Thursday, May 28, 2015

Herbicide used in Vietnam War has lingering effect on vets
ENID, Okla. (AP) - The effects of the Vietnam War still are reaching Enid in 2015.
During the Vietnam War, United States military forces encountered an enemy that didn’t march in formation and meet on a battlefield; they fought Viet Cong soldiers who took cover in the thick forests and vegetation that grew in rural areas of South Vietnam, making it almost impossible to see where troops were moving, the Enid News & Eagle ( ) reported.
One answer to this problem was a mass defoliation project from 1961 to 1971 to remove the tree cover and deprive the Viet Cong soldiers of food using several herbicides, including a mixture of two phenoxyl herbicides: Agent Orange.
Agent Orange, or Herbicide Orange, got its name from the orange markings on the storage barrels, and was manufactured primarily by Monsanto Corp. and Dow Chemical.
Nearly 20 million gallons of herbicides, including about 12 million gallons of Agent Orange, were sprayed over Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia from helicopters of low-flying C-123 Provider aircraft fitted with sprayers.
The toxins destroyed more than five million acres of forests and 500,000 acres of crops, and the effects of Agent Orange and other herbicides continue to wreak havoc.
Agent Orange destroyed more than foliage and vegetation; it began destroying lives, and it still does so today.
Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange reported illnesses or miscarriages and birth defects after returning home. In Vietnam, Dr. Nguyen Viet Nhan reported children born in the areas where Agent Orange was sprayed were three more times likely to have multiple health problems, including cleft palates, mental disabilities, extra digits, and some were stillborn and physically deformed after prenatal exposure, according to a 1998 article from BBC.
U.S. Veterans began filing claims in 1977 for disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs for illnesses they believed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange.
Now, the VA acknowledges that some diseases, including chronic B-cell Leukemias, type 2 diabetes, Hodgkin’s Disease, Ischemic heart disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s Disease, peripheral neuropathy, respiratory cancers and soft tissue sarcomas in veterans exposed to Agent Orange could be a result of the exposure.

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