AGENT ORANGE & DIOXIN INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Agent Orange has left a large path of destruction in lives around the world. We must collaborate together as community of caring people to work for the greater good of all generational victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin around the globe. Stay tuned to this page as we begin to feature ways you can get involved or simply become more educated on international issues surrounding Agent Orange Dioxin.Sincerely, Heather A. Bowser
Heather Bowser – A personal testimony to the generational effects of Agent Orange, Aug 26, 2012
Heather’s argument and cause are not confined to the U.S., however. She has shown incredible empathy for the estimated 4.5 million Agent Orange victims in Viet Nam, making visits to the care centers around hot spots such as Da Nang. She aims to create an international support network that connects the innocent survivors still bearing the burden of a war they were not responsible for. She also raised the issue of the U.S. efforts to clear up the Da Nang base, still contaminated with huge quantities of Agent Orange. “The U.S. government recently offered 43 million dollars to help clean up one of the 28 contaminated hot spots in Viet Nam. This donation is a step in the right direction, but considering the fact that the cost will only cover the clean up for two out of the five hotspots in Da Nang alone, I consider it an insult to the Vietnamese people.” She added, “the clean up comes 51 years after Agent Orange was sprayed in Viet Nam–long after it has already generated numerous victims–and that the U.S. government still does not recognize any responsibility for the human toll of Agent Orange.”
Links to current articles focusing on Agent Orange and Dioxin Outside of the United StatesDecades after war, Agent Orange still causes suffering in Vietnam HO CHI MINH CITY–Fifty kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, a withered trunk of a dead tree stands amid a mangrove forest in Vietnam’s Can Gio district. The tree was preserved as a reminder of the damage caused by Agent Orange, a defoliant that was sprayed over wide parts of the nation by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to deprive the Viet Cong of cover. Read The Full Article US Government Released ‘Investigations into Allegations of Herbicide Orange on Okinawa, Japan’ (OKINAWA) - At the request of journalists, on March 9, the US Government released a report “Investigations into Allegations of Herbicide Orange on Okinawa, Japan” (embedded below) about which Jon Mitchell wrote in The Japan Times on February 15 It appears that the US Government wants to bring a closure to the issues of Agent Orange on Okinawa by providing the report, together with the Japanese Government. Read The Full Article BUI DOI: CHILDREN OF THE DUST To this day, I sometimes wonder what has happened to the many Amerasian children born to Vietnamese women and American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Called bui doi (“dust of life”, “living dust”) they were born in a society that prized homogeneity and ties to a father as well as a mother. Read The Full Article Scientology’s dioxin treatment baseless It has been reported in the press that the Vietnamese will be using a method of detoxification called the ‘Hubbard Method’ originating within the cult called Scientology. The method employs vitamins, exercise, and sauna to ‘remove’ dioxins from the human body. Read The Full Article U.S. starts to clean up Agent Orange in Vietnam Dioxin, linked to cancer, birth defects and other disabilities, has seeped into Vietnam’s soils and watersheds, creating a lasting war legacy that remains a thorny issue between Washington and Hanoi. Read The Full Article Orange shadow over Olympics HANOI: Agent Orange (AO), often called the ‘last legacy’ of the United States war in Vietnam (1955-1975), has popped up again thanks to its manufacturer Dow Chemical’s controversial sponsorship of the Olympic Games.Vietnam is not boycotting the games but has made an official protest to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), with sports minister Hoang Anh Tuan conveying “profound concern” over Dow’s multi-million dollar sponsorship. Read The Full Article Int’l lawyers call for protection of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), an NGO with consultative status at UNESCO, called for the protection of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims at the ongoing 20th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. Read The Full`Article US scientists back reparation for Vietnamese AO victims The Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign will continue its efforts to claim compensation for AO victims in Vietnam, said Susan Marina Schnall, the co-chairperson of the campaign. Read The Full Article Redhill woman to work with orphans in Vietnam EAST Surrey College lecturer Geraldine Joyce is preparing to jet halfway across the world to work with Vietnamese orphans affected by the toxic compound Agent Orange. Read The Full Article A Chemical War Without End: Agent Orange in Vietnam It is at the governmental level, and first at the level of the United States government, that the question of support for Vietnam must be raised and that the demand for just reparations must be made. Read The Full Article RMIT University students have helped design a daycare centre that will treat children suffering the crippling effects of the Vietnam War. The Dien Ban Disability Day Care Centre opens this week near Hoi An in central Vietnam after years of design work and community meetings. Read The Full Article Toxic ‘Agent Orange’ sprayed in B.C. The cancer-causing herbicides dubbed “Agent Orange” were sprayed by the B.C. government during the ‘60s and ‘70s, according to documents obtained by CTV News. Read The Full Article And View News Video The Da Nang Airport is one of the major dioxin hotspots remaining from the storage and handling of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Ultimately, the cleanup at Da Nang will better protect the health of the nearly 800,000 nearby residents and facilitate the implementation of airport expansion plans. Read The Full Article Mike Boehm is the only man in the Quang Ngai Women’s Association in central Vietnam.
