Friday, October 30, 2015

The Time Is NOW!

WEDNESDAY November 4, 2015 has been designated as TELEPHONE CALL IN DAY for you to contact your senators and urge them to co-sponsor S.901 - Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015 and TELEPHONE CALL IN DAY for you to contact your representatives and urge them to co-sponsor H.R.1769 - Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015.

Please spread the word to veterans, families, friends, and  neighbors to help us with this important legislation. Hopefully if we clog the telephone lines with these calls the legislators will know just how important these bills are to us and our children.  Also we need to add to  our calls the Blue Water Navy bills which are senate bill S.681 - Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2015 and house bill H.R.969 - Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2015.

MCB Camp LeJeune: The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) Meetings Announcement

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) invites the public to hear from the authors of a group of health studies that have been conducted to understand the impact of past exposure to contaminated drinking water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The authors will discuss the study results during a public meeting and Community Assistance Panel meeting that will take place in Tampa, FL on December 4-5, 2015. The authors will also be available to address questions about the studies and their results during the public meeting.
For more information about the health studies and other work done by ATSDR at Camp Lejeune, please visit  

Monday, October 26, 2015

H.R.2622: Fort McClellan Health Registry Act

Fort McClellan Health Registry Act

Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish and maintain a special record to be known as the Fort McClellan Health Registry containing the name of each individual who, while serving in the Armed Forces, was stationed at Fort McClellan, Alabama, during the period beginning on January 1, 1935, and ending on May 20, 1999, and who: (1) applies for care or services from the VA; (2) files a claim for compensation on the basis of any disability which may be associated with such service; (3) dies and is survived by a spouse, child, or parent who files a claim for dependency and indemnity compensation on the basis of such service; (4) requests a health examination from the VA; or (5) receives such health examination and requests inclusion in the Registry. Requires the Secretary, upon request, to provide such health examination, as well as consultation and counseling with respect to examination results.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Illnesses, Deaths Spur FDA Warning on Hep C Drugs
FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Reports of deaths and illnesses occurring soon after use are prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue warnings on two drugs used to fight the hepatitis C virus.
The drugs, called Viekira Pak and Technivie, appeared linked to serious liver damage in patients with advanced liver disease, the agency warned in a statement issued Thursday.
Of 26 cases reported worldwide where use of the medications has been the possible or probable cause of illness, 10 patients either died or required organ transplant after liver failure, and 16 patients had some form of liver dysfunction. In most cases, liver damage occurred within one to four weeks of patients starting treatment, the FDA said.
The cases occurred after the two drugs were approved by the FDA -- Viekira Pak in December of 2014 and Technivie in July of 2015, the statement said. The agency believes that there may be other cases that have gone unreported.
Based on the reports, the FDA is now warning that "Viekira Pak and Technivie may cause serious liver injury, including life-threatening liver failure, mainly in patients with underlying advanced liver disease."
And, "as a result," the agency added, "we are requiring the manufacturer [AbbVie] to add new information about this safety risk to the drug labels."
The FDA says that anyone taking Viekira Pak or Technivie who begins experiencing "fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, yellow eyes or skin, or light-colored stools" should contact their doctor immediately, as these symptoms might indicate liver injury.
"Patients should not stop taking these medicines without first talking to their health care professionals," the FDA added, because "stopping treatment early could result in drug resistance to other hepatitis C medicines."
Viekira Pak and Technivie are used to treat patients with chronic hepatitis C, an infection that can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver and other health problems, including cirrhosis, liver cancer and death. These drugs lower the amount of hepatitis C virus in the body by preventing it from multiplying and may slow down the disease, the FDA statement explained.

