Personal Challenge to the Secretary of VETERANS AFFAIRS AND CONGRESSIONAL leaders on

the senate and house veterans affairs committee

ON THE GOVERNMENT CONTROLLED AND FUNDED RANCH HAND STUDY 

 

 

ABSTRACT: {challenges on the VERACITY of the “government CONTROLLED” and funded Ranch Hand study; the impacts to the VIETNAM Veterans and their family due to the controlled processes by department of VETERANS Affairs.  as well as, GOVERNMENT caused mortality and morbidity DECISIONS affect Vietnam VETERANS by NAS/IOM personnel ASSUMING this “gold standard study” did ACTUALLY have some level of veracity, INTEGRITY, and factual STATISTICS.}

 

 

3 December 2006

 

To: Senators, Congresspersons, Government decision makers, and Congressional Staff Members

 

CO Mr. Jeff Phillips

Communications Director

House Veterans Affairs Committee

U.S. House of Representatives

335 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515

For Congressman Buyer

 

Congressman Bob Filner

Incoming Democratic Chairman

House Veterans Affairs Committee

U.S. House of Representatives

2428 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515

 

CO Mr. Jeff Schade

Communications Director

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

412 Russell
Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

For Senator Craig

 

 

Senator Daniel Akaka

Incoming Democratic Chairmen

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

 

 Mr. Len Sistek

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on Veterans Affairs

Oversight and Investigations

Room 333

Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515

 

Mr. Chris McNamee

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on Veterans Affairs

Professional Staff Member

Subcommittee on Disability Assistance

337 Cannon HOB

Washington, DC 20515

 

Mr. William McLemore

Deputy Assistant Secretary

Intergovernmental and International Affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue N.W. Suite 915

Washington, DC 20420

 

Mr. Jim Nicholson

Secretary - Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Room 1000
Washington, D.C. 20420

 

Mr. David Abbot

Staff Member

Compensation & Pension Service

VA Central Office

810 Vermont Avenue,

Washington, D.C. 20420

 

Ms. Renee L. Szybala

Director

Compensation & Pension Service

VA Central Office

810 Vermont Avenue,

Washington, D.C. 20420

 

Dr. Michelle Catlin, PhD

National Academy of Sciences
500 Fifth Street, NW

Washington, DC 20001

 

 

FROM:

Please respond to: 

Charles Kelley

2078 Eastwood Drive,

Snellville, GA 30078

SP5Kelley2nd94th@aol.com

Cell: 404-641-6477

 

Subject: The VERACITY of the government CONTROLLED and funded Ranch Hand study and the mortality and morbidity impacts to the Vietnam Veteran and his or her family via the tainted NAS/IOM –Department of Veterans Affairs decisions.

 

For more than 40 years, there has been a history of a tainted government philosophy and decisions regarding the Vietnam Veterans Toxic Chemicals Legacy.  These tainted decisions, supported by congress and presidents from the mid 1960's to the present, by NAS/IOM and Department of Veterans Affairs based on the lack of accuracy and the flawed premises of the 25-year, 140 million dollar, “government exoneration tool” known as the “RANCH HAND STUDY.”

 

For the past 25 years, this study has not given the Vietnam Veterans and their families a fair assessment and data flow for birth defects, cancers, heart disease, vascular disease, neurological ailments, endocrine disturbances, and hematological difficulties.  (Dr. Richard Albanese, principal Ranch Hand study investigative scientist, under oath during the 2000 Ranch Hand Oversight Committee)

 

More recently the media reports in at least two separate accounts quotes by several of the more recent current Ranch Hand PhD scientist members also as now concluding Ranch Hand is, was, and has been flawed in its conclusions and outcomes.  Even in the most benign form of exposures the Ranch Handers, the study failed to report at least a two fold increase in any type of cancer.

 

It is doubtful this is unexpected news by those that are in control of the Department of Veterans Affairs and it is doubtful the White House would be totally surprised by this new scientific revelation. 

 

This news is not unexpected by the Vietnam Veterans of our nation nor is this unexpected news by the surviving widows and orphans of these government caused cancers.

 

In addition, outside the discussion on the flaws of the Ranch Hand study we now find VA's own study of Army Chemical Corps workers demonstrate the following:

 

"Almost three decades after Vietnam service," the researchers conclude, "US Army veterans who were occupationally exposed to phenoxyherbicide in Vietnam experienced significantly higher risks of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and non-malignant lung diseases than other veterans who were not exposed to herbicides."

