Monday, March 10, 2014

Vets battle VA on post-Vietnam Agent Orange claim

But the veterans’ appeals continued to fall on deaf ears at VA.
Their efforts recently received another shot in the arm: In an article published in Environmental Research, scientists from Columbia, OHSU, Boston University School of Public Health and elsewhere said the potential for dioxin exposure among the C-123 crews “is greater than previously believed, and inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption were likely to have occurred during the post-Vietnam era.”

Using algorithms developed by the Army and data from the 1994 samples, researchers compared estimates with available guidelines and standards.

“Our findings ... contrast with Air Force and VA conclusions and policies,” said Jeanne Stellman of Columbia University. “The VA concept of a ‘dried residue’ that is biologically unavailable is not consistent with widely accepted theories of the behavior of surface residues.”

Some Veterans who were crew members on C-123 Provider aircraft, formerly used to spray Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, have raised health concerns about exposure to residual amounts of herbicides on the plane surfaces.

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Agent Orange Residue on Post-Vietnam War Airplanes

Responding to these concerns, VA asked the Institute of Medicine to study possible health effects. Results are expected in late 2014.

If you have health concerns, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.

Testing for Agent Orange residue on planes

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) collected and analyzed numerous samples from C-123 aircraft to test for Agent Orange. USAF's risk assessment report (April 27, 2012) (2.3 MB, PDF) found that potential exposures to Agent Orange in C-123 planes used after the Vietnam War were unlikely to have put aircrew or passengers at risk for future health problems. The report’s three conclusions:

1)  There was not enough information and data to conclude how much individual persons would have been exposed to Agent Orange.

2)  It is expected that exposure to Agent Orange in these aircraft after the Vietnam War was lower than exposure during the spraying missions in Vietnam.

3)  Potential Agent Orange exposures were unlikely to have exceeded standards set by regulators or to have put people at risk for future health problems. - See more at:

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