Portion of Agent Orange Act allowed to expire
Almost three weeks ago, the House and Senate veterans affairs committees quietly allowed a provision of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to expire.
How significant that will be for Vietnam veterans and their benefits is disputed.
Committee staff and the Department of Veterans Affairs agree the change has not impacted the VA secretary’s authority to decide to expand the list of diseases presumed connected to wartime herbicide exposure.
But veteran advocates and at least one lawmaker suggest the change is intended to dampen VA cost risks and perhaps ease political pressure on the secretary and Congress facing a potential tsunami of disability claims.
That scenario assumes that a final review of medical science will establish a stronger link between Agent Orange and hypertension (high blood pressure), a condition that the Center for Disease Control says is so common it afflicts a third of the U.S. adult population.
VA asked Congress to keep the Agent Orange law intact five more years. Rep. Timothy J. Walz, D-Minnesota, a VA committee member, offered a compromise, a bill to leave the law unchanged for two years, long enough so its secretarial review requirements held during VA consideration of a final report of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences on health conditions associated with Agent Orange.
The VA committees declined to back these delays because, said a House committee staff member, under separate law “the secretary already has authority to make such (presumption) decisions, and we felt he did not need to be compelled by (the Agent Orange) law to do so.”
The provision that “sunset” Oct. 1 required the secretary to adhere to certain standards and procedures in determining if additional diseases associated with herbicide exposure should be presumed service connected. Vietnam War veterans diagnosed with ailments on the presumptive list qualify for VA disability pay and medical care. 

AO victim's lawyers say defendant making many irrational requests
PARIS (VNS) — Lawyers representing Vietnamese-French Agent Orange victim Tran To Nga in a lawsuit against 26 US chemical companies said the defendant continued to make irrational requests in order to prolong the case.
Talking to Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Paris after the latest working session with judges and defence lawyers at the Ervy Court on Thursday, lawyers Amelie Lefebvre and Bertrand Repolt from the Paris-based William Bourdon Forestier law firm said that the defendant's lawyers once again asked for documents proving that Nga used to work at dioxin-sprayed areas – such as working contracts, paycheck receipts and evidence proving the linkage between herbicides and her diseases.
Repolt said those requests were unreasonable at this stage of the trial, as hearings had not yet started. In addition, demanding proof of payroll for hours worked 40 to 50 years ago was unrealistic.
Regarding the accuracy of translated documents, Lefebvre said that the inaccurate translation of several words was unavoidable in hundreds, or even thousands of pages of documents, but such mistakes cannot render the entire documents incomprehensible.
The lawyers also said the plaintiff was expected to undergo new medical tests at a clinic appointed by the court.
At the meeting, the judge also announced that a deadline will be set for US companies' representatives to respond to plaintiff lawyers' conclusions in the lawsuits. The two parties' lawyers will meet again on December 3 to discuss the timetable for hearing sessions.
In May 2014, Nga, born in 1942, filed a lawsuit against 26 US chemical firms for producing chemical toxins sprayed by the US army during the war in Viet Nam, causing serious harm to the community, her children and herself.
The complaint and related documents were filed with the Crown Court of Evry in the suburbs of Paris.
Nga graduated from university in Ha Noi in 1966 and became a war correspondent for the Liberation News Agency, now the Vietnam News Agency. She worked in some of the most heavily AO/Dioxin-affected areas in southern Viet Nam such as Cu Chi, Ben Cat and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, ultimately experiencing the effects of contamination herself.
Among her three children, the first died of heart defects and the second suffers from a blood disease.
In 2009, Nga, who has contracted a number of acute diseases, appeared as a witness at the Court of Public Opinion in Paris, France against the US chemical companies.
From 1961 to 1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides – 44 million litres of which were AO, containing nearly 370kg of dioxin – over southern Viet Nam.
Around 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the chemical's effects. — VNS

