Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Is Agent Orange Hurting Generations of Americans?


Thirteen years ago, a local man died after living 25 years with severe birth defects. A couple of months ago, a little girl who'd have been his niece passed away after  two strokes. His mother, her grandmother blames Agent Orange, a pesticide used during the Vietnam War."He lived to be 25, but he was a baby his whole life," says Cindy Castillo from Altoona.  She spent much of her life caring for her son Jeffrey Franks. Jeffrey was born after his father Tom had served two tours in Vietnam. Cindy's other sons, didn't have birth defects.
Tom died at 66 of heart problem recognized by the Veterans Administration, as a possible consequence of Agent Orange exposure.  Cindy keeps his obituary with that of her son Jeffrey and  grandaughter Amanda, 
She remembers, "Amanda was dead at birth but as soon as I saw her, everything, the face, the facial features was everything like Jeffy's.  It was reliving that all over again."
And her five-year-old grandaughter, Meadow Lane, who died in September also had major birth defects.
"She was able to do more than Jeffy, " Cindy says, "although she was like a baby, she  was sitting up at age 5."  She had teeth, but  she needed a feeding tube .
Cindy sons have three healthy children after several miscarriages in their families, losses she also blames on Agent Orange. "There's no disorders in Tom's or my side of the family, and the only link we have is that," she says.
Spina bifida is the only birth defect recognized as possibly linked to Agent Orange in the descendants of male Vietnam Vets. About 15 are acknowledged as being more likely to occur in female vets.  Cindy wants to see those conditions also acknowledged in the descendants of male veterans.
READ MORE: http://www.wearecentralpa.com/story/is-agent-orange-hurting-generations-of-americans/d/story/yW99PhWapkSHdboA2z8Njw

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