Monday, December 23, 2013

Best Wishes

The staff and volunteers of Agent Orange Zone wish you all a Happy Holiday season with family and friends.
Keep up the good work and we'll see you next year.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tell Congress to Strengthen Federal Research Funding

Tell Congress to Strengthen Federal Research Funding

Some good news for this busy time of year:  we have a budget deal that sets the broad parameters for spending for the next two years! However, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees must still come together to determine exactly how much funding each agency and program will receive in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 – and they don’t have much time. We see an opportunity for at least limited increases for programs that are critically important to the Parkinson’s community.

It is essential that we speak out now to strengthen funding for the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Defense Parkinson’s research program  all of which support efforts to deliver new treatments to people with Parkinson’s.

Work on these agency allocations will continue throughout the month of December and into the New Year, and our voice needs to be well represented among the many interests that will be reaching out to Congressional leaders.

Contact your Members of Congress today to tell them to strengthen these programs that are important to the Parkinson’s community! Click here to take action.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Toxins That Affected Your Great-Grandparents Could Be In Your Genes

The Toxins That Affected Your Great-Grandparents Could Be In Your Genes
Biologist Michael Skinner has enraged the chemical community and shocked his peers with his breakthrough research 
Michael Skinner’s biggest discovery began, as often happens in science stories like this one, with a brilliant failure. Back in 2005, when he was still a traditional developmental biologist and the accolades and attacks were still in the future, a distraught research fellow went to his office to apologize for taking an experiment one step too far. In his laboratories at Washington State University, she and Skinner had exposed pregnant rats to an endocrine disruptor—a chemical known to interfere with fetal development—in the hope of disturbing (and thereby gaining more insight into) the process by which an unborn fetus becomes either male or female. But the chemical they used, an agricultural fungicide called vinclozolin, had not affected sexual differentiation after all. The scientists did find lower sperm counts and decreased fertility when the male offspring reached adulthood, but that was no surprise. The study seemed like a bust.
By accident, though, Skinner’s colleague had bred the grandchildren of those exposed rats, creating a fourth generation, or the great-grandchildren of the original subjects. “It’s OK,” Skinner told her. “You might as well analyze them.” If nothing else, he thought, the exercise might take her mind off her mistake. So she went ahead and studied the rats’ testes under a microscope.


There Is No GMO Debate When the Masters of the Universe Leave Truth on the Cutting Room Floor

those who write the narrative and who win the military and marketing and financial wars . . . .
give us better living through chemistry
 “It’s a story with mythological resonance,” says Steven Aftergood, director of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists and the publisher of Secrecy News, an e-mail newsletter. “It reflects the view that knowledge is power and some kinds of knowledge have destructive power. The notion that the boundaries of knowledge are defined by what is published by Science and Nature is quaint,” he said, referring to the journals. “For better or worse, the way that knowledge is disseminated today is ever less dependent on the flagship journals. It’s done by global scientific collaboration, draft papers, online publication, informal distribution of preprints, and on and on.”   –NYT

Monday, December 16, 2013

What is dioxin?

Does dioxin cause cancer?

What other health problems are linked to dioxin exposure?

What other health problems are linked to dioxin exposure?

What other health problems are linked to dioxin exposure?

