AO & Heart Disease
agent-orange

AGENT ORANGE TRIVIA
The US used 19 million gallons of herbicides
between 1962 and 1971 during Operation Ranch Hand


Member

Registered: Wednesday, 11 December 2002
Posts: 198
Watch for Agent Orange and heart disorder links in the future

Agent Orange Seminar in Napoleon held Saturday, April 6, 2003. The following is partial copy and paste from my report on the seminar the Ohio AMVET News. "The seminar was jointly sponsored by AMVETS Post 1313 of Napoleon and the United Auto Workers local union at the Tenneco plant.

There was plenty of audience interaction with the presenter, AMVETS Department of Ohio State Service Officer (SSO) David Barker who is stationed at the Chillicothe VAMC.

The program began with a brief review of the speakers credentials followed by a review of the book In Search Of The Truth For The Vietnam Combat Veteran. There was in depth coverage of the diabetes type 2 and leukemia issues. SSO Barker reminded the veterans it was in 1991 that Army Scientist studies had linked diabetes and dioxin exposure. SSO Barker explained diabetes type 1 is usually referred to as juvenile diabetes and diabetes type 2 is often referred to as adult onset diabetes.

The Ohio AMVETS News had published an article on diabetes and herbicide exposure written by SSO Barker in 1986. The National Academy of Sciences did a comprehensive study again in 1998 and former Secretary Togo West rejected the study and had the issue revisited. The diabetes type 2 was again presented to the Acting, VA Secretary Herschel Gober in October of 2000 and Secretary Gober approved the condition November 9th of 2000.

After review of the book, SSO Barker brought several ignored issues to the forefront. He discussed the United States Air Force study released in 2000 which proves the Ranch Hand Study was severely flawed and showing a 26% higher rate of heart disorders in those veterans in the study comparison. SSO Barker has maintained for over a decade the probability of a direct relation of heart disorders and herbicide exposure.

There was also comparison of the birth defect issue which still remains stalled, even though the studies from the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine clearly show a higher ratio of incidence for Cerebral Palsy which has been ignored.

There are several issues regarding Agent Orange and additional birth defects, which more than likely, will be brought to the forefront in the next several years of study. Many people do not understand that birth defects are reported to the authorities, at the birth of the child. Thus many defects such as learning disabilities; or sensory impairments may not be discovered for months or years. As a result many birth defects go unreported and these children suffer as a result.

The current dioxin levels and profound health problems existing today in Vietnam was reviewed and the 2002 World Health Organization report was made available to those present. SSO Barker strongly recommended those with Internet access to use the available research on line, to obtain information to assist them in learning about the dangers of dioxin."

Dave Barker

Presentation to the National Academy of Sciences
Institute Of Medicine Veterans and Agent Orange
Update Committee made July 8, 2004.


David Barker brief background:
While earning my degree at Morris Harvey College, the University of Charleston,
then graduate work at Marshall University, I worked at the DuPont plant in Charleston, WV.

Included in my duties was periodic assignment to the Research and Development "Small Lots Production."
This is where DuPont developed herbicides.

My last year employed by DuPont, I was a Detail Foreman in the construction of a new herbicide manufacturing site. I learned first hand the dangers of herbicides. DuPont chose wisely not to manufacture this herbicide, as they considered it to risky.

I am employed by Ohio AMVETS representing veterans before the VA.

I have filed over 15,000 Agent Orange related claims since February 1983.
In 1984 I filed a claim for service connected compensation for a heart condition as a residual of exposure to Agent Orange for several clients.

After all I had in my possession reports of the tests results of rats exposed to herbicides 2,3,6,7-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin.
There was mention of heart damage as well as other recognized conditions.

Those claims were denied.

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Any condition not recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (then Administrator of the Veterans Administration), will by law be denied.

Also, I feel the issues of carcinoma have been to long ignored and should be addressed immediately for those still surviving.

