Sunday, May 22, 2016

Agent Orange's legacy continues to haunt Vietnam and Veterans

It's been more than 40 years since American troops left Vietnam.
President Obama will make his first visit to the country next week. While meeting with Vietnam's president, they'll discuss human rights, an arms embargo and cleaning up sites contaminated with Agent Orange, the chemical used by American troops to clear jungles.
Most tourists arriving at the new Danang International Airport don't know it's been one of Vietnam's most contaminated Agent Orange sites, with dioxin levels in some areas 350 times international safety standards.
"Nor did I, when I was based here in the 1970s as a marine aviator," said Larry Vetter, a Vietnam veteran.
"The Agent Orange defoliant used during the war and stored in Danang and other airbases, leaked into the surrounding areas and is believed to have contaminated local water sources, according to Canadian researchers," he said.
"In this area next to the airport, you have people with dioxin levels in their blood 100 times the safe levels and women whose breast milk is four times the safe levels," said Vetter.
Vetter, also a former Marine based in Danang during the war moved to Vietnam four years ago after recovering from prostate cancer, one of the presumed Agent Orange-related illnesses, which nearly 700,000 American vets are being compensated for.
Vetter has used his V.A. disability benefits for Agent Orange to help two Vietnamese boys severely crippled by presumed Agent Orange illnesses.

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