Methods of toxin contamination/ingestion for Vietnam Veterans and what toxins


The first thing is - let us dispense with the fact the government says they evaluated the men in the field or the men on the remote firebases that were there their entire tour, with very few days of exceptions, in a toxin environment.  Any government or VA official that says they have studied Vietnam Veterans is talking out of his ass.

 Every US government and VA study has gone out of its way to NOT STUDY the general Vietnam Veteran population.  Instead they selected those that primarily resided and operated out of the larger bases where spraying would not have been prevalent in that geographical area.  The only study that I can find that did not do this is the Korean Study of 2003 were they took their men from a Corps area, regardless of location/job and did the analysis as to dioxin levels in the men and the medical manifestations that presented themselves 40 years after the fact.  This was primarily the II Corps area with some operating in the I Corps area.

 Every US government and VA study has gone out of its way to NOT COMPARE toxin-exposed veterans, not just dioxin, to non-toxin exposed veterans.  The exception to this is, once again, the Korean Study of 2003.  They compared their I and II Corps fellows to those that did not serve in Vietnam at all.  Is not that been the very simple question for at least 40 years now?

 While the Korean study did not study all aspects of medical issues and did not cover birth defects, the results are staggering as to what they found, including some cell systemic issues.  Had our government and the VA done these studies with the same integrity that the Korean Doctors used; many of the medical issues I have pointed out would already be covered.

 As one of our own government scientists said; this Ranch Hand study seems to be being done to exonerate the government only; and I would add the chemical companies.

 Every government and VA study has selected those cohorts that would be primarily exposed by skin contact only, not the guy in the field living in the toxins 24 and 7.

The toxin environment along the DMZ and highway 9 was incredible.  These toxins did not just disappear overnight.  In fact, if they found their way to moisture the half-life doubled – if they found their way to the wells and such the half-life almost tripled.  Some of these toxins liked moisture, especially dioxin and 2,4-D.  Therefore, we are talking about 6 to 11 years of just half-life.  Therefore, the repeated spraying became cumulative.  Already at what was called “military formula” when sprayed which was much stronger in TCDD than any heretofore known commercial formula.  The spray rates per acre were 6 to 25 times the recommend spray rates; as again we are talking “military spray rates”.  You guys did not know you were supermen, did you?

Just in air alone, some of these toxins half-life was 11 months.

Now lets be clear here.  The toxins that found their way into the water did not mean that every molecule of water was now contaminated.  That is not the way these toxins worked.  The exception to this might be Agent Blue.

Instead, they resided in the water supply and normally would sink to the bottom; at least that is what I am being told. 

However, in 2000 the Hatfield Corporation out of Canada, an environmental study group; indicated that fish, fowl, and beef was still at 65 ppt of dioxin alone.  Now that is 32 years after we left that area.  Their conclusion was that the water supplies in I Corps were still contaminated.

My argument with Dr. Birnbaum of the EPA was; I said the water was still contaminated at that level and she said no because of this sinking to the bottom of the toxins.  I guess in the purist form she maybe correct.  My argument was the environmental group said the fish, fowl, and beef were stated to be at 65 ppt in 2000 therefore this did not indicate a food chain event.  In a food chain event, I would expect a delta from the top to the bottom; this is not the case and lends itself to a common and parallel contamination and not a series of a chain of events.  The common and parallel event must be the water; whether it is at the bottom or not!

If not; that would mean that when you ingest at some rate that the body does not eliminate any of the toxins and if that were the case fellows, none of us would be here today. 

The other argument the government uses that I totally disagree with.  They state that dioxin far and above were the most sprayed of all the toxins.  That is false!  For every 13.8 pounds of dioxin in Agent Orange, there was 12 pounds of 2,4-D (the main toxin in Agent White bedsides Picloram, Nitrosamine, and Hexachlorobenzene {which became Pentachlorphenol}).  Agent White in and by itself was sprayed absent of dioxin in the hundred of thousands of gallons.  There is only a 1.8-pound difference in AO from dioxin to 2,4-D.  Now add in the hundreds of thousands of gallons of 2,4-D used by itself and it certainly bypasses AO and dioxin by an incredible amount.  Therefore, 2,4-D was actually the most used toxin by far; not Agent Orange and dioxin.        

Strictly a government convenience factor to use the unknowns of dioxin in order to deny toxin damages. 

Methods of contamination were many: 

·      Of course, direct spray or overspray.  Remember the drift rate was 11 miles or more; and you may have been skin and lung exposed and never even know it. 

·     Going through an area on convoy that had recently been sprayed with all the dust and stuff was not good. 

·     Those on convoy before 1969, your vehicles may have been dioxin aerosols.  It was found the 55-gallon AO drums used to store and transport PLO were not decontaminated properly and the residual toxins were being combusted and then put out in form of dioxin fumes.  An emergency directive was put out to MACV in 1969 on how to properly decontaminate the drums of toxins.  Whether this was actually done or not after 1969 is unknown.  You guys served in the military and how many directives went in the trash is unknown.    

·      Drinking, cooking, and bathing in contaminated water.

 ·         The Marines that came off of the hills and filled their canteens from puddles of water including sediment – not a good idea. 

