Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

Fort Ord Clean-Up

For the past few years the Department of Defense has been closing US military bases because they say they are downsizing. In reality the real reason is because the bases are so contaminated with all the WMDs and toxic waste that they generated and then dumped them into land fills. The well water that we were allowed to drink and soil is toxic.
As the Department of Defense pulls up their tent stakes and bugs out they leave the mess for the state or host country to clean up. Fort Ord California is a good example of this. Because of all the target practice that went on at the gun ranges the base is highly contaminated with lead residue.
Recent documentation surfaced showing that Agent Orange had been warehoused there and that traces of 2-4-5 T dioxin had been found in soil samples that were taken there.
If you were stationed at Fort Ord and have had health issues such as skin rashes or or certain types of cancer, it could be directly associated to your exposure while stationed there.
The attachment below may have the information you need to prove your claim for benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Best Wishes

The staff and volunteers of Agent Orange Zone wish you all a Happy Holiday season with family and friends.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Veterans Health Administration Update: Military Exposures

Veterans and their families who lived at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987 may be eligible for VA health benefits. A Dec. 16, 2014 law changed the eligibility date from Jan. 1, 1957 to Aug. 1, 1953.
Veterans: Enroll online or call 1-877-222-8387 for help.
Family members: You may be eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses for 15 conditions. Apply online or call 1-866-372-1144 for help.
Visit www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune to learn more.

Friday, December 19, 2014

CFB Gagetown Agent Orange victims urged to seek compensation

NDP veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer is encouraging all military personnel and civilians affected by defoliant spraying at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown to file a claim with Veterans Affairs Canada in light of veteran Basil McAllister's recent court victory.

Last week, the federal Veterans Review and Appeal Board awarded McAllister disability compensation in relation to his exposure to Agent Orange and other chemical defoliants  used at the base in Oromocto, N.B., in the 1960s. The decision came after a Federal Court of Canada order in October that the board rehear McAllister's case.
McAllister, 83, of Burton, says he has prostate cancer, which has spread to his bones. He has also had skin cancer and kidney failure and has Type 2 diabetes.
“The biggest fight that I’ve had is with my own government," McAllister said Tuesday. 
“I’m very disappointed that we as veterans who have volunteered to give our life for our country have to do this to get proper compensation.”

NDP Veterans Affairs critic Peter Stoffer says there is no excuse for the federal government to deny soldiers and their families affected by chemical defoliants used at CFB Gagetown their rightful compensation. (The Canadian Press)
​"Basil fought for almost 10 years to obtain compensation and assistance from Veterans Affairs Canada," Stoffer said during a news conference at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6 in Moncton on Tuesday.
"He was repeatedly denied assistance but did not give up. I am proud of Basil's win on this issue," he said.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gagetown Veteran wins fight for Agent Orange compensation

For nearly a decade, veteran Basil McAllister has fought for compensation after claims that the spraying of Agent Orange negatively affected his health. He appeared before several boards and represented himself in court, only to be denied each time, until now.
The deadly dioxin Agent Orange was sprayed at CFB Gagetown during the 1960s while McAllister worked on the base.

Since then, the Burton, N.B. resident says he had skin cancer and prostate cancer, which has spread to his bones.
A Type 2 Diabetic, he also needs to take four needles a day.
In 2007, McAllister, his wife, and one of their children received a one time, lump sum of $20,000 in Agent Orange damages. However, McAllister says he worked shoulder-to-shoulder with other veterans who were receiving monthly payments in damages.
“There’s no difference, if we're both working in the same place and get hurt by the same thing, there is no difference,” says McAllister.
After the fifth denial, McAllister decided to take the case to court. He couldn’t afford a lawyer, so he defended himself.
Officials with the federal government said that in order to receive a pension for Agent Orange compensation, a claimant must prove there was direct exposure to the chemical.
In court, Veterans Affairs argued that McAllister’s direct exposure evidence was insufficient and not credible, adding that decisions made about other pensions were irrelevant to his case.
But in June 2013, federal judge Cecily Strickland ruled the federal government did not prove there was never any spraying of Agent Orange in training areas and agreed to reconsider his compensation.
While the judge ruled in McAllister’s favour, she did not have the authority to grant compensation. Her decision meant the case would go back to a new board for consideration.
McAllister represented himself again in July. This time, the Veterans Review and Appeal Board agreed, awarding him compensation.

Chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin and dibenzofuran congener and homologue distributions in tree bark from Sauget, Illinois, USA.