The American veteran has become a friend of hundreds of woman in the war-devastated province after coming every March for the last 18 years to help poor women start small businesses like cow breeding, making fish sauce, and small eateries by giving them loans.The veteran has called for support for victims of Agent Orange in the province, sought to raise money for scholarships for poor children and donating equipment to local schools. Read The Full Article The Taranaki Regional Council is investigating after plastic containers labelled as 2,4,5-T were discovered in the tip by a Womad visitor last weekend. Some of the two-litre bottles are labelled Weedone, manufactured in New Plymouth by the now defunct Ivon Watkins-Dow. The herbicide gained notoriety as one of two main ingredients in Agent Orange, the controversial chemical used to defoliate jungles during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. The chemical was later linked to cancer and birth defects among people exposed to it. Read The Full Article
There are many ways for dioxin, the toxic contaminant in Agent Orange, to enter the human body.
From food. From breast milk. From the vapors. From physical contact.
“There is no doubt that during and after the war, many Vietnamese absorbed this very
toxic material [dioxin]. It is our belief from toxicological research and epidemiological
studies from many countries that this dioxin probably resulted in significant health effects
– Arnold Schecter and John Constable
The issue of whether or not exposure to dioxin has affected the health of the Vietnamese has been debated since the time of the war, when the first studies were released, showing that TCDD, the dioxin contaminant in Agent Orange, causes cancer and birth defects in animals. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, now identifies TCDD as a known human carcinogen. Animal studies have found that TCDD can cause also affect the immune, endocrine, reproductive, gastrointestinal, skin, cardiovascular and nervous systems.
While scientists debate over who was exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin and what the impacts may have been on human health, there is very little debate over the fact that up to several million Vietnamese were exposed over a period of at least a decade to TCDD. There is also little debate over the fact that that at the up to two dozen “dioxin hotspots” found around some of the former US military bases in southern Vietnam, a new generation of Vietnamese are continuing to be exposed to dioxin that can be traced directly back to the use of herbicides during the Vietnam War.
“I have no future, no happiness.”
– Do Duc Diu, 12 of whose 15 children died before age 3, and father
of teenager with congenital brain seizures, Chicago Tribune, 2009.
To estimate the number of Vietnamese who have been impacted by Agent Orange/dioxin, it is necessary to separate the exposure into three potential modalities. First is the past direct exposure to the population during the years of spraying over a period of ten years. Second are those who may have been exposed to dioxin in the years during and immediately following the spraying through the contaminated soil and sediment and/or through contaminated fish and animals. Third are those who are currently being exposed to the TCDD that remains in the soil and sediment and is entering the food chain at the dioxin hotspots where the herbicides were stored, loaded onto airplane or spilled. In addition, there are those in the second and even third generations who were not directly exposed but who are potentially being impacted due to their parent’s or grandparent’s exposure. It is this latter category of those potentially impacted by the herbicides where there is the greatest scientific debate.
The population of South Vietnam during the years of herbicide spraying was approximately 18 million. Jeanne Stellman and her colleagues at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health compared the spray records with census reports during the years that Agent Orange and the other herbicides were sprayed in Vietnam, and estimated that up to 4.5 million Vietnamese were living in the 3,181 villages that were directly in the spray paths and were potentially exposed to the dioxin contaminated herbicides. In addition, approximately a million more South Vietnamese (ARVN) and North Vietnamese soldiers who were fighting in southern Vietnam during the war were potentially exposed as they traveled through the sprayed areas.
Unfortunately, there are not any firm figures for the number of adults who suffer from or have already died from illnesses associated with exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin. We also do not know for sure how many children and youth have disabilities that may be attributed to their parents’ or grandparents’ exposure to the herbicides. The Vietnam Red Cross estimates that 3 million Vietnamese have been affected by Agent Orange, including 150,000 children born with birth defects. However, this estimate is based on figures from a survey from the late 1990s, and is in need of revision.
The Vietnamese authorities identify Agent Orange/dioxin victims as those:
1. Having direct or indirect contact with toxic chemical/dioxin:
– People who lived or were in the military service in South Vietnam from
1961 to 1980.