If the cancer diagnosis is other than one of the very few recognized the VA denies the claim.
Carcinoma claims are routinely rejected as those cancers do not meet VA required specifics.

Finally a scientific study was done in Vietnam to determine the affects on human population regarding the use of Agent Orange.

The study at my last review has not been developed in this nation for the benefit of those veterans exposed while on active duty.
It is apparent to me there has been significant downplay to, outright ignoring the studies.

In my solitary office, there appears an extreme imbalance of Vietnam veterans,
suffering from peripheral neuropathy who are denied if the veteran was not diagnosed with diabetes type 2.

It is time to reopen the study of neurological conditions.

We shall review briefly these studies made by independent sources.

Dr. Hoang Dinh Cau, chairman of the government-supported National Committee for Investigation of the Consequences of Chemicals
used in the Vietnam War, known as the 10-80 Committee, has studied the effects of Agent Orange on Vietnamese people over two decades.

Dr. Cau is not as guarded as others at Tu Du Hospital in discussing the use of the herbicide,
which contained dioxin, a contaminant many Western researchers called the most toxic chemical discovered by mankind so far.
This was also stated in my book IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH FOR VIETNAM COMBAT VETERANS.

The original essay "Poison: Agent Orange" published by The Ohio AMVET in 1983 is the chapter with that statement.
"We have recognized many kinds of birth defects associated with dioxin," Dr. Cau said, opening up a book with photographs of Vietnamese civilians identified as Agent Orange victims.
Several of the photos depict badly deformed infants. The children in Vietnam suffer a broad range of birth defects:
many have unformed limbs, others are mentally handicapped and those with extremely enlarged heads.

Vietnamese scientists and government officials believe the children, along with hundreds of thousands of other Vietnamese are victims of the massive amounts of Agent Orange herbicide that US forces dumped on South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Vietnamese researchers, as well as some of their Western colleagues, know that the more than 11 million gallons of Agent Orange that the US military introduced to South Vietnamese ecosystems created a public-health nightmare from which Vietnam has not recovered.

Vietnamese scientists believe the dioxin contamination has caused not only birth defects, but also respiratory cancers, heart problems and diabetes.

In 2000 the US Air Force released a study indicating a link between Agent Orange exposure, diabetes and heartdisease.

It has been well over 30 years since the United States stopped using Agent Orange. Thus many seriously ill patients have already died.

Pilot surveys conducted by Vietnamese researchers in December 1998 found that between 800,000 and 1 million Vietnamese had Agent Orange related health problems, in a report released in 1999 by Dr. Le Cao Dai, executive director of the Agent Orange Victims Fund of the Vietnam Red Cross.
As much as 100,000 of those affected by the herbicide suffered some form of birth defect, the surveys found.

The United States thus far has nothing to do with research, into the connection between Agent Orange spraying and health problems among Vietnamese.

The US government has dismissed without review the accuracy and reliability of Vietnamese studies on Agent Orange.

The Dr. Cau 10-80 Committee was so named because it was founded in October 1980.
It is the only Vietnamese organization to attempt systematic research into the effects of Agent Orange.
Dr. Cau said the Vietnamese government had tried studying the mysterious herbicides that the United States used as far back as 1965, but lacked the resources and knowledge to do so effectively.

"The Vietnamese Army never used Agent Orange, so they had no experts to study it," he said.

Vietnamese researchers now know that the dioxin from Agent Orange continues to affect Vietnamese born long after the war because it moves up the food chain, accumulating in higher concentrations as it goes.

According to Dr. Dai's report, 85 to 90 percent of the dioxin detected in the Vietnamese comes from contaminated food.

After an area was sprayed, the report explains, the dioxin from Agent Orange contaminated organic matter in soil as well as river and lake mud.

Animals, fish and shrimp then ingested some of the soil and mud and became contaminated.

Humans, in turn, were exposed to dioxin when they consumed contaminated animal, fish or shrimp products.