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) and dibenzofurans (PCDF) are ubiquitous urban/industrial contaminants found in tree bark, which acts as a long-term passive atmospheric sampler. Twenty seven bark samples (tree age 8 to 92 years) were collected from residential and industrial areas near Sauget, IL USA to identify the trends of 2,3,7,8-Cl PCDD & PCDF congener distributions, toxic equivalents (TEQ), and PCDD & PCDF homolog distributions. The Sauget area is heavily industrialized, with a long history of chlorine production, and is the largest single contributor to air pollution exposure risk in St. Louis USA. Analysis of seven 2,3,7,8 Cl-substituted PCDD and 10 PCDF congeners showed ΣPCDD7 ranging from 2214 to 71821 pg g-1 lipid and ΣPCDF10 from 355 to 13707 pg g-1 lipid, the highest in trees < 20 years old in both cases. OctaCCD and octaCDF respectively dominated ΣPCDD7 (89% average) and ΣPCDF10 (57% average). The 2,3,7,8-Cl congener profiles were similar in all samples showing that all were affected by similar sources but at different magnitudes. ΣTEQ ranged from 35 to 624 pg g-1 lipid, dominated by 1,2,3,7,8-PeCDD (average = 41.3% of total TEQ). Tetra-Cl through hepta-Cl homologues were dominated by non-2,3,7,8-Cl compounds for both CDD and CDF. Homologue profiles for 26 samples had a “sink” profile dominated by octaCDD, while one sample showed effects of a local source.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mark Your Calendar - Agent Orange Town Hall Meetings


January 24, 2015
Martinsburg, West Virginia
10 am-3 pm
National Guard Armory
2096 Kelly Island Road
Martinsburg, West Virginia 25405
Contact Sonya Brown: 304-620-8310

February 28, 2015
Tucson, Arizona
9:00am-12 pm noon
VFW Post 549 
8424 E. Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ  85710
For more information check:

Depleted Uranium: The New Agent Orange

Between 1990 and 1991, the US and UK troops fired over 290 metric tons [1] of Depleted Uranium (DU) projectiles in Iraq and Kuwait. It was the first time that this type of ammunitions was used on the battlefield.
The US military employed it in Afghanistan in 2001 and again in Iraq in 2003. It was however in the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War that the controversy surrounding DU today developed. In the years following the war, the rate of cancers and malformations rose sharply in certain parts of Iraq. Furthermore, some American and British veterans started to experience a chronic multi-symptom disorder known as the Gulf War Syndrome.
On one hand, “misinformation disseminated by both the Iraqi government and the US Department of Defense has made analysis of DU’s impact difficult.”[2] On the other hand, the medias had the tendency to over-sensationalize the issue. Even worst was the fact that scientists themselves were caught in the midst of this politicization. On top of that, Iraq does not have the laboratory capacity to establish the existence of a direct link between DU and the health issues it is facing at the moment.[3]

Agent Orange: Alphabetized Ships List

In December 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs added 22 new ships and updated information for 18 ships already on the list of ships recognized to have anchored in Vietnam or served in inland waterways of the Republic of Vietnam.
VA also added an entire category of boats: Strike Assault Boats or “STABS” to the ship list. 
Is your ship on the list?  If not, and you have evidence that you or your shipmates went ashore or that your ship was in the inland waterways, scan your evidence and email it to the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Compensation Service at: 211_AOSHIPS.VBACO@va.gov