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

VA Seeks Presumptive-Disability Status for Camp Lejeune Veterans
WASHINGTON — The VA is beginning the process of amending its regulations to establish presumptive-disability status for veterans who have certain diseases linked to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
By establishing presumptive status, it is presumed that the disease was caused by service, making it easier for veterans to obtain disability benefits.
In a recent announcement, the VA said it is reviewing potential presumptive service connection for kidney cancer, angiosarcoma of the liver and acute myelogenous leukemia, which it said “are known to be related to long-term exposure to the chemicals that were in the water at Lejeune from the 1950s through 1987.”
“The chemicals are benzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, which are known as volatile organic compounds, used in industrial solvents and components of fuels,” the agency explained. (For more on Camp Lejeune and cancer, see the Oncology Focus.)
Working with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and potentially the National Academy of Sciences “to evaluate the body of scientific knowledge and research related to exposure to these chemicals and the subsequent development of other diseases,” adding, “VA will carefully consider all public comments received when determining the final scope of any presumptions,” the VA explained.
A study from ATSDR researchers, published last month, linked the contaminated water to higher rates of early onset male breast cancer. Previous studies from the same group had found associations between the chemicals at the North Carolina base and a range of cancers.
Lawmakers applauded the announcement.
“The evidence has been accumulating for years now — many of those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune in years past developed certain diseases after exposure to contaminated drinking water. Compensating these victims, our nation’s heroes and their families, is simply the right thing to do,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), a key advocate for those impacted by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, said he was “disappointed that we had to pressure the VA to do the right thing for our veterans in the first place.”
“The scientific research is strong, and the widespread denials of benefits will soon end,” Burr said. “Now, these veterans and their families members will not have to fight for benefits they are due.”

Contact your Senator & Representatives NOW and ask them to Co-sponsor S.901 & H.R. 1769 - the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015

What your father did before you were born could influence your future
It might not just be expectant mothers who have to pay attention to their lifestyle. Now a new study published in Science could be relevant to a growing body of research looking at ways in which the lifestyle and environment of men before they become fathers could influence the lives of their children and grandchildren.
We know that many human traits, such as weight, height, susceptibility to disease, longevity or intelligence, can be partly inherited, but researchers have so far struggled to identify the precise genetic basis for this. This may partly be due to limitations in our understanding of how genetics works, but now there is growing interest in the potential for something called “epigenetics” to explain this heritability.
Epigenetics refers to the information in the genome over and above that contained in the DNA sequence. This information takes a number of forms, but the most popular ones scientists have studied relate to the chemical modification (known as methylation and acetylation) of DNA and the proteins called histones that together make up the human genome.
This epigenetic information – which influences which copies of the genes in our DNA are “expressed”, or used – may be passed from one generation to another during reproduction. It can even persist within a lifetime in a person’s tissues and organs, even as their cells are replenished.

Media: Is the US ignoring military burn pits’ harm to Middle East civilians?
The “new Agent Orange”: US media coverage of toxic burn pits during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars excludes the health impacts to civilians, reflecting a historical pattern 
October 16, 2015
By Brian Bienkowski
Environmental Health News

The U.S. media has failed to expose the civilian toll of recent wars by largely ignoring burn pits’ toxic effects on local people, a U.S. researcher argues in a new report, suggesting the burn pits are this generation’s Agent Orange.
The coverage gap helps legitimize war and overlooks the undeniable humanitarian impacts, said Eric Bonds, an assistant professor of sociology and researcher at the University of Mary Washington.
During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, things such as plastics, Styrofoam, electronics and unexploded weapons were burned in large pits, sending toxics into the air and people’s lungs. Bonds surveyed major U.S. newspapers from 2007 to 2014, and found that of 49 stories that mentioned wartime burn pits, only one mentioned civilian impacts on par with that of soldiers.