·     Directive put out during the siege to boil all drinking water.  Water was boiled in 55-gallon drums cut in half.  Drums were former AO drums not properly decontaminated.

 ·          9th ID directive to use 55-gallon drum with half AO and half diesel fuel with a copper tube that ran to the exhaust manifold on the vehicle.  This was used as a mosquito repellant.  How many other units used this procedure is unknown.  Probably not the smartest thing to do.

·      Those on the firebases that lay in the wet grasses for LP and worse yet as many of us did.  Chew on the brown grass to kill time and stay awake.  Again, probably not the smartest thing to do.

 ·      When they talk about the dry white powder on the foliage, the grunts operated in; this may or may not have been strictly dioxin as the Hexachlorobenzene when it dried to this form converted to Pentachlorphenol.  This was from Agent White not Agent Orange. Pentachlorphenol in this form is very dangerous from skin contact and easily absorbed.  This causes a metabolic rate increase including diarrhea, weakness, and very fast rise in internal body temperature, sometimes to the dangerous levels.  In fact, if you look at what this toxin alone can cause many of the issues are what the government is saying caused by dioxin alone is not factual.  Exposure to Pentachlorphenol may reveal a rise in white blood cells and hypoglycemia. Can cause harmful effects on the liver, kidneys, blood, lungs, nervous system, immune system, and gastrointestinal tract.  If large enough amounts enter the body, heat is produced by the cells in the body, causing an increase in body temperature.  The body temperature can increase to dangerous levels, causing injury to various organs and tissues and even death.  This effect is the result of exposure to pentachlorophenol itself and not the impurities.

 This tends to lend itself to the fact - this is why many Marines in the field along I Corps had what was called “Fever of Unknown Origin”.  These Marines would be evacuated with sudden high fevers and gastrointestinal issues.  They would remain sometimes out of their heads for as long as three to five days.  Some were actually packed in ice.       

Therefore, the methods of contaminations were many and not limited to just Agent Orange and the dioxin in it.  The methods of contaminations also play an important role as to what will manifest in the form of disorders.  You only have to look at any EPA specification for any toxin and it is clearly a defined condition.  Along with what is differentiated in acute exposures or what is called chronic exposures and the manifestation results. 

I would contend that most of us would be in the form of chronic daily exposures and not the acute exposures.  The exception to that rule would be the Marines, I discussed above, that were evacuated due to the sudden high fevers from an acute ingestion. 

Agent Blue to me is the real question in this mix, as it also seems to be not only carcinogenic but is classified as a neurotoxin.  While the least sprayed, the impacts have not been looked at.  Although the Rockpile and the Cam Lo got a good dose of this stuff in our area.  With Carroll getting a moderate dose.  Remember in 1969 the State Department said that Agent Orange was not even an issue and that Agent Blue was the concern.  

·         Garlic odor of breath and feces, metallic taste in mouth.

·         Adverse GI effects predominate with vomiting, abdominal pain and rice-water or bloody diarrhea.

·         GI effects may also include inflammation, vesicle formation and eventual sloughing of the mucosa in the mouth, pharynx and esophagus.

 ·         Central nervous system effects are that are common include headache, dizziness, drowsiness and confusion.

 ·         Symptoms may progress to include muscle weakness and spasms, hypothermia, lethargy, delirium, coma and convulsions.

 ·         Renal injury manifests as proteinuria, hematuria, glycosuria, oliguria, and shows in the urine. In severe poisoning cases, acute tubular necrosis results.

 ·         Cardiovascular effects include shock, cyanosis and cardiac arrhythmia.

 ·         Elevated liver enzymes and jaundice may manifest producing liver damage.

 ·         Injury to blood-forming tissues may cause anemia, leucopenia and thrombocytopenia.

 There is no doubt in my mind I got into some of this around March/April of 68.  My lips turned blue along with my fingertips and fingernails.  This is called cyanosis.  At the same time or close, I developed diarrhea and an aversion to beer that caused severe leg weakness and aching.  I never went to sick call but the battalion surgeon Captain McKrosky came to me at our tent.  I had the idea that someone had asked him to look at me.  He said it looked as if I was having a heart attack.  I remember this as it scared the devil out of me.  He checked me out and said he did not think that was it.  Course it stuck in my mind for quite a while.  The VA states that because there was no record - all of this did not happen.

 The other issue I recall, and maybe Squire Knowles and Mike Keeler may recall this fact.  During the siege, there were rumors of bubonic plague starting out there.  The hill took preventive action and Doc McKrosky mixed up some form of rat poisoning concoction.  This was put into cloth mesh bags and tied at the top.  We put these out as I recall in March sometime and then collected the dead rats and burned them.  What was in that concoction I do not know but it may have had some form of arsenic poisoning in the mix? 

 Chronic Exposure can lead to the following:   











 From all of the above - the governments search for some mandated tie in to only dioxin is a joke.

 As you can clearly see there are too many unknowns as to what, where, how, and how much caused anything.

 I think you will agree with me; that no veteran really cares which toxin did it, which combinations of toxins did it, or what method of ingestion did it; only that service in Vietnam did it.

The whole thing has become a GOVERNMENT and va joke and the joke is on us!

Best that way,



E-mail SP5Kelley2nd94th@aol.com


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