Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How agent orange and depleted uranium affect the body

Since the use of AGENT Orange in both Vietnam and to some extent in Korea, all will acknowledge that dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin-TCDD) has become one of the most controversial issues our military has ever faced. IARC, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified dioxin as a known human carcinogen in 1997. The September 2000 draft of the U.S. EPA’s Health Assessment document on dioxin also classifies dioxin as a known human carcinogen. In January 2001, the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program came around and finally classified dioxin as a known human carcinogen. I find it remarkable that with all the evidence dating back to the 1940′s, that the US bureaucracy didn’t come to the conclusion that dioxin was a carcinogen until the early 2000′s.
Effects on the immune system appear to be among the most sensitive endpoints studied. Animal studies show that dioxin decreased immune response and increased susceptibility to infectious disease. In human studies, dioxin was associated with immune system depression and alterations in immune status leading to increased infections. Dioxin can also disrupt the normal function of hormones—chemical messengers that the body uses for growth and regulation.
Certain human cells, such as liver cells, contain a large molecule called an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which can be thought of as shaped like a pocket. Compounds like dioxin that are foreign to the body, fit snugly into this pocket. Once in the pocket, dioxin activates the AhR and the whole unit can travel to the cell nucleus which contains our genes. Once in the nucleus, the unit may either activate or suppress specific genes that control the normal cell cycle. For example, certain cells may begin to grow preferentially, or other cells may not die appropriately, as normal cells do. It is important to note that gene suppression or activation is not the same as DNA damage.

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