This “silence and selective attention” of the U.S. media extends to the U.S. government and researchers
who are well aware of what toxics in the air might do to local citizens, said Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an independent environmental toxicologist who studies the environmental toll of recent Middle East conflicts.
“This makes me, as a public health researcher, feel extremely uneasy,” said Savabieasfahani, who won the 2015 Rachel Carson prize for her research in the Middle East.
In comparing the open pit burning to Agent Orange used during Vietnam, Bonds points out the U.S. government has performed some small scale cleanup of Agent Orange-contaminated areas, but has never made amends with the Vietnamese who were most affected and said the burn pits are on the same track.
“Even as the U.S. government establishes a ‘burn pit registry’ to study the impacts of toxic pollution on soldiers, it is on course to leave Iraqi and Afghan victims exposed to burning-trash fumes unacknowledged and uncompensated,” Bonds wrote in his study published this month in the journal Environmental Politics.
As U.S. soldiers have returned home over the past decade many have complained of various illnesses—fatigue, respiratory problems, rashes, muscle pain—linked to the pits.
Stories have trickled out on such impacts to soldiers but rarely mention that the pollution doesn’t stop at military borders or barricades and would similarly impact local people, Bonds said, adding that drawing attention to soldiers' illness is important and should continue. 
"This makes me, as a public health researcher, feel extremely uneasy."-Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, independent environmental toxicologistSavabieasfahani has found links between the burn pits and birth defects in nearby Iraq communities. Also, along with colleagues, she found the same type of magnesium and titanium in the hair samples of children with neurological disorders in Hawijah, a city taken over by U.S. military in 2003, as was found in the lung tissues of U.S soldiers that served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. military burned waste there from 2003 to 2010.
Savabieasfahani, along with researchers from the University of Washington, is petitioning the U.S. government to bolster the federal burn pit registry, and provide health care to both veterans and the residents of Iraq and Afghanistan exposed to burn pits. 
“The U.S. military has a poor environmental record and an even poorer record for cleaning up its bases, especially those located outside of the United States,” the authors wrote, calling the Pentagon the “largest polluter on earth.”
Bonds said the lack of media coverage is important because it’s how people learn about the world.
“A lot of time when we think of Iraq or Afghanistan, we think of them as war zones and not places where people are living, working, trying to raise families,” he said.
“Unfortunately this [lack of coverage] is symptomatic of that thinking.”

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Agent Orange Linked to Increased Risk of MGUS in Some Vietnam Veterans
Fifty years after the US Air Force began spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam, new research shows that veterans exposed to the herbicide are more than twice as likely to develop monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), a precursor to multiple myeloma.
A team of researchers led by Ola Landgren, Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Myeloma Service, analyzed serum samples from 459 US Air Force personnel involved in aerial herbicide spray missions during the Vietnam War, as well as 459 samples from veterans who served there at the same time but were uninvolved in the spraying missions.
All of these veterans served between 1962 and 1971, when the US military dropped more than 19 million gallons of herbicides in Southeast Asia during Operation Ranch Hand.
Researchers tested for the presence of MGUS and also concentrations of TCDD, a contaminant of Agent Orange that’s been classified as a human carcinogen since 1997.
They found 7.1 percent of Ranch Hand veterans had MGUS, a precursor of multiple myeloma, compared with only 3.1 percent of the comparison group, says Dr. Landgren — a more than twofold higher risk. The risk of getting MGUS was significantly higher among veterans younger than 70 years of age.
The researchers also found that those vets who developed MGUS had higher TCDD levels in their blood samples.
 “This provides the first direct scientific evidence that there is a link between Agent Orange and the development of multiple myeloma [in Ranch Hand participants],” Dr. Landgren explains.
The findings were published in JAMA Oncology on September 3.

Wide Use and Exposure

Agent Orange was the most widely used herbicide combination sprayed during the Vietnam War, according to a 2003 Department of Veterans Affairs report. Most adverse events linked to it are blamed on TCDD.
The herbicide was used to protect US troops on the ground by stripping the forests, thereby depriving enemy soldiers of protective foliage. Agent Orange was first used in 1965, according to a 2003 Department of Veterans Affairs report. More than 11 million gallons of the chemical were used as tactical herbicides.
Dr. Landgren advises Vietnam veterans to get a simple blood test to identify MGUS. Research shows that early detection of MGUS results in better outcomes for those who do develop multiple myeloma.