Find your ship

Ships or boats that were part of the Mobile Riverine Force, Inshore Fire Support (ISF) Division 93 or had one of the following designations operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam. Veterans whose military records confirm they were aboard these ships qualify for presumption of herbicide exposure.
During your Vietnam tour, did your ship or boat have one of the following designations?
  • AGP (Assault Group Patrol/Patrol Craft Tender)
  • LCM (Landing Craft, Mechanized)
  • LCU (Landing Craft, Utility)
  • LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel)
  • LST (Landing Ship, Tank)
  • PBR (Patrol Boat, River)
  • PCF (Patrol Craft, Fast or Swift Boat)
  • PG (Patrol Gunboat)
  • STABS (Strike Assault Boats)
  • WAK (Cargo Vessel)
  • WHEC (High Endurance Cutter)
  • WLB (Buoy Tender)
  • WPB (Patrol Boat)
  • YFU (Harbor Utility Craft)
- See more at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/index.asp#sthash.xDrhtfPb.dpu
If your vessel is not included in the Mobile Riverine Force, ISF Division 93 or listed designations (see "Find Your Ship"), check the alphabetized list of ships below.
To search for your ship, look under the first letter of the formal ship name. For example, if your ship's name is USS Dennis J. Buckley, look under the letter "D" for Dennis.
Ships will be regularly added to the list based on information confirmed in official records of ship operations. Currently there are 330 ships on this list. Ship not on the list and you think it should be?
Questions about your eligibility for disability compensation? Contact your nearest VA benefits office.
Last updated: December 2014
- See more at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp#sthash.WOGHxoqU.dpuf
If your vessel is not included in the Mobile Riverine Force, ISF Division 93 or listed designations (see "Find Your Ship"), check the alphabetized list of ships below.
To search for your ship, look under the first letter of the formal ship name. For example, if your ship's name is USS Dennis J. Buckley, look under the letter "D" for Dennis.
Ships will be regularly added to the list based on information confirmed in official records of ship operations. Currently there are 330 ships on this list. Ship not on the list and you think it should be?
Questions about your eligibility for disability compensation? Contact your nearest VA benefits office.
Last updated: December 2014
- See more at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp#sthash.WOGHxoqU.dpuf
If your vessel is not included in the Mobile Riverine Force, ISF Division 93 or listed designations (see "Find Your Ship"), check the alphabetized list of ships below.
To search for your ship, look under the first letter of the formal ship name. For example, if your ship's name is USS Dennis J. Buckley, look under the letter "D" for Dennis.
Ships will be regularly added to the list based on information confirmed in official records of ship operations. Currently there are 330 ships on this list. Ship not on the list and you think it should be?
Questions about your eligibility for disability compensation? Contact your nearest VA benefits office.
Last updated: December 2014
- See more at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp#sthash.WOGHxoqU.dpuf

Monday, December 8, 2014

Genetics Association Chair tells farmers to use GM crops

“We have missed it for over 20 years, is it possible to continue missing this opportunity 20 years more?" Prof. Luong said at a conference on “Farmers and the opportunity to use GM crops in Vietnam” held on December 3.
Prof. Luong and many experts attending the conference said that more than 10 years ago, Europe tested GM crops and came to a conclusion that genetically modified organisms are not more dangerous than ones that are being used by humans. The world is also enthusiastically responding to the application of GM organisms.
"GM crops do not suddenly fall down from the sky. They have been grown in the fields of Vietnam for dozens of years. The only difference is that now they now have added insect resistance and herbicide genes, so we can be completely assured that it it fine to use them," said Dr. Le Huy Ham, Director of the Vietnam Agricultural Genetics Institute.
Results of trials in Vietnam show that the ability to control pests on GM corn is more than 45%, compared to only 5% in normal corn varieties. Similarly, the weed control effectiveness of GM maize is also much higher than conventional maize.
Prior to the concern about commercialized GM crops, that Vietnamese farmers would be dependent on imported seeds, Dr. Ham said all of the maize varieties in Vietnam at present are hybrid and they are dependent on the companies that supply these varieties, except for purebred varieties that farmers breed themselves.
In addition, the Institute of Corn has created about 7.3% of the seed corn output, and the rest must depend on foreign companies. Similarly, Vietnam can produce just 2% of hybrid rice and the country has to import nearly 100 percent of seeds of other crops like cabbage and tomatoes.
“There are dozens of units providing GM crops so people can choose seeds of any company that they want," said Dr. Ham.
Prof. Luong said that Vietnam is in the process of strong integration, so it is normal to use foreign products. 

Laser Sniffs Out Toxic Gases From Afar

Durham, NC - Scientists have developed a way to sniff out tiny amounts of toxic gases -- a whiff of nerve gas, for example, or a hint of a chemical spill -- from up to one kilometer away.
The new technology can discriminate one type of gas from another with greater specificity than most remote sensors -- even in complex mixtures of similar chemicals -- and under normal atmospheric pressure, something that wasn’t thought possible before.
The researchers say the technique could be used to test for radioactive byproducts from nuclear accidents or arms control treaty violations, for example, or for remote monitoring of smokestacks or factories for signs of air pollution or chemical weapons.
“You could imagine setting this up around the perimeter of an area where soldiers are living, as a kind of trip wire for nerve gas,” said lead author Henry Everitt, an Army scientist and adjunct professor of physics at Duke University.
The technique uses a form of invisible light called terahertz radiation, or T-rays.
Already used to detect tumors and screen airport passengers, T-rays fall between microwaves and infrared radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Zapping a gas molecule with a terahertz beam of just the right energy makes the molecule switch between alternate rotational states, producing a characteristic absorption spectrum “fingerprint,” like the lines of a bar code.

Is this our generation’s Agent Orange?