 

"The researchers analyzed the effects of Vietnam service and herbicide exposure separately, and found that hepatitis was the only health problem linked to serving in Vietnam per se."

 

Ranch Hand found the same issues of higher risks of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and non-malignant lung diseases to what is under the umbrella in the medical world of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

 

All of these same diseases and disorders were found as higher Risk Ratios in the Seveso, Italy study that did not contain toxic chemical workers; but only citizens of that local area; including the found distribution point which by default equals at least a semblance of a dose threshold.

 

Both Korean epidemiological studies of their Vietnam ground troops in I corps and II Corps also found significant increases in the same disorders plus more in the form of immunotoxicity disorders, which again by default is probably "at least as likely as not" the shorter term disorder leading to>>>>>>> the longer term cancers (all cancer sites) and cardiovascular disorders.  It should be noted here that the Korean study did not down select by Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).  Therefore, those studies certainly provides an insight into the "Boots on the Ground Veterans" and clearly not those only associated by skin exposures that did not live, fight, and were wounded in the toxic chemical government created battlefield environment.

 

An announcement on 3 December 2006: 

 

What are the possible health effects of Dioxin exposures?

 

At high enough levels, dioxins can cause cancer in humans.  They can also damage the nervous system, weaken the immune system, and alter menstrual cycles.

 

Dioxins have caused cardiovascular and respiratory problems, skin disease, birth defects, and other conditions in laboratory animals.

 

SOURCES: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

 

Yet, The Department of Veterans Affairs along with the government contracted NAS/IOM continually denies any and all dioxin associations to our Veterans’ damaged nervous system (Central or Peripheral and/or Both), many cancers, and the damages to our Immune System resulting in many many forms and medical outcomes of both cancers, smoldering cancers, leukemia’s, and debilitating autoimmune disorders.

 

How can this continual government denial possibly take place?

 

With the new, not unexpected, revelations of not only the Flawed Ranch Hand Study and the new admissions by Dr. Kang of cardiovascular and the pulmonary issues - How can this continual government denial possibly take place?

 

Perhaps it was the toxic chemical environmental suits the warriors wore in the form of Army jungle fatigues or Marine utilities.  

 

Depending on when in the life cycle impacts of the exposures the study finds the victim is certainly an impact data point in establishing our Veterans continuing battle with dioxins and dioxin like furans.  Dioxins and dioxin like furans and different dioxin isomers used at the same time this government used on them in unprecedented chemical toxicity values of the chemicals themselves*.  Then used unprecedented application rates of 6 to 25 times the normal amount recommended in civilian applications per acre of land.

 

*  The chemical company, DOW, stated in 1964 that when the dioxin levels rose above 1 part per million (ppm) during the manufacturing process this could result in "general organ toxicity" as well as "psychopathological" and "other systemic" problems.  Years after our war was over in sampling the left over barrels of the Rainbow Herbicides the samples ranged from .35 ppm to 74 ppm.  Obviously much higher than DOW found in 1964, that could cause systemic problems. 

 

Then Senators, Congresspersons, Government decision makers, and Congressional Staff Members do not forget this sampling was over a decade after our war.  Toxic chemicals in the environment have a rated half-life in the environment under various environmental conditions.  Such as in drift air, moist soil environment, ground water, or even the underground aquifer water supplies.  Science has concluded, also the value used in Ranch Hand studies, that the half-life of the dioxin, TCDD in the human body is seven to eleven years.  Therefore, even in a storage environment under certain temperature ranges toxic chemicals have a shelf life of potency.  In other words, under that condition there is a related half-life no different than a form of nuclear contamination of a certain radioactive material such as U235 isotope in comparison with a U238 isotope.

 

Senators, Congresspersons, Government decision makers, and Congressional Staff Members I am sure that you are aware the Military does not procure anything without a government nomenclature that relates back to an Federal Stock Number, Government Specification, Government Source Control, etc.  Within this hierarchy of documentation and nomenclature, there are rules for marking and identifying.  Included in this hierarchy there are rules for lot date codes - Federal Supplier Code of Manufacturers (FSCM's), which by default, gives not only the parent manufacturer but also the location of product manufacture.