Agent Orange law changes as cost fears surface
Two weeks ago, the House and Senate veterans affairs committees quietly allowed a provision of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to expire. How significant that will be for Vietnam veterans and their benefits is disputed.
Committee staff and the Department of Veterans Affairs agree the change has not impacted the VA secretary’s authority to decide to expand the list of diseases presumed connected to wartime herbicide exposure.
But veteran advocates and at least one lawmaker suggest the change is intended to dampen VA cost risks and perhaps ease political pressure on the secretary and Congress facing a potential tsunami of disability claims.
That scenario assumes that a final review of medical science will establish a stronger link between Agent Orange and hypertension (high blood pressure), a condition that the Center for Disease Control says is so common it afflicts a third of the U.S. adult population
VA asked Congress to keep the Agent Orange law intact five more years.  Rep. Timothy J. Walz, D-Minn., a VA committee member, offered a compromise, a bill to leave the law unchanged for two years, long enough so its secretarial review requirements held during VA consideration of a final report of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences on health conditions associated with Agent Orange.
The VA committees declined to back these delays because, said a House committee staff member, under separate law “the secretary already has authority to make such [presumption] decisions, and we felt he did not need to be compelled by [the Agent Orange] law to do so.”
The provision that “sunset” Oct. 1 required the secretary to adhere to certain standards and procedures in determining if additional diseases associated with herbicide exposure should be presumed service connected.  Vietnam War veterans diagnosed with ailments on the presumptive list qualify for VA disability pay and medical care.
The expired provision also set a timetable for the secretary to accept or reject IOM findings and required him to explain in writing if he declined to add IOM identified conditions to the presumptive list.
Walz told colleagues at a hearing last week they effectively “allowed the Agent Orange Act to expire” and “it’s altogether possible” the next IOM report, due in March, will support adding hypertension and stroke to the presumptive list.  Consequently, Walz said, “literally hundreds of thousands of people” will be able to point to scientific data showing they experienced health consequences from exposure to Agent Orange.
“And the pressure is going to be on,” he warned.


US Navy tested chemical weapons in the 50s: Video
A recently declassified video reveals that the US Navy has conducted major experiments with chemical warfare in 1950s, sometimes using ordinary people as subjects.
Although chemical weapons were deemed "allowable" at the time, the video shows that the US Navy did not shy away from conducting experiment on American people, the Huffington Post reported on Tuesday.

In the film we can see techniques improvised by the US military to develop and disperse the advanced weapons across huge areas.
The 14-minute video illustrates how the US coastline becomes a testing ground, where significant amounts of seemingly harmless but traceable chemicals are released to the air and water.
The US Navy used huge sprayers on minesweepers and crop-dusting sprayers on naval planes to conduct huge tests across the Western seaboard.
The United States began its chemical weapons program in 1917, during World War I. The program came to its end 73 years later in 1990, when Washington practically adopted the Chemical Weapons Convention arms control treaty.
The United States produced nearly 40,000 tons of chemical weapons since World War I until 1968. The weapons were either nerve agents or blister agents.
The US Army disposed of thousands of chemical warfare agents and ammunition into the sea between 1967 and 1970, as part of the Operation Cut Holes and Sink 'Em (CHASE). Two years later, Congress passed a bill that prohibited such dumping measures.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

VA Accused of Denying Benefits to Servicemen Sickened by Toxins

Senate committee hears testimony on two bills aimed to offer sick veterans relief

 WASHINGTON—Military service members can be exposed to many toxic substances in their occupations that most nonmilitary can’t fathom or appreciate.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs (SVAC), said at a hearing on Sep. 29 that the modern battlefield has all sorts of toxic substances perilous even for the veteran not engaged in combat.
Service members, and sometimes their families, contract maladies, especially cancer, that manifests after leaving service. Then they must face the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, a bureaucracy that may be slow or unwilling to recognize the connection between the veteran’s illness and his or her exposure to a toxic substance during service.
“While the impact is undeniable, establishing and qualifying a clear link between the [toxic] exposures and health effects has become an intolerably long and complex process,” said Blumenthal.
The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs heard from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), several veterans groups, and three angry U.S. senators.
Emotions ran high at the hearing as advocates for veterans strongly disagreed with representatives of  VA on the way veterans’ claims are processed, and on the efficacy of two bills that the committee is considering—S.901 and S.681—which the veterans’ organizations strongly support.
VA was accused of obstructing and evading the granting of benefits to deserving individuals who may lack the resources or strength to fight the bureaucracy. The VA responded that it has a scientific process for assessing claims.