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Community mourns loss of children’s advocate

As a global serviceman, war veteran, author, a teacher, Associate Professor of Social Work for the College at Brockport as well as a voice for those who have nothing, Ken Herrmann’s legacy is one of strong impact.
Ken Herrmann was an Associate Professor at the College at Brockport 
After battling pancreatic cancer, Herrmann passed away in his home, Nov. 2, at the age of 71. 
Herrmann was a member of the college’s community for 37 years. Through 1960 to 1969, he was a battalion leader in the war in Vietnam where he earned a Bronze Star for his efforts. His tour in Vietnam would forever change the Buffalo, New York, native. Herrmann spent the majority of his life advocating for the citizens in Vietnam who still struggle today with the aftermath of the war.
The war in Vietnam included new and modern tactics for defeating enemies, which included the use of a toxic chemical called Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a herbicide used to remove foliage and make the enemies more visible. The chemical infected the water and crops of Vietnamese farms, which was then eaten by the natives. The effects of this ingested toxin was evident in the following generations.
The poison has had a lasting impact on the people of Vietnam as it infected the drinking water, causing mutations carried down through the generations. Fixing this blot on American history has been at the forefront of Herrmann’s philanthropy and life’s work.
Herrmann has written many books about the people of Vietnam affected by Agent Orange. His latest book, printed in January 2014, “Child Welfare Practice: A Conversation About Reality” focuses on his experience in the American childhood.  He draws on his expertise from being on the board over more than half a dozen boards regarding childcare and mental health.

We need more data on what's sprayed on food

I am so grateful that Humboldt County said "No to GMOs" with Measure P.
In an October 2014 decision, the Environmental Protection Agency approved "Enlist Duo" to be sprayed on genetically modified "Enlist Duo Ready" soybeans and corn. The adorable name, Enlist Duo, masks the seriousness of the ingredients. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup has been married to Dow Chemical's 2,4-D, a chemical comprising 50 percent of Agent Orange from the Vietnam War. The new herbicide is called "Enlist Duo."

Agent Orange has a history. The Veterans Administration has, after decades of losing litigation, finally compiled a list of the "presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange" for our Vietnam vets. The vets were late teens or adults when they were subjected to aerial spraying of Agent Orange. The list of "presumptive" diseases includes at least nine forms of cancer. The VA also acknowledges that Agent Orange is a mutagen, i.e. the vets' kids who were born with spina bifida have that condition resulting from their fathers' exposure to Agent Orange.
Although it appears to be true that the more toxic ingredient of Agent Orange was 2,4,5-T because of the creation of dioxins in the less than perfect manufacturing of it, it is also true that we cannot know for decades the long-term synergistic effects of all the chemicals comprising Enlist Duo on almost anything: nearby plants, soil organisms, pollinators, livestock, wildlife, gestating babies, growing children, or adults.
For folks who aren't sure of the differences between genetically modified organisms as food (GMO) and hybridized plants it is, crudely put, this. With hybridization, plants have been modified by crossing them with very similar plants e.g. different species within the same genus (e.g. two kinds of tomatoes or two kinds of Chrysanthemums) or crossing plants within the same Family of plants even though one may be a shrub and one a biennial (like the hot new perennial Digiplexis.)
With GMOs you are breaking the seeds' reluctance to admit intruders into their DNA from non-plant material (in Enlist Duo it would be a chemical compound) by inoculating them with DNA from bacteria, e.g. Agrobacterium tumefaciens or E-coli or even viruses. All of these have been used by GMO scientists for food crops to force the seeds to accept the herbicide in order that the plant ultimately becomes impervious to the herbicide. In addition, viruses are known mutagens. There is a reason these food crops are called GMOs — genetically modified organisms — since they are no longer strictly plant material.
Both Japan and Western Europe have mostly embargoed our GMO food products. They also have one tenth the autism rate that exists in the U.S. Perhaps they are less willing to diagnose autism or perhaps they suspect Roundup as a food additive. Since autism has skyrocketed here, wouldn't it be wise to look at probable causes?
Wouldn't it be prudent to reject 2,4-D as a food additive until all the data are in?

EPA falling short on cleanup


While the Berkeley Pit is the most obvious manifestation of the environmental devastation left by mining in Butte and is the most visible testimony to an EPA that has become ossified and unresponsive to the public in its approach to cleanup, the Pit is not alone as a threat to Butte’s public health and future economic development. The EPA is playing Russian roulette with Butte’s future in its “cleanup” attempts. The problems we see with the Berkeley Pit cleanup—failure to thoroughly test cleanup technologies, failure to respond in a meaningful way to public input, failure to provide for a margin of error, failure to look at fresh cleanup technologies, failure to critically re-evaluate past decisions, failure to consider the adverse effects, such as scaling, of the Pit cleanup on Silver Bow Creek and failure to consider that their estimates/models of what will happen in the Pit may be wrong—are seen as well in the EPA’s approach to stormwater runoff, the Butte Hill, the Parrott Tailings and the Montana Pole Plant.