– People who have lived or worked in areas with high concentrations of dioxin
(i.e., near Da Nang, Bien Hoa and Phu Cat airport)
– Offspring of such people
2. Suffering one or more of the following diseases:
a) Soft Tissue Sarcoma
b) Lymphoma Non-Hodgkin
c) Hodgkin’s Disease
e) Respiratory Cancer
f) Prostate Cancer
g) Multiple Myeloma
h) Spina bifida
i) Porphiria Cutanea Tarda
j) Peripheral Neuropathy
k) Type 2 Diabetes
l) Reproductive Abnormalities (in people who contact with toxic chemical/dioxin or
the wife, daughter, daughter-in-law or granddaughter, granddaughter-in-law of
people who contact with toxic chemical/dioxin).
m) Liver Cancer
n) Neurological Defects
o) Birth Defects (Children)
While there is evidence of the impact of Agent Orange on Vietnamese adults and children within Vietnam itself, one quarter that has not been heard from is Vietnamese exposed to Agent Orange who subsequently emigrated to the US or to other countries.
FROM THE VIETNAM ASSOCIATION FOR VICTIMS OF AGENT ORANGE/DIOXIN
on the organization of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT)
in Bangalore, India (3-6/12/2011)
Hanoi 29 Nov. 2011
From 1961 to 1971, during the Vietnam War, U.S. forces sprayed at least 80 million liters of toxic herbicides in South Vietnam. These herbicides now referred to as Agent Orange contained at least 366kg of dioxin, the most toxic substance known to science.
Agent Orange destroyed over 3,060,000 hectares of land, forests and mangroves and many million hectares of food crops. Its impact on human health is severe, with at least 5 million people directly exposed and an untold number of people indirectly exposed. The terrible consequences of Agent Orange for the environment and people of Vietnam have resulted in a public health crisis and the destruction of our ecosystem, constituting one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes in history.
Out of approximately 3 million Vietnamese victims of this poison, so many have died, many thousands of others suffer with incurable diseases and many thousands of children have been born with severe birth defects and are living a life even worse than death.
Agent Orange was produced by U.S. chemical companies and supplied to the U.S. forces for use in the Vietnam War. The most notable among these corporations are Dow Chemical and Monsanto – two out of the six defendants that are on trial before the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal.
These companies all knew that the levels of the dioxin contained in Agent Orange made it extremely toxic, that the amount of dioxin in the Agent Orange used in Vietnam was much higher than the amount used in agriculture in the U.S., and that the defoliation program launched by the United States was, essentially, chemical warfare, violating international law and the law of their own nation.
All of these facts are contained in the legal briefs filed by the Vietnamese and U.S. veteran plaintiffs in the courts of the United States in the last decades and were most recently confirmed by the judgment of the“International Peoples’ Tribunal of Conscience in Support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange” held in Paris, France, in 2009.
Yet, despite all of the scientific evidence, the body of international law and treaties and international conscience, the U.S. courts decided to cover up the crimes committed by these chemical companies, and facilitate their escape from all legal liability. In fact, these decisions are a powerful incentive for them to continue to act with impunity against nature and humanity.
As an organization of victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, which has for years, engaged in the struggle to force the U.S. government and chemical companies to pay compensation, we have no illusions that the U.S. courts will duly respect fairness and act in the interest of justice that the victims of Agent Orange deserve. We have no illusions about the possibility that the U.S. government or chemical companies will abide by the judgment of the International Peoples’ Tribunal of Conscience in Support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange in the past or the forthcoming decisions of the PPT. However, we absolutely believe that the court cases and the sessions of the Peoples’ Tribunal are tremendously significant in wielding the power of public opinion to achieve justice. We also believe that justice will prevail as a result of an accumulation of different actions and efforts made by people the world over. We agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
The crimes of the chemical manufacturers are manifold and long standing. There is a connection between the harm caused to people and nature by the use of pesticides today and the ongoing tragedy of the use of Agent Orange and other chemical weapons of war. All of these constitute crimes against humanity.
On August 8-9, 2011, on the occasion the commemoration of the 50th year of the first U.S. spraying of herbicides in Vietnam, the Second International Conference of Agent Orange Victims was convened in our capital, Hanoi, by our association and other organizations among participants were over 100 delegates from 25 countries and 35 organizations. The delegates to the conference approved an international Appeal. We hope that this Tribunal will consider this appeal favorably. The core of this Appeal is that “Solidarity, Solidarity and Solidarity” should be built among all those fighting for justice, human rights, human dignity, the environment, peace and friendship and that such solidarity in both sentiment and action is necessary, not only because it demonstrates our earnest desire to share our natural compassion but also because, “only together, can we be effective, powerful and successful in achieving justice!”.
We send this statement to you in the hope that an analysis and evaluation of what occurred during Dow and Monsanto’s chemical warfare in Vietnam can contribute to the findings and judgment of the PPT. We enclose herewith documents related to the use of herbicides in Vietnam for your reference and hope they can be made part of the evidence considered by the PPT.
We always consider the results of this Tribunal as our own and view it as very valuable for the struggle of all victims of Agent Orange around the world. It is with great pleasure that, on behalf of more than 3 million victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, we sincerely wish the PPT all success in its work!
Nguyen Van Rinh
Links to current international and domestic groups focusing on Agent Orange issues in Vietnam