Vietnam–US relations balancing ideology and geopolitics
Author: Cuong T. Nguyen, University of Chicago
On 7 July 2015, Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong met US President Barack Obama at the Oval Office, marking a historic milestone in advancing US–Vietnam relations. But the trip was largely symbolic as Trong returned to Hanoi with only modest progress on comprehensive US–Vietnam relations. So, when eloquent rhetoric collides with hard logistics, what was the main roadblock in furthering US–Vietnam relations?
Many argue that ideology remains a persistent impediment to the advancement of a US–Vietnam alliance. Beyond differences in political systems, the legacy of the Vietnam War is another element of this ideological divide.
One of the unresolved issues of the Vietnam War is the damage that Agent Orange and unexploded ordnance (UXO, that is explosive weapons such as bombs and landmines which have not exploded) have inflicted upon Vietnam’s people and environment. It is estimated that over 3 million Vietnamese victims of the dioxins in Agent Orange suffer severe health problems. An estimated 800,000 tons of UXO affects 20 per cent of the country’s land area and affect 5 per cent of its arable land. With 300,000 Vietnamese soldiers missing in action, numerous divided families still carry horrid memories of the war.

PTSD Can Affect Female Vietnam War Vets, Too
By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Wednesday, October 7, 2015 WEDNESDAY, Oct. 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Women who served in Vietnam may be at far greater risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than female military service members who were stationed in the United States during that war, a new study finds.
"Because current PTSD is still present in many of these women decades after their military service, clinicians who treat them should continue to screen for PTSD symptoms and be sensitive to their noncombat wartime experiences," wrote study leader Kathryn Magruder, of the Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Charleston, S.C., and colleagues.
PTSD, an anxiety disorder, can occur after witnessing or experiencing traumatic events. Magruder's team concluded that job performance pressures and wartime exposure to sexual harassment and discrimination were more prevalent overseas than on U.S. soil, thus accounting for the possible discrepancy in PTSD occurrence.
The researchers sought to understand the impact of wartime deployment on the thousands of American women who served in the Vietnam era -- from the mid-1960s to 1973. The study results were published online Oct. 7 in JAMA Psychiatry.
Roughly 5,000 to 7,500 American women served in Vietnam. Another 2,000 were stationed in Asia at bases in Japan, the Philippines, Guam, Korea and Thailand, and 250,000 remained in the United States.
Most of the women deployed to Vietnam were nurses, but some women worked in clerical, medical and administrative positions. Although excluded from combat, they were still exposed to casualties and other sources of stress, the study authors said in a journal news release.
Magruder's team analyzed survey responses of about 4,200 women who served in the Vietnam War and were interviewed beginning in 2011. The researchers also reviewed VA medical records to validate responses.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Science-Backed Concerns About GMOs

READ HERE  Written or medically reviewed by a board-certified physician.
There are many identified risk factors for cancer, and obesity is one of them. Another potential risk factor appears to be emerging: the intake of certain herbicides used on common genetically-modified crops in the United States.
What Are GMOs?
GMO stands for “genetically modified organism,” and this particular kind of biotechnology—genetic engineering has been applied to common food crops, such as corn and soybeans.
In fact, the vast majority of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are now genetically engineered.
The stated purpose of genetically engineered crops has included: increasing crop yields, producing foods that are resistant to mold, creating crops that can thrive on saltwater irrigation, and allowing for the growth of agricultural plants that are resistant to herbicides, so that weeds may be easily killed without affecting desired plants.
Science-Backed Concerns About GMOs
A number of scientists, public health experts, and physicians have raised concerns in recent years regarding GMOs. Some of these concerns have been regarding the potential for GMOs to produce new and unanticipated allergens that will lead to new food allergies. Other concerns have been about potential nutritional alterations in the quality of the food we eat.
Some of the most alarming scientific evidence that raises concerns about GMOs has to do with the kinds of herbicides that are used on GMO crops.
GMOs and Herbicides
Corn and soybeans that were genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup®) were first made available in the mid-1990s, and these GMO crops now comprise more than 90% of the corn and soybeans planted in the U.S.
If you never eat these 5 foods, you can lose your belly hips and thighs
The big problem with glyphosate is that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has stated that it is a “probable human carcinogen”—and this is the herbicide most commonly and widely used on GMO crops.
This means that the most commonly used herbicide on most of the corn and soybeans sold and consumed in the U.S.—not to mention other genetically modified foods that are increasing in number—is likely to cause cancer.
Even more concerning is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a decision in 2014 to approve a new combination herbicide, Enlist Duo, which contains both glyphosate and 2.4-D—the latter of which was a component of Agent Orange (the toxic herbicide and defoliant used in the Vietnam War that has been recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be associated with a number of cancers and other diseases).