Parrott Tailings

EPA based its cleanup decision for the Parrott Tailings on a model which has been thoroughly and completely invalidated. Even so, in an exercise of wanton hubris, the EPA clings to that invalid/discredited model, even in the face of overwhelming evidence from several sources that the Parrott Tailings are a clear and present danger to Butte’s already challenged groundwater. The migration of Parrott Tailings water is not conforming to the EPA model. The Parrott Tailing’s cleanup decision belies EPA’s claim that it bases its decisions on “good science.” It seems EPA is more prone to basing decisions on poor guesses. Scarce state restoration dollars will have to be spent to fix the problem.

Montana Pole Plant

The EPA and Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) are content to leave highly toxic dioxin on site at the Montana Pole Plant as a perpetual threat to public health. Dioxin, the active ingredient in “agent orange,” is one of the most potent carcinogens on Earth; even the EPA says there are no safe levels of exposure. Yet, the EPA and the MDEQ want to cover the dioxin on site with a little dirt and some vegetation, even though the capping of toxic waste has a dismal record of effectiveness. Routinely, stormwater runoff flows over the contaminated soil, carrying contaminants to the creek. The EPA audaciously calls this protective.

Vietnam scrambles to squash Taiwanese rumor about dioxin-tainted tea

The authorities in Lam Dong Province have sought government help to put a stop to false Taiwanese rumors about dioxin contamination in Vietnamese tea.
The Central Highlands province is home to around 3,000 hectares of high-quality tea plantations whose tea leaves are exported to the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Europe.
In a statement sent to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Thursday, Lam Dong People’s Committee said the rumor has cut the province’s tea exports to Taiwan by half in the course of several months.
Consumers in other countries have also grown hesitant to buy Vietnamese-grown tea following the promulgation of the dioxin rumor in the Taiwanese media, the statement said.
The provincial leaders called on the government to order ministries of foreign affairs, environment, agriculture, trade, and communication to inform media outlets and government authorities in Taiwan that Lam Dong's tea plantations are dioxin-free.
“In addition, we ought to launch a media campaign to set the record straight about Vietnamese tea,” the committee said in the statement.
Based on maps of the US' war-era defoliation campaign and other related documents, Lam Dong’s Military Command affirmed that the province's tea plantations couldn't possibly have been affected by dioxin.
Following this notice, Taiwanese customs agencies cleared 200 tons of Lam Dong’s Oolong tea worth roughly VND140 billion (US$6.5 million) last week after holding them for two months based on the spurious media reports.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted Han Wen Te, director of Taiwanese tea firm Fushen, as saying the dioxin contamination rumor was spread to cripple competition.
Imported Vietnamese Oolong is four times cheaper than domestic tea, Han said.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Guam & Agent Orange - TCE

This site http://www.guamagentorange.info/home is for people to share their accounts of Agent Orange, TCE, Radiation, or any other contamination on Guam.


Veterans, Civilians and Contractors are all welcome. Thank You!

Drums of Herbicide Were Stored Here in 1969-70 and the POL Depot Used the Rig Below to Spray Weeds Covering a Large Area On and Off Andersen AFB 

Camp LeJeune Adverse Birth Outcomes Study Results

Evaluation of contaminated drinking water and preterm birth, small for gestational age, and birth weight at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina: A cross-sectional study

The purpose of this study was to determine if maternal exposures to contaminants in drinking water at Camp Lejeune were associated with preterm birth and fetal growth retardation. This study is a reanalysis of a previous study, which incorrectly categorized as “unexposed” some maternal exposures before June 1972 based on information available at the time.

Besides considering the re-categorized births to exposed women, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recreated monthly estimates of past levels of drinking water contamination using computer models. These estimates were not available when the first study was conducted.
Drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, 1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE) and vinyl chloride from the 1950s through 1985.
The study included live singleton births 28-47 weeks gestation weighing 500 grams or more. The births occurred between 1968 and 1985 to women who resided on base for at least one week before giving birth. These years were chosen because computerized birth certificates in North Carolina became available in 1968 and the contaminated wells on base were shut down in 1985. The authors cross referenced birth certificate data for Onslow County, NC, where Camp Lejeune is located, with Camp Lejeune housing records and identified 11,896 births that met the study criteria.
Outcomes of interest in this study were preterm birth and fetal growth retardation. Fetal growth retardation was measured by reduced mean birth weight (MBW), term low birth weight (TLBW), and small for gestational age (SGA). Information about these outcomes was obtained from birth certificates. Preterm births were defined as births occurring at less than 37 weeks of gestation. Gestational age was calculated using date of mother’s last menstrual period from the birth certificate. TLBW was defined as full-term babies (37 weeks or more gestation) weighing less than 2,500 grams at birth. SGA births were defined as births weighing less than the 10th percentiles using sex- and race-specific weight by gestational week norms. For the MBW analysis, only full-term infants were included.