Dioxins and furans are some of the most toxic chemicals known to science. A draft report released for public comment in September 1994 by the US Environmental Protection Agency clearly describes dioxin as a serious public health threat. The public health impact of dioxin may rival the impact that DDT had on public health in the 1960's. According to the EPA report, not only does there appear to be no "safe" level of exposure to dioxin, but levels of dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals have been found in the general US population that are "at or near levels associated with adverse health effects."
Dioxin is a general term that describes a group of hundreds of chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment. The most toxic compound is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzene-p-dioxin or TCDD. The toxicity of other dioxins and chemicals like PCB's that act like dioxin are measured in relation to TCDD. Dioxin is formed as an unintentional by-product of many industrial processes involving chlorine such as waste inceineration, chemical and pesticide manufacturing and pulp and paper bleaching. Dioxin was the primary toxic component of Agent Orange, was found at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY and was the basis for evacuations at Times Beach, MO and Seveso, Italy.
Dioxin is formed by burning chlorine-based chemical compounds with hydrocarbons. The major source of dioxin in the environment comes from waste-burning incinerators of various sorts and also from backyard burn-barrels. Dioxin pollution is also affiliated with paper mills which use chlorine bleaching in their process and with the production of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastics and with the production of certain chlorinated chemicals (like many pesticides). 
If you're eating the typical North American diet, this is where you are getting your dioxin from:
Dioxin is formed by burning chlorine-based chemical compounds with hydrocarbons. The major source of dioxin in the environment comes from waste-burning incinerators of various sorts and also from backyard burn-barrels. Dioxin pollution is also affiliated with paper mills which use chlorine bleaching in their process and with the production of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastics and with the production of certain chlorinated chemicals (like many pesticides). 

If you're eating the typical North American diet, this is where you are getting your dioxin from:

Dioxin Exposure Chart
Chart from EPA Dioxin Reassessment Summary 4/94 - Vol. 1, p. 37
(Figure II-5. Background TEQ exposures for North America by pathway) 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

F.D.A. Restricts Antibiotics Use for Livestock

80% of antibiotics manufactured today are used in animals
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday put in place a major new policy to phase out the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in cows, pigs and chickens raised for meat, a practice that experts say has endangered human health by fueling the growing epidemic of antibiotic resistance.
This is the agency’s first serious attempt in decades to curb what experts have long regarded as the systematic overuse of antibiotics in healthy farm animals, with the drugs typically added directly into their feed and water. The waning effectiveness of antibiotics — wonder drugs of the 20th century — has become a looming threat to public health. At least two million Americans fall sick every year and about 23,000 die from antibiotic-resistant infections.
“This is the first significant step in dealing with this important public health concern in 20 years,” said David Kessler, a former F.D.A. commissioner who has been critical of the agency’s track record on antibiotics. “No one should underestimate how big a lift this has been in changing widespread and long entrenched industry practices.” 

Factory farms feed antibiotics to offset overcrowding and bad sanitation

The change, which is to take effect over the next three years, will effectively make it illegal for farmers and ranchers to use antibiotics to make animals grow bigger. The producers had found that feeding low doses of antibiotics to animals throughout their lives led them to grow plumper and larger. Scientists still debate why. Food producers will also have to get a prescription from a veterinarian to use the drugs to prevent disease in their animals.
Federal officials said the new policy would improve health in the United States by tightening the use of classes of antibiotics that save human lives, including penicillin, azithromycin and tetracycline. Food producers said they would abide by the new rules, but some public health advocates voiced concerns that loopholes could render the new policy toothless.
Health officials have warned since the 1970s that overuse of antibiotics in animals was leading to the development of infections resistant to treatment in humans. For years, modest efforts by federal officials to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals were thwarted by the powerful food industry and its substantial lobbying power in Congress. Pressure for federal action has mounted as the effectiveness of drugs important for human health has declined, and deaths from bugs resistant to antibiotics have soared.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012
Released: December 3, 2013
From 1962 to 1971, US military sprayed herbicides over Vietnam to strip the thick jungle canopy that could conceal opposition forces, to destroy crops that those forces might depend on, and to clear tall grasses and bushes from the perimeters of US base camps and outlying fire-support bases. Because of continuing uncertainty about the long term health effects of the sprayed herbicides on Vietnam veterans, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The legislation directed the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to request the IOM to perform a comprehensive evaluation of scientific and medical information regarding the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam. Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 is the ninth congressionally mandated biennial update.
The committee reviewed all relevant literature published between October 2010 and September 2011 and integrated the new findings with the previously assembled epidemiological data on each health outcome assessed with respect to exposure to the chemicals constituting the herbicides used in Vietnam, including the dioxin contaminant 2,3,7,8-TCDD. The single new conclusion was that there is limited or suggestive evidence of a scientifically meaningful association of stroke with exposure to the chemicals in question.