Testing for dioxin is a difficult and expensive procedure. One dioxin test costs about $700 in Vietnam, which can quickly destroy budgets of Vietnamese researchers.
 

herbicide-sprayed-areasvn

People living in sprayed areas as well as the Northern Vietnamese who served in the South during the war have higher levels of dioxin in their bodies than those who have always lived in non-sprayed areas in the North.

A study of human fat tissue in 1984-'85 found that dioxin levels in people who lived in sprayed areas of South Vietnam were 10 times higher than in people living in the North, and two to three times higher than in people residing in industrialized nations.

A 1988 World Health Organization study comparing levels of dioxin in breast milk worldwide found that nursing South Vietnamese women had significantly higher levels of the contaminant in their breast milk than their counterparts in Hanoi and in industrial countries. Breast milk from one heavily sprayed area had a level of dioxin eight times higher than samples taken from those in Hanoi, and almost five times higher than samples taken from women in the United States.

According to Dr. Dai's report, more recent tests have shown that dioxin levels in the environment and human tissues have decreased over time, while dioxin in commonly used foods has returned to normal. Dr. Dai wrote in his report that areas around former US air bases remain dioxin hot spots. His concerns about base sites are predicated partly on a 1998 environmental assessment of an area around a former US Special Forces base in Aluoi province.

In a report release by the United States Air Force in 2000 stated "this research, constituted the first systematic environmental assessment of residual dioxin's in Vietnam." This was according to David Levy, a scientist involved in the Vietnam study who is vice president for Hatfield Consultants Ltd.

"In one area around the site of the former base, dioxins are present in duck fat and fish fat at high levels," Levy said. Similar concentrations in Canada trigger a regulatory response, such as food consumption advisories and closure of commercial fisheries.

Levy also supports more outside help for research on the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

He said that Vietnam, with the contrast between the unsprayed North and sprayed South, provides what may be the best natural laboratory in the world to study links between exposure to the herbicide and health problems.

It was in 1991 that Army Scientist studies had linked diabetes and dioxin exposure. As you well know diabetes type 1 is usually referred to as juvenile diabetes and diabetes type 2 is often referred to as adult onset diabetes.

Now when a physician diagnoses adult onset insulin dependent diabetes as type 1 that claim is most often turned down as the NAS study indicates only diabetes type 2 is related to Agent Orange exposure.

The Ohio AMVETS News had published an article on diabetes and herbicide exposure written by me in 1986. The National Academy of Sciences did a comprehensive study again in 1998 and former Secretary Togo West rejected the study and had the issue revisited. The diabetes type 2 was again presented to the Acting, VA Secretary Herschel Gober in October of 2000 and Secretary Gober approved the condition November 9th of 2000.

The United States Air Force study released in 2000 proved the Ranch Hand Study was severely flawed and showing a 26% higher rate of heart disorders in those veterans in the study comparison. I have maintained for over a decade the probability of a direct relation of heart disorders and herbicide exposure.

There was also comparison of the birth defect issue which still remains stalled, even though the studies from the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine clearly show a higher ratio of incidence for Cerebral Palsy which has been ignored.

There are several issues regarding Agent Orange and additional birth defects, which more than likely, will be brought to the forefront in the next several years of study. Many people do not understand that birth defects are reported to the authorities, at the birth of the child. Thus many defects such as learning disabilities; or sensory impairments may not be discovered for months or years. As a result many birth defects go unreported and these children suffer as a result.

In terms of epidemiology, both prospective studies, similar to the US Air Force Ranch Hand study, and retrospective studies, similar to those carried out by Vietnamese medical scientists, should be done, Levy said. Dr. Cau of Vietnam's 10-80 Committee is not too optimistic about the possibility of establishing causal links that would measure up to Western scientific standards. "A long time has already passed," he said. "Mitigation of Agent Orange's effects on human health and the environment is the goal now."

It is time the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to request the National Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Medicine, to complete research on effects of Agent Orange and the heart. Then properly assist those exposed, or their survivors, to receive just compensation.

dioxindanger
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