NIH scientists determine how environment contributes to several human diseases

Using a new imaging technique, National Institutes of Health researchers have found that the biological machinery that builds DNA can insert molecules into the DNA strand that are damaged as a result of environmental exposures. These damaged molecules trigger cell death that produces some human diseases, according to the researchers. The work, appearing online Nov. 17 in the journal Nature, provides a possible explanation for how one type of DNA damage may lead to cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and lung disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
“Until this paper, no one had actually seen how the polymerase did it or understood the downstream implications.”

Time-lapse crystallography was used by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) researchers to determine that DNA polymerase, the enzyme responsible for assembling the nucleotides or building blocks of DNA, incorporates nucleotides with a specific kind of damage into the DNA strand. Time-lapse crystallography is a technique that takes snapshots of biochemical reactions occurring in cells.
Samuel Wilson, M.D., senior NIEHS researcher on the team, explained that the damage is caused by oxidative stress, or the generation of free oxygen molecules, in response to environmental factors, such as ultraviolet exposure, diet, and chemical compounds in paints, plastics, and other consumer products. He said scientists suspected that the DNA polymerase was inserting nucleotides that were damaged by carrying an additional oxygen atom.
“When one of these oxidized nucleotides is placed into the DNA strand, it can’t pair with the opposing nucleotide as usual, which leaves a gap in the DNA,” Wilson said. “Until this paper, no one had actually seen how the polymerase did it or understood the downstream implications.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Vietnam, Agent Orange, and GMOs

An Agent Orange maker is being welcomed back to Vietnam to grow genetically modified organisms.
Vietnam continues to roll out the red carpet for foreign biotech giants, including the infamous Monsanto, to sell the controversial genetically modified (GM) corn varieties in the country. Critics say that by welcoming Monsanto, Vietnam has been too nice to the main manufacturer of Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used during the Vietnam War that left a devastating legacy still claiming victims today.
According to Vietnamese media reports, in August that country’s agriculture ministry approved the imports of four corn varieties engineered for food and animal feed processing: MON 89034 and NK 603, products of DeKalb Vietnam (a subsidiary of U.S. multinational Monsanto), and GA 21 and MIR 162 from the Swiss firm Syngenta.
The Vietnamese environment ministry has to date issued bio-safety certificates for Monsanto’s MON 89034 and NK 603 corn varieties and Syngenta’s GA 21, meaning farmers can start commercially cultivating the crops. The ministry is considering issuing a similar certificate for the other variety, MR 162. Given the current political landscape, it seems that approval is just a matter of time.

In 2006, the Vietnamese government formulated an ambitious plan to develop GM crops as part of a “major program for the development and application of biotechnology in agriculture and rural development.” Under the blueprint, Vietnam is looking to cultivate its first GM crops by 2015 and have 30-50 percent of the country’s farmland covered with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by 2020.
Environmental activists have noted the irony that just as Americans and people elsewhere around the world are revolting against GMOs in greater numbers, Vietnam is throwing away its great advantage as a non-GMO producer. “Increasingly countries around the world are rejecting GMOs, with public opposition growing daily. Across Europe and much of Asia, Latin America and Africa, people and often their governments are rejecting GMO seeds as an old technology that has failed to deliver on its promises,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at the U.S.-based Pesticide Action Network North America.
The has been an unprecedented surge in consumer rejection of GMOs in the U.S., with food companies scrambling to secure non-GMO supplies, according to the New York Times. Europe forced its entire food industry to jettison GMOs altogether. In one prominent case, European authorities shut down 99 percent of corn imports from the U.S. at a time when only 25 percent of the corn was genetically engineered. Last year, China rejected 887,000 tons of U.S. corn because it contained Syngenta’s GM maize MIR 162 – the very same variety that has just been licensed for use in Vietnam.
The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development report, considered the most exhaustive analysis of agriculture and sustainability in history, concludes that the high costs of seeds and chemicals, uncertain yields, and the potential to undermine local food security make biotechnology a poor choice for the developing world. GMOs in their current state have nothing to offer the cause of feeding the hungry, alleviating poverty, and creating sustainable agriculture, according to the report. Six multinationals – Monsanto, Syngenta, Du Pont, Bayer, Dow, and BASF – now control almost two-thirds of the global market for seeds, three quarters of agro-chemicals sales, and the entire GM seed market, according to a report by Friends of the Earth International, an international network of environmental organizations in 74 countries.