 

It is unclear as to whether this was even considered when I read the sampling procedures of the stored barrels after our war was over. 

 

In other words, Veterans because of the lack of honesty by our government not only do not know what was measured but when was the product made and by whom.  Chemical production lots vary and certainly chemical lots by manufacture vary.  The question is by how much.  Since the government/VA mandates we Veterans and our widows provide a well-grounded claim.  If we are not allowed the data then how can we fight our own government with well grounded claims in what seems to be a totally biased subject of death and disability.

 

As I was reading the sampling procedures reported and the results there was question as to which of the herbicides was being measured.  This was after the toxicity was found to been much higher than expected.  The Air Force simply stated the higher reading was because of some marked drums had been switched and some Agent Orange marked barrels had Agent Purple in them.  Of course, the government and the IOM took the lower residual dioxin; TCDD measurement in order to deny our many causations, which the Air Force (a major player) and explainer of these found so-called abnormal measurements had concluded "was appropriate."

 

"Trust us" - in this issue no longer works for Veterans and their widows and orphans!

 

 This data could also lead to found chemical company fraud if the government specified a level, the vendor specified a certificate of conformance (CoC) with each lot and measurements to that level of those lot date codes but the sampling years of those lot date codes proved vendor fraudulent certifications.  We know for a fact the processes were changed to allow for a higher rate of production and to reduce government cost.  What we do not know is the impacts to the humans and the increase in dioxin, TCDD levels.

 

Then Senators, Congresspersons, Government decision makers, and Congressional Staff Members one must look at the DOW statement with a sense of fraud and misleading the world of science.  During the time this statement was made, Test, Evaluation, and Measurement equipment (TE&M) could only detect down to a level of 1 ppm.  Therefore, the chemical companies in fact had no scientific idea at what minimum level of toxicity they were seeing in "general organ toxicity" as well as "psychopathological" and "other systemic" problems.

 

Senators, Congresspersons, Government decision makers, and Congressional Staff Members this VA study by Dr. Kang of the VA, while it did find some issues Veterans and their widows have been saying for years were associated to the toxic chemicals.  The study in its statements of phone call interviews of non chemical workers found an increased risk ratio for these disorders and then reported the association was not significant with a p-value of association established at a stated p>0.05.  In a controlled setting or data that was not over four decades old the world significant standard of the comparison results occurring by chance alone of p= 0.05 would be more than likely appropriate. 

 

However, with the unknowns of the dioxin, TCDD; the unknowns of synergy values, the unknowns of Veterans even realizing they were contaminated in many ways outside of standing under a overhead plane, including it may even be what years the Veteran was there, which could be a huge minimization factor, and many other unknowns the governments data point of p > 0.05 is not acceptable. 

 

The real data in this case should be made public and what the actual p value was and how that p value was calculated.  If we have Odds Ratio's above 1 and we have a p-value of hypothetically p-0.065 with all the unknowns after a study done 40 years after our war was over: does our Congress now do nothing??

 

Does not congress have the right to order compensations and indemnity based on Veterans scientific data.  Does not congress in oversight have that right to at least look and listen to the Veterans side and not the biased government/VA side?

 

President Clinton stated in his award of some Agent Orange medical issues as "associated issues" back in 1996 that Veterans had tried to tell this government of what they were experiencing and his direct comment was "that the government did not listen."  I think I can speak for at least those Army and Marine Veterans that fought in I Corps against overwhelming North Vietnam Army (NVA) numbers that "this government is still not listening to the Nations Veterans and the their widows and orphans" - the direct victims and the indirect victims.

 

Does Congress now just dismiss the dead, dying, and disabled because a few may have developed the medical issues from something else or perhaps a smaller dose in the 1980's that was cumulative to his government caused toxic chemical ingestions during wartime.  On the other hand, because of all the unknowns science is at a loss to even define the conditions, 40 years later in order to achieve a valid positive.  It seems Congress has done exactly that.

 

This VA study has many Veterans questions that need to be answered by someone as to the real results and exactly how this data was done in order to make sure the negative found against those in Vietnam that did not spray Agent Orange is even applicable.  Especially in those areas the study found elevated in many of the same ICD medical areas as those that sprayed.  With the only association difference, being the p-value found as association to exposure.  Most especially if the p-value found is the range that VA itself in USC 38 clearly states in legal terms can be found to be a positive finding for service connection for death and disability specifically regarding herbicide exposures.

