Monday, June 3, 2013

‘Okinawa bacteria’ toxic legacy crosses continents, spans generations

U.S. veterans who served in Okinawa believe Agent Orange caused their children's ailments

Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City houses one of Vietnam’s busiest maternity clinics, but hidden in a quiet corner, far from the wards of proud new mothers, is a room stacked floor to ceiling with every parent’s nightmare. In dozens of glass jars lie the bodies of deformed babies preserved in formaldehyde — some have no heads, others have two, several are so scrambled that their faces jut from their stomachs and their arms are where their legs should be.
The doctor who delivered many of these children was Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong. Forty-five years ago she was a young intern at Tu Du Hospital when the city was known as Saigon, capital of war-torn South Vietnam.
“In 1966 or 1967 I started noticing an unprecedented increase in the number of birth defects at the hospital. There were too many deformed babies to count. They were born in areas sprayed with defoliants by the U.S. military,” she told The Japan Times. 

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