Agent Orange Exposure Linked to Stroke
Stroke has been added to the growing list of possible health effects Vietnam veterans may face long term after exposure to Agent Orange.
In response to new evidence showing a statistically significant overall increase in stroke associated with exposure to chemical in Agent Orange, a committee examining these health effects has moved stroke to the "limited and suggestive" evidence category.
However, the published data do not permit distinguishing hemorrhagic from ischemic stroke, said the authors of the updated report, Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 : Committee to Review the Health Effects in Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides (Ninth Biennial Update).
The evidence already suggested an association between exposure to the chemicals and hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, as well as Parkinson's disease and some cancers.
Elsewhere in the 900-page report, the committee concluded that on the basis of newly reviewed evidence and in previous reports, there is also "limited or suggestive" evidence of an association between exposure to the chemicals of interest and Parkinson's disease.
The committee concluded that on the basis of new evidence and previous reports, evidence is inadequate or insufficient to determine whether there is an association between exposure to chemicals of interest and Alzheimer's disease.

Update: Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water Report

On December 4, 2013 the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) "Evaluation of exposure to contaminated drinking water and specific birth defects and childhood cancers at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina: a case--control study" was published ( You will receive a hard copy of the ATSDR fact sheet summarizing the results of this study in the mail in the coming weeks.
ATSDR's study evaluated whether or not maternal exposures to drinking water containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at Camp Lejeune increased the risk of certain health conditions. The study used ATSDR's previous water modeling efforts to estimate past exposures ( VOCs were commonly used as solvents for cleaning machinery and weapons, for dry cleaning, and some are found in fuels.
This study is the first of several health initiatives that ATSDR is expected to complete in the next several years. For more information about these studies, visit or call  Error! Filename not specified.(800) 232-4636 .
Since 1991, the Marine Corps has supported the health initiatives conducted by various scientific agencies. We are also working diligently to identify and notify individuals who, in the past, may have been exposed to the chemicals in drinking water. For more information about these efforts or to update your contact information, please see:, call  Error! Filename not specified.(877) 261-9782  or e-mail
For the complete report and for information about studies being conducted by ATSDR, visit or call  Error! Filename not specified.(800) 232-4636 .
To contact Veterans Affairs to learn more about health care benefits, please visit or call  Error! Filename not specified.(877) 222-8387  (Healthcare) or  Error! Filename not specified.(800) 827-1000 

The Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water Program

US pays for cleanup of dioxin-tainted soil
A report was issued Wednesday at the eighth annual meeting of the US-Viet Nam Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) on Agent Orange/Dioxin.
The meeting has been held annually since 2006 to provide scientific advice to the governments of Viet Nam and the US on dioxin contamination cleanup and research on health issues associated with dioxin.
"The event serves as a reminder of the level of co-operation and trust that exists between our two countries, and comes only months after President Truong Tan Sang and President Obama signed the US-Viet Nam Comprehensive Partnership at the White House," said the Ambassador to Viet Nam, David B. Shear, at the opening ceremony.

"Both of our Presidents agreed that extensive co-operation in addressing war legacy issues has allowed us to develop a relationship that looks to the future. Today, we come together again to advance this forward-looking relationship and work toward our shared goal of overcoming the legacy of Agent Orange," he said.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The VVA North Dakota State Council has bumper stickers of their Agent Orange Education Campaign billboards available.
Go to the council website at: Stickers are 2 bucks each, or 100 for $180.
Proceeds support continued public education campaigns about Agent Orange and the role of Canadian Vietnam Veterans.
North Dakota shares a 500 mile border with Canada and many Canadian citizens crossed the border to join the US Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.

Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 Public Release

The findings of the Committee for the 9th Biennial Update in the Veterans and Agent Orange series will be released at 11:00 am on Wednesday, December 4th.  
A briefing session for representatives of the veterans’ service organizations on will be conducted December 4th at 2:30 pm, in Room 206 of the Keck Building, at 500 Fifth St., NW, Washington, DC.  
You are welcome to share this notice with other representatives of Vietnam veterans’ issues. Because attendance at these briefings for the last several updates has been sparse, however, we request that those planning to attend inform Jennifer Cohen at or 202-334-1444
If there is no demand, we will cancel the briefing.
Following the public release, the National Academies Press will post the entire prepublication draft of Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 at on its website (; search "Agent Orange" in upper lefthand corner) as a pdf that can be downloaded free of charge. 
(Please note that editing of this document has not been completed, but its conclusions and recommendations are final.)  

Mary Burr Paxton, PhD, DABT
Senior Program Officer
Board on the Health of Select Populations
Institute of Medicine
Keck 871, 500 Fifth St., NW
Washington, DC  20001

Monday, December 2, 2013

Answers Sought on Maine Veterans' Agent Orange Exposure 
New hope may be on the way for Maine veterans who have unsuccessfully tried for years to convince the U.S. veterans administration that their health problems are due to their exposure to Agent Orange - an herbicide they encountered while training at a New Brunswick military base. Sen. Susan Collins recently met with officials in Canada, where the government has awarded cash benefits to Canadian soldiers who were also exposed to the chemical defoliant.

The stories about diabetes, cancers and respiratory illnesses have circulated for years among Maine veterans who trained at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick. For almost as long, Sen. Susan Collins says Maine veterans were pretty sure why they were getting sick.
"Those veterans believe that their illnesses may be linked to the use of the Agent Orange way back in the late 1960s," Collins says.
The U.S. government has refused to acknowledge any linkage between the soldiers' illnesses and their exposure to the chemicals. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded this year there was no linkage between veterans' illnesses and their experience at Gagetown. 


Is Monsanto’s Glyphosate RoundUp the New Agent Orange?
by Christina Sarich
Monsanto has been in the poison game for a long time. All the propaganda in the world can’t erase the fact that they first poisoned thousand of Vietnamese, Thai, and Koreans as well as countless American soldiers with Agent Orange, who only now receive compensation for the effects of Monsanto’s bio-warfare decades later. The proof is finally so pervasive that the company can no longer just sweep away evidence of their evil-doing.

While it was our own government who did the spraying, they colluded with Monsanto, one of the nine government contractors who made the toxic combination of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, which came to be called Agent Orange. Many people don’t know this, but after decades of research proving that Agent Orange is lethal and tens of millions of dollars paid to victims in settlements – it is still being used in many Asian countries.
The company has switched to using it’s best-selling herbicide RoundUp predominately now, yet another innocent product constructed of poisons even the most stalwart farmer would wince at should they really understand its fallout. RoundUp is made of glyphosate, the primary active ingredient and Agent Orange of our time. Even the RoundUp label warns not to get the stuff in your eyes or on your skin, and to wear gloves when handling it – so what makes it o.k. to eat?
RoundUp “ kills weeds because glyphosate (a salt compound) inhibits enzyme pathways, preventing plants from synthesizing amino acids necessary for growth. It basically stops plants from eating, so they die.” It is probable that Monsanto and other companies who use this substance under other names besides RoundUp are now dumping more than 300 million pounds of this toxic poison into our soil annually. It’s use has at least tripled since 1990.
Read: Stopping Resurgence of Agent Orange in Food Supply
This calls into question some of the arguments posted by anti-labeling and pro-GMO propagandists who say that “the science isn’t conclusive that GMO herbicides are dangerous.” Meanwhile, hundreds of scientists, many being former pro-GMO, are speaking out about the ineffectiveness and potential dangers surrounding GMOs. The idea is similar to how the tobacco industry lied to citizens for decades about the ill-effects of cigarettes and how they cause lung cancer, among other problems.
This is why countless people continue to rail against Monsanto. It’s why Monsanto and their nefarious crew of poison mongers (the Grocery Manufacturer’s of America) spend millions of dollars illegally to try to defeat GMO labeling bills.
The truth is that RoundUp, in the form of glyphosate, is just another product of the military industrial complex, and an evolution of Agent Orange. If we don’t wake up and fight, en masse, then Monsanto and its government connections will completely destroy our food supply and our planet.