 

The data by many studies conclude the same thing the latest VA study found and in some cases, a literal dose threshold could be applied to those accidents that had a central contamination point such as Seveso, Italy.  Unlike the government who uses Odds Ratios (OR) these scientists chose to use Risk Ratio (RR) which certainly gives a more understandable evaluation of those that are dead, dying, and sick of the given population.

 

The above VA scenario is reminiscent of the Ranch Hand statements that the p-value was on the "low end of significant."  Veterans do not know what  "low end of significant" means in scientific values and how that applies to some decision to service connection, most especially when the Odds Ratios are elevated.  That would indicate we now are talking about three levels or more of significance, which seems to be government manipulative at best in determining a defined valid associations to anything.

 

Our Veterans and widows are continually denied "service connection" by the Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of the Executive Branch for these disability disorders as well as mortality.

 

What is even more amazing is that this VA study actually states a found association to Hepatitis and Military Service in Vietnam.  Yet, Congress as well as the VA has been denying these hepatic medical outcomes in our Vietnam Servicemen for over four decades that by hard data of patients, victims, and dead Veterans demonstrated years ago as an incredible increase in any segment of the population.  Instead, the government has blamed this on the Veteran and not taken responsibility, which this study says is not associated to the chemicals.  Yet, these chemicals remain one difference between this war and other wars were the hepatic disorders did not exist in the numbers our Vietnam Veterans have experienced.  Ranch Hand also found a hepatic issue in gamma glutamyl peptidyl transferase (GGT) liver enzymes associated to a linear factor of the dioxin, TCDD.  Yet, this found medical issue is dismissed at that point in time because the Veteran had not developed an ICD medical code.  Increases in GGT are certainly associated with both hepatitis as well as blockage of the bile ducts from fatty deposits leading to liver cancer.  Our own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated many times that dioxin exposures are associated to fatty liver deposits in the liver blocking bile and then creating many hepatic issues in not only the liver but other organs as well; due to the damage to the liver.

 

I would argue with the VA and the Congress based on some other studies, given a venue to do so, that the hepatic problems found indeed "is at least as likely as not" are associated with the dioxin exposures.  Regardless of what caused it our Veterans need the help of congress in demanding the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs add this to the "automatically associated" to wartime service list of medical disorders.

 

This latest media revelation is nothing new to the Veterans and their families who have contended all along "the increased risk of incidence" of those disorders found by VA itself was directly related to the wartime service in a toxic chemical environment.  In fact, many more medical issues also, by other studies, have shown a "significant statistical association" to not only these newly identified medical disorders but other medical disorders as well.  In 2000, these issues were also brought forward before the congressional oversight committee by Dr. Richard Albanese as to the many body systems that were being damaged.  ("I perceive seriously inadequate data flow to veterans concerning heart disease, vascular disease, neurological ailments, endocrine disturbances and hematological difficulties.")

 

{Copies of media releases, scientists’ comments, and conclusions will be provided in my submittal.  Please note the comments from the Air Force, a government major player, about destroying the data and not including mention of it in the final report!}  {Have we finally reached the point of total open government criminal behavior against the Veterans of the Nation?}

 

It is also put forward that if Ranch Hand found an “unreported double increase,” then those exposed by more readily absorbed methods (lung and gastrointestinal) would result in a higher than double increase.

 

In some instances, Ranch Hand scientists concluded that one reason the cancers were not significant in the Ranch Hand Cohorts was the Ranch Handers were dying from the afore-mentioned heart disease found in the VA study before cancer could even manifest.  Not a comforting thought for those Veterans that served this Nation with honor and integrity that they are dying from cardiovascular issues before they have time to develop mortality from the cancer issues, all of which is being denied by VA and our government.  Of course, now we now know that the statistics in the Ranch Hand towards all cancers was diluted based on the recent admission of study scientists.

 

Other studies such as Seveso, Italy and studies that demonstrate a statistical comparative analysis of the worst exposures also conclude years ago that cancer outcomes from dioxin, TCDD exposures were not limited to any cancer sites with little difference found in one cancer site versus all cancer sites.