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) Male Breast Cancer Study Results Released

Dear Sir or Madam:
On September 16, 2015, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) journal article "Evaluation of contaminated drinking water and male breast cancer at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina: A case control study" was published ( purpose of this study was to determine if Marines who were exposed in the past to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune were more likely to have male breast cancer.
This study is one of several health initiatives that ATSDR is expected to complete in the next several years. For more information about these studies, visit or call ATSDR at (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 at Camp Lejeune. For more information about these efforts or to update your contact information, please see: or contact the Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water Call Center at (877) 261-9782 or e-mail Please share this information with anyone that may have been at Camp Lejeune in 1987 or prior and encourage them to register with us.
To contact the Department of Veterans Affairs to learn more about health care benefits, please visit or call (877) 222-8387 (Healthcare) or (800) 827-1000 (Benefits). Family members can visit or call (866) 372-1144.

The Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water Program

Veteran Affairs department in dilemma over toxic exposure claims
In a hearing on Tuesday at Capitol Hill, Senators said that the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) should actively support veterans in their claims regarding the illnesses caused by environmental exposures and contaminants during their tours of duty.
From the deserts of Arabia to South of China Sea, from Iraq to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and places elsewhere; health-related issues are common for service members. While working, soldiers might be exposed to pollutants that have led to a deterioration in their health. A USA Today report claims that some people in the VA department have inappropriately used their positions of authority and financial benefits, which questions their accountability over society.
Despite these hurdles, the VA continues its “passive-aggressive rebuttal of scientific findings” and disapproves the claim regarding compensation and healthcare, accused Richard Burr, Senator, R-N.C. But Burr is encouraged by VA Secretary Bob McDonald who is taking an initiative to improve the department’s better understanding of exposure-related problems.
"Our government rewarded them for their service by negligently poisoning them,” says Burr. He feels that it is appalling how the United States government has mistreated the families. This was in reference to 1 million residents of Camp Lejeune who consumed contaminated drinking water at the installation from the mid-1950s through 1987.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. have sponsored a bill, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, that will grant benefits to hundreds of thousands of sailors in the waters off Vietnam who served on destroyers, aircraft carriers and other large Navy ships, and who have illnesses associated with exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange.
A Military Times report said that in 2011, the Institute of Medicine released a study saying that there were not adequate evidence or information whether these "blue water" veterans were exposed to Agent Orange. While some agree regarding the compensation, others feel that the sailors were not directly exposed to toxic elements, and therefore, claims regarding their illness are not valid.
VA considers that quite a few birth defects in Vietnamese children are service-connected, including spina bifida for male vets’ children and 18 health conditions for children of mothers who served in that combat zone.
The Veterans Benefits Administration is taking initiatives to improve its determinations for the claims related to toxic exposures. This will include contracting with the Institute of Medicine and other scientific bodies to study the issues in the best possible way, said David McLenachen, VA acting deputy secretary for disability assistance.

Study Links Agent Orange to Plasma Cell Cancer Precurser
A study using stored blood samples of U.S. Air Force personnel who conducted aerial herbicide spray missions of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war found a more than 2-fold increased risk of the precursor to multiple myeloma known as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS, according to an article published online by JAMA Oncology.
While the cause of MGUS and multiple myeloma (plasma cell cancer) remains largely unclear, studies have reported an elevated risk of multiple myeloma among farmers and other agricultural workers and pesticides have been thought to be the basis for these associations, according to study background.
Dr. Ola Landgren of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and coauthors examined the association between MGUS and exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War in a study sample of 958 male veterans. Half the subjects veterans exposed to the herbicide as part of Operation Ranch Hand and the other half -- for comparison purposes -- were not exposed.
The study found the overall prevalence of MGUS was 7.1 percent in the Operation Ranch Hand veterans and 3.1 percent in the comparison veterans, which translates to a 2.4-fold increased risk for MGUS in Operation Ranch Hand veterans.
The authors noted limitations to their study, including a lack of women in the study group and the potential for unknown confounding factors such as family medical history and civilian occupation.
"Our findings of increased MGUS risk among Ranch Hand veterans support an association between Agent Orange exposure and multiple myeloma," the study concludes.

