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.