 

This is primarily due to the known scientific fact that unlike some toxic chemicals these dioxins when entering and being stored in body fat do many things in parallel.  Therefore, the outcomes would be exponential of a toxic substance that only does one thing, with a short half-life, and is expelled from the body in a relative short amount of time of days or months.  Unlike the Veterans' dioxin exposure case of seven to eleven years before the dioxin even reaches a half-life of toxicity.

 

It is also noted that unlike some other toxins and toxic chemicals, dioxins are set apart as they modify cells, not kill them.  Dioxins and like chemicals modify human cells to the point that they in turn become the killers of other human cells and tissue as a secondary indirect response to the toxic chemical exposures.  Science has proven that dioxin and dioxin like furans modify the cell receptors.  Since all organs and body system cells have receptors, it would be scientifically illogical to now say that dioxin and dioxin like furans binds to only specific particular cell receptors and not any cell receptors producing an exponential outcome of medical conditions 

 

Dioxins like TCDD become chronic cumulative over life such as in mercury/lead poisoning with the Veterans service in Vietnam certainly considered an acute exposure with the level of toxicity and dose rate to which the Veterans were exposed.  Add the failure of congress to protect the rest of our nations citizens from dioxins and closely related dioxin-like furans from chemical company poisoning and the Veterans Vietnam exposures become the life catalyst for the development of cancer with the additional accumulated amounts over that life.

 

Quantitative analysis (provided with this challenge) clearly demonstrates that even doubling minuscule amounts over life at 5 ppt to 10 ppt increases cancer risk at about 1.2 to 1.3 %  This study also demonstrates there does not seemed to be a threshold model that works demonstrating there is no threshold of exposure below there was no cancer risk.  This study also demonstrates that there is not any particular cancer site elevated to other cancers and resulted in a demonstration of all cancer sites elevated.   This quantitative analysis also indicates there does not seemed to be some form of linear expression which NAS/IOM and Department of Veterans Affairs have been mandating be demonstrated in order for the Veteran/Veterans family to receive mortality and morbidity compensations.  Neither Veterans nor their widows can prove something that science itself indicates does not exist nor should they be asked to do the impossible by our government and its controlling federal agencies.

 

While this study done in 2003 used background exposure levels at 5 ppt the EPA in 2005 concluded the background levels verified by human tissue data at present are decreasing due to tighter regulations the levels in 1980 were 55 ppt decreasing to 25 ppt by the mid 1990's.  

 

With new publicly admitted-to flaws in this study used as a “government gold standard” to deny mortality and morbidity compensations for those harmed by our own government while in military service to this nation, all work done since 1991 by the NAS/IOM should be reviewed.  The review process should then determine whether these unreported findings and flaws would have changed the outcomes of what now must be considered as “tainted NAS/IOM decisions and recommendations.”

 

On March 15, 2000, the government held an important oversight government meeting to discuss status of the Ranch Hand Study.  Out of 62 members of the “Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations” and “The Committee of Government Reform,” only three congressmen bothered to show up to challenge this study.  It certainly appeared the DOD, VA, and the NAS/IOM wanted no congressional oversight and no answers since the war had been over for three decades.

 

When Congressman Shays asked the NAS representative, Dr. David Butler, Senior Program Officer under oath:

 

“Is there any scientific level that we could turn to, short of 99 percent, which would give us some way to come to a conclusion here?”

 

The leader for the IOM that makes recommendations for mortality and morbidity associations and compensations for our Nations Toxic Chemical Exposed Veterans said:

 

“The policy decisions are very clearly outside of the mandate for the committees, and the committees have never offered an opinion on the policy decisions, which are made on the basis of that.”

 

Then Congressman Shays asked, “Are you refusing to give your opinion? 

 

Dr. Butler then said, it is the VA’s job to do that as far as policy as to level of certainty.

 

The VA leader that was there, Dr. Susan Mather, Chief Public Health, and Environmental Hazards Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs simply stated congress had given the “sole power” to the Secretary of the VA and that they had accepted all that the IOM had recommended.

 

The bottom line was not one person would say at what level the associations to the toxic chemicals were actually being held.  Furthermore, no one pointed out that only the dioxin TCDD was being considered by VA and Ranch Hand.

 

To say the least, the above statement is not very comforting to Veterans or their widows.

