of our bipartisan effort to improve the health and well-being of our veterans,’ Udall said, ‘This is a victory for our men and women in uniform across the globe, and I am proud to say it was made possible by the strong advocacy of Master Sergeant Jessey and Maria Baca of New Mexico,’ Udall said. "Just as our veterans have answered the call of duty for our country, we have answered their call for better information and today brings us closer to insuring this special population receives the care and treatment they deserve."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Agency: N.C. Camp Lejeune water contaminated in 1953
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Tens of thousands more Marines and their relatives could be eligible for government health care for their illnesses now that a federal agency determined that the water at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune was contaminated four years earlier than previously thought.
In a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said computer modeling shows that drinking water in the residential Hadnot Point area was unsafe for human consumption as far back as 1953. President Barack Obama signed a law last year granting health care and screening to Marines and their dependents on the base between 1957 and 1987.
"This is yet another piece of the puzzle that's coming together and slowly exposing the extent of the contamination at Camp Lejeune — and the Marine Corps' culpability and negligence," said Mike Partain, a Marine's son who was born at the southeast North Carolina base and who says he is one of at least 82 men diagnosed with breast cancer. "This is four years overdue."
The Marines were slow to react after groundwater sampling first showed contamination on the base in the early 1980s. Some drinking water wells were closed in 1984 and 1985, after further testing confirmed contamination from leaking fuel tanks and an off-base dry cleaner.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Word on the street is Vietnam Veterans of America has declared the toxic legacy of combat exposure on future generations (aka Faces of Agent Orange) its number #1 legislative priority.

'71 Pentagon paper says Agent Orange was stored on Kadena Air Base

Special to The Japan Times

A single sentence buried among 7,000 pages of documents recently released by the Pentagon might well be the needle in the haystack that conclusively proves the U.S. military stored toxic herbicides, including Agent Orange, in Okinawa during the Vietnam War.

American veterans have long claimed that large volumes of these chemicals were present on Okinawa Island and hundreds of them are suffering serious illnesses they believe were triggered by their exposure. But the U.S. government has repeatedly denied the allegations by insisting it has no records related to the issue.

The latest discovery in a 1971 report titled "Historical, logistical, political and technical aspects of the herbicide/defoliant program" indicates the Pentagon's denials might not have been entirely correct.

The document, produced in September 1971 by U.S. Army Fort Detrick, Maryland, the center for the Pentagon's biochemical weapons research, summarized the military's usage of these chemicals during the Vietnam War and among the locations cited is a reference to "Herbicide stockpiles elsewhere in PACOM-U.S. (Pacific Command) government restricted materials Thailand and Okinawa (Kadena)."

The U.S. government already admits that it stored military herbicides in Thailand during the Vietnam War but it denies their presence in Okinawa. At the time, Kadena Air Base (near the city of Okinawa) served as the Pentagon's key supply hub through which weapons and ammunition were flown to the conflict in Southeast Asia.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

EPA to outline plans for removal of dioxin-laden mud from Passaic River
LYNDHURST — Federal environmental officials will explain plans to remove dioxin-laden mud from the Passaic River near the banks of Riverside County Park at a public meeting Thursday night at the town’s senior center.
The meeting will center on a recently released report that details the $20 million cleanup project — a complex operation that will involve dredging enough contaminated river mud to fill 1,500 large dump trucks, shipping it downriver in barges low enough to get under 17 small bridges and finally putting a barrier over the remaining mud strong enough to stand up to major storms.
“We want to make sure the public has an opportunity to review these plans and offer input,” said David Kluesner, a spokesman for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which is overseeing the project.
The Passaic River is one of the most polluted waterways in the nation and a federal Superfund site for 17 miles, from the Dundee Dam that spans Garfield and Clifton to Newark Bay.
For decades, the only large amount of dioxin — a highly toxic industrial chemical and a known carcinogen — in the river was next to the former Diamond Alkali plant in Newark where the infamous Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange was manufactured and dioxin was discharged.

VND2 billion raised for AO victims in Danang

Over VND2 billion ($48,000 USD) and 900 gift packages were raised for the Agent Orange/dioxin (AO) victims in Danang in a music programme on January 13. 
The programme, entitled “Mua xuan cho em” (Spring for children), was jointly organised by the Danang  Association for Agent Orange/dioxin Victim (DAVA), Danang Newspaper and Danang Television in the lead up to the upcoming Lunar New Year festival.
Twenty gift packages valued at VND500,000 each were also presented to the victims during the event.
Currently, the DAVA has more than 1,700 members, including 50 foreigners.
In 2012, the association collected nearly VND6 billion worth of cash, gifts and equipment for more than 5,000 victims in the city, including 200 children.