Excavation begins in Okinawa field where barrels previously found

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Workers began excavation Friday on an additional 66 spots at the Okinawa City soccer field where barrels containing toxic herbicides were found last year.
The announcement to investigate the magnetic anomalies — thought to be more barrels or other metal objects — was made Thursday by the Okinawa Defense Bureau. Should any barrels or substances that indicate the presence of defoliants be found, the bureau plans to notify the city and prefectural governments immediately.
The excavation comes on the heels of a report released by the Japanese government in July that found while 83 barrels already unearthed in the reclaimed land adjacent to the Kadena Air Base fence line contained ingredients used in Agent Orange, they were of the incorrect consistency and quantities however, leading officials to instead believe they were used in a common herbicide.

The barrels caused a stir amongst both locals and U.S. military personnel and dependents when they were found. Veterans who have claimed exposure to Agent Orange while stationed on Okinawa said it confirmed what they had been saying all along. Parents of students at the nearby Amelia Earhart Intermediate School, Bob Hope Primary School and the Kadena middle and high schools expressed concern. Activists and local media also seized on the issue.
The U.S. military’s position has been that Agent Orange — which defoliated jungles during the Vietnam War and has been blamed for a slew of health problems in veterans — was never stored, shipped through or used on Okinawa. A study commissioned by the DOD has backed that assertion. The military discontinued use of Agent Orange in the early 1970s.
The defense bureau has said it was unlikely the barrels posed a health risk. Tests have shown the air and water, on and off base, are safe.
The excavation report will be released by the end of March, a bureau spokesman said.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

83-year-old woman cares for Agent Orange patients for 30 years

VietNamNet Bridge – For the past three decades, Dr. Ta Thi Chung has been on the staff of the Hoa Binh (Peace) Village, teaching nearly 200 children who have been affected by Agent Orange.
Every day, Mrs. Chung goes to the Hoa Binh Village of the Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City at 6am to help prepare food for disadvantaged kids, to wake them up for breakfast and to go to school.
Mrs. Chung, 83, a native of Ben Tre province, was the vice director of Tu Du Obstetrics Hospital from 1975 to 1998.
She is also one of the founders of the Hoa Binh Village for AO child patients and disabled kids.
Currently, the village is the home to 60 children who are victims of Agent Orange; some of them were abandoned by parents.
"To me, the great joy is to see the kids – although with a disability - still striving to learn and training themselves to become useful citizens. I only wish that they can go to school and find a job in the future," Mrs. Chung said.
Chung has worked at the village for nearly 39 years.

Agent Orange in Okinawa

Determined citizens are working to uncover “one of the best kept secrets of the Cold War era.”
While the ongoing debate over the heavy presence of U.S. military forces in the southern Japanese prefecture of Okinawa continues to make international headlines – including the decades-long struggle of residents to protect their island region from unsafe aircraft, sexual assaults, and the extinction of a local sea mammal – there is another story that until now has remained almost completely untold: the use of Agent Orange and other chemical defoliants in Okinawa.
Determined to end this silence, a group of Japan-based citizens including journalists, professors, and environmental activists have been gathering evidence and speaking out regarding the existence of toxic substances, including Agent Orange, that were found to have been stored, sprayed, buried and dumped in and around Okinawa by U.S. military forces during the Vietnam War era.
Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo on October 30, 2014, just ahead of a November 1-2 symposium at Okinawa Christian University titled “Agent Orange and the Politics of Poisons,” three of the symposium’s presenters outlined the journey to begin telling this story – and to attain justice for those who have been impacted by its legacy.
“The usage of Agent Orange and military defoliants in Okinawa is one of the best kept secrets of the Cold War,” said symposium keynote speaker Jon Mitchell, a Tokyo-based journalist who has been covering the story since 2011, and who has recently published a book in Japanese exposing this history and its subsequent cover-up.