 

One of the Ranch Hand scientific leaders then admitted under oath they were still indeed looking for “cause and effect” and that “he thought congress” had wanted the Veterans to have some other form of “benefit of the doubt” other than “cause and effect” but he was not real clear on what that was and where that fit into the scheme of things regarding recommendations for compensations. 

 

The above statement is also not very comforting to Veterans or their widows.

 

Does anyone in our government have a straight answer on this subject for the GOVERNMENT CAUSED DEAD, DYING, AND DISABLED VETERANS OF OUR NATION? 

 

The conclusion has to be NO! 

 

Congressman Shays during this 2000 Ranch Hand oversight review stated:  “We (Congress) just do not want to wait until they die before we help them (Veterans)."  "At what level do you think Government should consider compensation?”  "Should we (Government) have no shadow of a doubt?" 

 

"The reason why I am asking this question is I have concluded, based on our work that we have done on gulf war illnesses, based on our review of Agent Orange, that I have to be honest with our veterans.  By the time we will know the scientific data, you are dead.  You will either have died early or you will have died in your old age in pain, but you will not get help from the Federal Government."  (Quote by Congressman Shays)

 

Yet, it seems for 40 years the above questions and summary by Congressman Shays is exactly what our government has been doing - directed at the highest level.

 

Congress must make sure this review is an independent review as free of White House and Department of Veterans Affairs control as possible.  Veterans and their families no longer trust the Department of Veterans Affairs to do an unbiased review of anything that impacts Veterans on behalf of White House leadership.  Otherwise, outcomes will be similar to the court findings in 1989 that the Department of Veterans Affairs (the old VA) was too stringent in their demands (cause and effect) for association and that all that needed to be demonstrated was either an “increased risk of incidence” or a “significant correlation.”

 

The court then ordered all decisions and reviews by the then Veterans Administration Committee on Environmental Hazards VACEH {1979-1991} (some of them had previously worked for and represented chemical companies even in other court cases) to be reevaluated based on the newly defined rule for “associations” as opposed to the unrealistic rules of association demanded by the White House controlled VA.

 

This court order was never done or appealed.  Instead, the VA just dumped the VACEH and the NAS/IOM bias was then contracted to make two-year recommendations.

 

We do not need a repeat government performance while congress sits back and allows this to happen as Veterans go uncompensated in death and disability.  It is put forth that NAS/IOM cannot be trusted to review its own tainted work.

 

It is also put forth that White House directed Department of Veterans Affairs could not be trusted to review such new protocols.

 

There are however, a few scientists that Veterans and their families would trust to make honest assessments in any review of this issue.  These would include:

 

Dr. Linda Schwartz

Dr. Linda Birnbaum

Dr. Jeanne Stellman

Dr. Ron Trewyn

 

Although in this case as Dr. Trewyn pointed out it does not take a PhD to see the flaws, as it does not meet the smell test.

 

There are several Veterans that have researched this topic for decades and they would be useful in any review.  They also would demand that our congress fund any review because a history of biases exists against our nation's Veterans.  It would also be expected that these members be paid a salary commensurate with the GOP initiated present Veterans' Disability Commission members and staff.

 

When Veterans find that a White House memo was put out to all federal agencies in the early 1980's that in essence instructed them not to find any health associations to the Veterans and their toxic chemical exposure for the reasons of:

 

 

Would anyone conclude from the above memo Veterans and their widows have come close to getting any kind of "fair assessment" related to their medical issues from wartime service in Vietnam in a government created toxic chemicals environment?  I think not!

  

Then we have Congressional House Report 101-672:

 

1990 -“Charges of a White House cover-up have been substantiated by report, HR 101- 672, from the House Government Operations Committee.  That report, released August 9, 1990, charges that officials in the Reagan administration purposely "controlled and obstructed" a federal Agent Orange study in 1987 because it did not want to admit government liability in cases involving the toxic herbicides.”  (HR 101-672 “The Agent Orange cover-up: a case of flawed science and political manipulation.”) 

 

Would any member of congress trust the White House directed Department of Veterans Affairs to do the right thing by Veterans and their widows?  If you would, given your own congressional reports, Veterans would certainly like a congressional explanation.