Workshop discusses dioxin-related congenital defects
How to deal with congenital defects in dioxin-contaminated areas was proposed at a workshop in Hanoi on January 11.
It was reported that approximately 80 million litres of defoliants containing Agent Orange/dioxin were sprayed over South Vietnam by the US military between 1961 and 1971.
After the war ended in 1975, the Vietnamese government has carried out a number of programmes to reduce environmental pollution in dioxin-contaminated areas.
One of the programmes is studying and overcoming the long-term effects of Agent Orange/dioxin on the environment and people’s health.
Doctors said the concentration of dioxin at Bien Hoa, Danang and Phu Cat airports remains high, posing a high risk to local people’s health.
Every year, between 22,000 and 30,000 babies suffer from birth defects, making up 1.5-2 percent of the country’s newborn total. The mortality rate among the deformed babies is very high.
Meanwhile, the number of deformed babies affected by Agent Orange/dioxin is 63 percent higher than those unexposed to the toxic chemicals.
Prenatal screening for pregnant women is a practical measure to early detect and reduce the rate of birth defects.
Among 17 dioxin-related illnesses detected in children of war veterans exposed to defoliants, musculoskeletal disorder takes the lead, accounting for 44.2 percent of the examined children, followed by Down syndrome, with 16 percent.
Scientists and experts proposed developing new prenatal screening technologies and increasing State investment and coordination between prenatal centres. The first such centres will be built in Danang and Bien Hoa cities – the two hot spots of dioxin contamination.
They also underlined the need to carry out communications and health education campaigns in hot spots, especially for those living around Bien Hoa and Danang airports.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - Group Pushes for Center to Study Children of Vietnam Vets

 On January 8, Birth Defect Research for Children sent out a wire release about the petition for a Center to diagnose and treat the children of Vietnam veterans. This was picked up by several online services and the blog below appeared in our local paper.

Despite our concerted efforts to gain support for this petition, we only have 3025 signatures so far.  Yet a pledge to protect dolphins has 49,121.  A pledge to boycott products made of kangaroo has 17,205; a pledge to create an artic home for polar bears has 68,718 and a petition to rehire someone at a radio station has 40,368.  I am not saying that these are not all great causes and I am certainly in support of wildlife protection, but why do children take a backseat to animals.

I would appreciate any thoughts you may have on how to get more signatures.

Betty Mekdeci
Executive Director
Birth Defect Research for Children
976 Lake Baldwin Lane, Suite 104
Orlando FL 32814

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Group Pushes for Center to Study Children of Vietnam Vets
Vietnam isn’t exactly the war most people are concerned with these days. But if you had a father or grandfather exposed to Agent Orange — the toxic defoliant used in that time and place — you may not be able to ignore the war or its effect on your health.
And Betty Mekdeci, an Orlando woman who founded the nonprofit Birth Defect Research for Children, doesn’t think you should be ignored, either.
Thirty years ago, after having a son born with unexplained medical problems, Mekdeci started the charity Birth Defect Research for Children out of her home’s utility room . With the help of her husband, she investigated possible causes — a mission that eventually led to ridding the market of a pregnancy drug linked to her son’s condition. In those seven years of research, she also found that precious little information was available to parents about what can cause birth defects and where to turn for help.
One of her biggest contributions has been the National Birth Defect Registry, which tracks possible associations between birth defects and disabilities and the exposure of the child’s parents to certain toxins.
In 1986, Mekdeci was invited by representatives of the court in the Agent Orange litigation to become involved with the issue of birth defects and disabilities in the children of Vietnam veterans.  Through her registry’s research, she says, “we found an impressive pattern of learning, attention, immune and endocrine problems in their children.”
This is consistent with other research on dioxin, the chemical contaminant of Agent Orange, Mekdeci says.
“We have talked with thousands of families over the years and are constantly frustrated that we don’t know where to send them for care. What they need is specialized diagnosis and treatment.”
To that end, her organization is sponsoring an online petition for a national center devoted to Vietnam veterans’ children. It would be staffed with experts on the effects of exposure to such chemicals as dioxin, as well as with doctors who know how to test and treat the serious conditions found in the soldiers’ children.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Veterans Have No Friends

Sacrifice, Honor, Integrity and “Earned Benefits” (not entitlements) mean nothing to the United States Government
{Just Try and Collect Those Earned Benefits Whether Volunteer or Conscript Veteran or Widow’s Benefits in Perpetuity}
“Veterans Die Trying to Collect Their Earned Benefits”