FOIA documents reveal hot spots, fish kills and toxic dumps on Okinawa military base

Following an 18-month scuffle under the Freedom of Information Act, the Pentagon has released records detailing serious contamination on Okinawa base land slated soon for return to civilian use.
The FOIA release is believed to be the first time such comprehensive records regarding U.S. military contamination in Japan have been made public.

The 82-page package, which includes reports and memoranda from the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps, reveals mass deaths of sea life, burials of toxic chemicals and the possible exposure of base workers at U.S. Marine Corps Camp Kinser in Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture. The documents also highlight the frustrations of the U.S. military as it struggles to tackle contamination in the face of previous inept cleanups and bureaucratic obstacles.
The documents, dating from the 1970s to 1990s, focus on a 46,000 sq.-meter outdoor chemical storage area located on the southern shoreline of Camp Kinser, formerly known as the Machinato — or Makiminato — Service Area. According to the reports, among the substances stored were “retrograde shipments from Vietnam,” including insecticides, herbicides and solvents.
In 1975, a large “fish kill” on the nearby coast prompted the U.S. Army Pacific Environmental Health Engineering Agency to conduct surveys of the sea and soil. The results “indicated high concentration of chlordane, DDT, malathion, dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyl.”
The pesticides, chlordane and DDT, have both been banned due to health risks; dioxins and PCBs have long been recognized as harmful, and can remain dangerous for decades when buried.
Subsequent tests on Camp Kinser in 1977 also revealed high levels of carcinogenic heavy metals, including lead and cadmium.
According to the FOIA-released records, in an attempt to mitigate the contamination, large quantities of the stockpiled chemicals were buried or “flushed” on the base — including sludge from neutralized cyanide compounds, inorganic acids and alkalis and 12.5 tons of ferric chloride. Pesticides were also buried at Camp Hansen in the town of Kin.
However, the reports suggest these cleanup efforts were unsuccessful. In the mid-1980s, during a civilian landfill project, toxins again seeped from the base, resulting in the further death of marine life.

The science of Agent Orange
The Vietnam War was the most shameful War in all of American history, a war lost by politics, not by those who fought it. It is a war that will never be forgotten and will live on into infamy. Why, It is because of the deadly herbicides used in that war, herbicides so deadly it is second only to radiation poisoning. In science it is known as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD) Better known by its code name Agent Orange. It has almost the same ingredients as the herbicide Round-Up minus the Dioxin, but can be just as harmful especially to children and animals.
The Vietnam War will never be forgotten for generations to come. Dixon in the human body of Vietnam veterans who came in contact with that herbicide it resides in the humans fatty tissue and can and has been passed on to many of their children. Half life in the human body is approx. 9 to 12 years, therefore tens of generations can continue to be infected (half life has yet to be scientifically determined). With this known fact, the Vietnam War in the minds those who fought and the minds of their survivors for generations to come, the war will never end.
How did Agent Orange infect Navy at sea!
The herbicide was mixed with diesel fuel to stick to plant life. Rain would wash it into streams and rivers that coursed into the South China Sea where our ships were. Rough seas and storms would churn up the sea's surface and the Dioxin would settle to the bottom. The South China Sea is a shallow sea. Our combat ships traveling at high speed would stir up the bottom bringing Dioxin to the surface. Anchorage areas dropping anchor also stir the bottom. Navy ships distill sea water into fresh water by evaporation, contaminated dioxin water would be sucked into the intake of the ships evaporation system. The heating and pressurizing process intensified the Dioxin by tenfold as proven by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). This is how Navy sailors at sea never having boots on ground Vietnam became sick with their fresh drinking water. The VA and Congress criticizes this scientific fact which has denied benefits to Navy at sea. Legislative Bills are introduced, but seem to fail with the next seating of Congress.
Presently there are two Bills. House Bill HR-969 and Senate Bill S.861 if passed, will afford benefits to those Navy who served at sea. Tell your members of Congress and Senate to pass these Bills.
John J. Bury, US Navy, retired, Vietnam War Veteran Media, Pa.