 

I also will be supplying for congressional review a complete history of how tainted this process has been FROM THE START (Attachment 1) as well as Ranch Hand misconduct charges under sworn testimony in oversight (2000) to the congress, which in turn did nothing to counter the government scientific misconduct against the USED UP OBSOLETE GOVERNMENT ASSETS – THE GOVERNMENT CAUSED DYING AND DISABLED VETERANS OF OUR NATION. 

 

The search for latent illnesses associated with exposures, directly or indirectly, to “herbicides” in our Veterans Toxic Chemicals Legacy demands persistence, confronting hard truths, and above all integrity

 

Veterans should not be subjected to a lesser underground form of government where the Secretary of the VA can be all forms of government to these men and women to include the legislative, executive, and even judicial branch; even becoming in effect the Veterans Supreme Court and then not have any accountability to anyone except the president who also has a conflict of interest.

 

I do not think that is what our constitution had in mind as any form of justice by our government or separation of power towards its citizen militia.  
 

Vietnam Veterans are proud of their heritage, service, honor, valor, and integrity.  In our eyes, this nation's government betrayed us and we are living with that fact for over 40 years now.  It is ironic that the distortion of facts and continued cover-up regarding dioxin and its use has killed and/or disabled more of us than enemy inflicted deaths did on the battlefield's of Vietnam.

 

With the latest public release of these Ranch Hand study flaws and the prior history of this study being an exoneration tool, the United States Government and its congress has failed and continues to fail miserably with purpose and intent in these issues.

 

I think I speak for most Vietnam Veterans and Vietnam Veterans widows at least in the I Corps AO (of which I am familiar with the spray areas, levels of spray, and types of spray) where my guys and my Marines fought and died.  Some died trying to get toxic chemical laden water for themselves and their comrades. 

 

I am asking, (no I am now begging which makes me sick I have to beg for anything from our government - I and we did nothing wrong yet we have to beg), that the new majority will at least let me informally brief both the Chair in the House and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (VAC) or at least a representative from those chairmanships along with the oversight investigative personnel.  Including, any Congressperson or Senator on the VAC that would be interested in hearing our side.  This should also include those Congresspersons or Senators or their representatives from the Government Reform Committees.

 

Senator Akaka, you along with Congressman Lane Evans supported my single challenge on peripheral neuropathy to the Department of Veterans Affairs that is just rampant in our Vietnam Veterans.

 

Congressman Filner I met you in DC a few years back, which I doubt you, would remember.  I have been trying to do exactly what you suggested to get someone's attention in our Congress and our Senate.  Apparently, for two years now I have failed at my continual attempts to provide data and facts that apparently no one in government that wants to neither hear nor are they interested.

 

My own Republican Senators and Congressperson from the state of Georgia are not even interested in Veterans Affairs even though Senator Isakson sits on the Senate VAC.  Certainly, I have challenged them to a local meeting to present and was refused.  Therefore, in any elections they have now lost my vote.

 

I need to give credit and thanks to the past DC meeting personnel that attended my single 10 minute briefing on the peripheral neuropathy issue of Colonel Jeff Phillips, Communications Director: VA's Mr. Bill McLemore; and Mr. Len Sistek, Oversight and Investigations that listened to the data and read the data I submitted which lead to a letter from the 109th Congress to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

I know both the new Chairs are at least willing to listen as I have seen this demonstrated on the CSPAN coverage of your VAC meetings.

 

Please, please give me four hours as a minimum to convince you and your associates with real data and statistics that there are many more disorders and cancers that are "at least as likely as not" associated to our Vietnam Veterans Toxic Chemical Legacy.

 

The study data is overwhelming that demonstrates "it is at least as likely as not" the disorders that many of our Vietnam Veterans have developed that are not at present found associated are indeed medically, statistically, and scientifically associated to the direct government exposures, or the increased baseline of exposures in Vietnam, to many of the herbicides used.

 

Since dioxins and dioxin like furans are chronic dose cumulative over life, this also must be considered.  You do not discount some civilian that lived in a toxic chemical cumulative dose rate environment and then moved away since the toxic chemical ingested at the former site was the cumulative baseline causation of the later developed disorder.  This scenario should also not be mandated for our Vietnam Veterans where the Department of Veterans Affairs has time limits on removal from the one government caused environment and then discounts the cumulative issues over life to which the entire U.S. Population is exposed due to chemical companies less then forthcoming admittance of toxicity caused medical issues.