"This is more than just a Veterans Affairs issue. It is, in fact, a national security issue. Because if the country continues to treat their veterans poorly and, in some cases, abominably as has been the case with the veterans suffering from adverse health outcomes from Vietnam, from the Persian Gulf, we're not going to meet the recruitment and retention needs in this new era of needing highly educated, highly technically proficient people. They aren't going to stay in because why should they, when they know what's going to happen going out the other end?"  Dr. Ron Trewyn (member Ranch Hand Committee in congressional testimony in 2000)

Still Congress has done nothing to stop this despicable treatment, corrupt treatment, government collusion treatment from the top down, and as the scientists above suggested "abominable treatment"!
After decades of research; gathering data, failure analysis, conferring with some of our nations top scientists for their input; reviewing official government meeting transcripts both congressional and on-going study {not the government falsified and redacted reports published}; going to DC in person many times; providing evidence both in print and digital data to members of the house and senate; participating in many Disability Commission Meetings, both in DC and Satellite; presenting to the House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman with issues and recommendations; submitting many many data points on death and disability issues that have been denied for decades now; submitting basic recommendations on reducing the backlog of claims that would guarantee that no Veteran or Widow would receive anything that was not justified, certainly better than the fraud that is in our entitlements system at present in the Billions of dollars a year {that is correct B not M in the Billions just in one entitlement alone ( >4 billion a year) and you do not even need a social security number; catalyst for the all site-cancer bill, that went no where {Congress had a chance to prove their words were not false and failed miserably as expected}; questioning the subjective requirements as well as subjective processes used to determine anything related to our Veterans’ Issues with regard to what Congress says they demand and what is on-going within Veterans Affairs and the Institute of Medicine for presumptions … not just the Vietnam Era Herbicide Veteran: The conclusions must be………

Friday, January 4, 2013

Agent Orange History, Science, and the Politics of Uncertainty

A probing reassessment of a controversial legacy of the Vietnam War

Edwin A. Martini
Taking on what one former U.S. ambassador called “the last ghost of the Vietnam War,” this book examines the far-reaching impact of Agent Orange, the most infamous of the dioxin-contaminated herbicides used by American forces in Southeast Asia. Edwin A. Martini’s aim is not simply to reconstruct the history of the “chemical war” but to investigate the ongoing controversy over the short- and long-term effects of weaponized defoliants on the environment of Vietnam, on the civilian population, and on the troops who fought on both sides.
Beginning in the early 1960s, when Agent Orange was first deployed in Vietnam, Martini follows the story across geographical and disciplinary boundaries, looking for answers to a host of still unresolved questions. What did chemical manufacturers and American policymakers know about the effects of dioxin on human beings, and when did they know it? How much do scientists and doctors know even today? Should the use of Agent Orange be considered a form of chemical warfare? What can, and should, be done for U.S. veterans, Vietnamese victims, and others around the world who believe they have medical problems caused by Agent Orange?
Martini draws on military records, government reports, scientific research, visits to contaminated sites, and interviews to disentangle conflicting claims and evaluate often ambiguous evidence. He shows that the impact of Agent Orange has been global in its reach affecting individuals and communities in New Zealand, Australia, Korea, and Canada as well as Vietnam and the United States. Yet for all the answers it provides, this book also reveals how much uncertainty—scientific, medical, legal, and political—continues to surround the legacy of Agent Orange.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Planned Agent Orange cleanup met with optimism in Vietnam
HANOI, Vietnam — Nguyen Thuy Linh, 8, concentrated on the page in front of her. On it, her teacher had outlined the numbers 1 through 10 in short dashes, and Linh was painstakingly tracing over them with the blue marker clutched in her hand.  
As she completed each number she said it out loud in Vietnamese. "Bon," she announced as she finished the number 4 and starts on five. "Nam."
This is good progress for the young student at the Vietnamese Friendship Village in Hanoi, Vietnam. When she first arrived a short time ago, she spoke in noises and grunts instead of words. Now she's learned a few simple phrases and greetings.
"We're helping her to communicate very slowly," said her teacher, Nguyen Thi Oanh, speaking through an interpreter. "It's challenging because she cannot pay attention for long."
Officials at the Vietnam Friendship Village believe Linh's disabilities, and the disabilities of all the young people they serve, were caused by Agent Orange. During the Vietnam War, 20 million gallons of the herbicide were used by the U.S. military to defoliate acres upon of acres of jungle and destroy crops.