Vietnam dismisses Taiwanese media reports on dioxin-tainted tea

On Monday, officials in Da Lat dismissed Taiwanese media reports alleging a mass dioxin contamination among Lam Dong Province's tea plantations as part of a fallacious smear campaign.
Le Van Minh, director of Lam Dong’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said roughly 70 containers of Lam Dong's Oolong tea were flagged by Taiwanese customs agents following media reports about the alleged contamination.
“Since late September, seven TV channels, four newspapers and one news website in Taiwan have claimed that tea plantations in Lam Dong are contaminated with dioxin,” Minh said.
Based on maps of the US' war-era defoliation campaign and other related documents, Lam Dong’s Military Command has affirmed that the province's tea plantations couldn't possibly have been affected by the persistent organic pollutant, Minh said.
He further alleged that Taiwanese tea growers have spread the rumors in an effort to avoid honest competition with Lam Dong's low prices.
Ta Ling Wu, deputy head of the Taiwanese Trade Association in Vietnam, said his agency would hold a press conference in Taipei on November 24 to prove that Lam Dong’s tea plantations are dioxin-free.
The Central Highlands province of Lam Dong is home to around 3,000 hectares of high-quality tea plantations whose tea leaves are processed for export to the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Europe.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: DOD Keeping Toxic Exposure to Veterans Hidden from Public

Veterans and civilian workers who worked at Ft. McClellan, Alabama between 1935 and 1999 were exposed to a number of toxic chemicals. Ft. McClellan was used for a multitude of purposes, including Military Police Corps, Women’s Army Corps, Chemical Corps and Vietnam Training. At any given time, Ft. McClellan had a population of 10,000 people. 5,000 were permanently assigned and 1,500 civilians were employed.
The base closed in 1999 and the Military Police School and Army Chemical School were relocated to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. Currently, the Alabama National Guard operates Ft. McClellan, where the National Guard Officer Candidate School takes place. The Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Domestic Preparedness is also housed on base.
Those who were at Ft. McClellan from 1935-1999 experienced toxic exposure from: Agent Orange, Agent Blue, Sarin, VX, Uranium, Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) and Trichloroethylene (TCE). Army post
Here’s what these chemicals are used for:
  • Agent Orange: used by U.S. military as means of killing plants in a regional area (known as herbicidal warfare program during Vietnam War)
  • Agent Blue: kills plants by drying them out
  • VX: no known uses except in chemical warfare as a nerve agent
  • Uranium: tinting and shading in early photography; ammunition, shielding material used to store and transport radioactive materials
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyl: primarily used as dielectric and coolant fluids
  • Trichloroethylene: drying out remainder of water for production of 100% ethanol; dry cleaning solvent; clean kerosene-fueled rocket engines
What does this mean for our veterans? It means they have been exposed to toxic chemicals without knowing it. They are beginning to have serious health issues without knowing the root cause of the problem.
Cancer. Tumors. Leukemia. Kidney failure. Malignant Melanoma. Fetal death and miscarriage. Problems with short-term memory. These are just a very few of the side effects. A website dedicated to helping Ft. McClellan Veterans has a page dedicated to the symptoms caused by each of the known toxins.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Call To Action!

HELP! We have a serious problem and need the help of all concerned veterans. Please share!
The ship bill is in jeopardy.  It was amended to the National Defense Act and will be worked on any day.  We cannot afford to let this die.  If passed it will reduce the cost of HR 543 to a passable bill.  The first and most important thing action you can take is on Monday morning to call your 2 senators to request they pass this amendment (Section 1062 of Senate Bill 2410, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015). 
Here is the story. Section 1062 of Senate Bill 2410, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 contains a requirement that the Navy pinpoint the closest approach to land for all ships deployed to Vietnam. This will allow the crew of any ship that entered the rivers or tied up to a pier to receive the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange and increase the chances of these who entered bays such as Da Nang Harbor to receive that presumption. This measure has passed the House of Representatives twice in two different bills.
The Navy is fighting back saying that they do not want to do the study because it would cost $5 million. Our experts disagree and notes that the Navy has inflated the number of log pages that would have to be reviewed.
In fact, 305 of the 713 ships that deployed have already been confirmed to have entered rivers or tied up to a pier. So almost half of the job has already been done for them. In addition to getting benefits to thousands of folks who are sick with Agent Orange related diseases, this study will allow the Congressional Budget Office to determine the cost of another bill, which will formally extend the presumption of exposure to the territorial seas. That bill has been held up for four years in Committee, because we cannot determine the actual cost.
So please call both of your Senators. You can google their names to get their phone numbers or google "U. S. Senate delegation" and the name of your State. They do listen to these messages and it will help. Don’t worry about your Member of Congress, the bill has passed the House. Please call your Senators. Then if you have time, call the offices of the Senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Their names are attached. Make sure you say this is Section 1062 of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act Senate Bill 2410.