 

As Dr. Trewyn concluded, common sense should be used here along with the facts of dioxins and dioxin like furans do not produce some immediate antigenic response.

 

I ask again for an informal meeting to try and represent my Army guys and my Marines in this issue.  It will cost the government nothing except four hours of your time, as I will come at my own expense anytime, anywhere you choose.  Including if we have a successful meeting I will return after addressing any issues you choose or at least send in the requested or additional data for the VAC's review and official record.

 

I also inform you that over 1,000 Veterans and Widows on my e-mail list, plus those cumulative amounts of their own e-mail lists which is exponential as you can identify with, and those Veterans and Widows that happen to bring up my website posting: http://www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/Chas/RanchHandCancer.htm are watching your response to my challenge and request.

 

It should also be noted that while the media did not give Veterans and their Widows the credit for the incoming majority success.  I can tell you that many on my list that were republican did not support the republican candidate.  In fact, many of those that were republican, actually worked for the democratic challenger instead - becoming independent politically.

 

This is primarily, at least in part, due to our e-mail and phone conversations, my data, my published book, my appeals and data to the republican led majorities and the lack of action on their part to what Veterans perceive as their issues which seem to be opposite of what the GOP, VA, and our government perceive as our Veterans and Widows issues.

 

Question to me by a Marine Squad Leader, I Corps Vietnam

 

Why does our government beat the drums of war and then shun the warrior?

 

My personal answer based on research:  The government cost of supporting the warriors due to the government’s own mistakes.

 

Sincerely, 

 

Charles W.  Kelley

Snellville, GA

DMZ Vietnam 67-68

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT 1

 

40 YEARS OF GOVERNMENT BIAS SUPPORTING CHEMICAL COMPANIES -

NOT VETERANS

 

Twenty five years ago, the Air Force began a 25-year, $140 million research program to assess the relative

health of 1,300 ranch hands, air and ground crew members who handled and sprayed Agent Orange and other

herbicide defoliants in Vietnam.  The Ranch Hand Study was designed to generate significant scientific data and

analysis to be used by the Department of Veterans Affairs [VA], and others in making health care and compensation decisions regarding Vietnam Veterans.

 

Nevertheless, according the General Accounting Office [GAO], Ranch Hand has been slow to publish findings, unwilling to share data, inconsistent in conveying design limitations, and resistant to congressionally mandated participation by independent parties.

 

Controversial from the outset, the Ranch Hand study has been consistently criticized for both scientific and administrative shortcomings.  Many believe Ranch Hand has so far failed to fulfill its promise as the pivotal longitudinal study of herbicide toxicity.  Some conclude it never will.  Others believe this research was designed to fail, or manipulated to avoid controversial findings.

 

Senator Daschle concluded when the first report was released in 1984 when compared to the original scientific draft that this was not just an interpretation of the medical facts found but also the “perpetration of fraudulent government conclusions.”

 

Even when the present day medical and statistical evidence is strong enough to show “increased risk of incidence” or a “statistical increase” in medical issues either directly related to dioxin and/or Wartime Service in Vietnam our diseases and disorders are denied.  In some cases, a found linear dose response to dioxin alone is not reported as a medical issue for our nations Vietnam Veterans and their doctors to assist in a diagnoses or a first strike.

 

At some point these “biased actions” or “lack of actions” become criminal.

 

The Veteran community is disabled and dying of illnesses caused by our own government and are denied by the Secretary of the VA using the power of Title 38.U.S.C 511(a). 

 


 

Ranch Hand Studies

 

On March 15th of 2000, the most important government meeting for Vietnam Veterans and their families since our war was over was held.  This was a “government oversight meeting” to discuss the status of the Air Force’s ongoing “dioxin research only” called the Ranch Hand Study. 

 

Yes, I did say “dioxin research only.”  As with all government studies, they have been “reduced” or “constrained” to only study the one component of Agent Orange and that being dioxin.  Totally disregarding the other two militarized herbicides of Agents White and Blue, much less the other 15 commercial named herbicides that were used. 

 

When Ranch Hand scientists actually brought this lack of comprehensive evaluations subject up in the transcripts, the answer was,  “That just leaves opportunities for future studies.”

 

Veterans are seeking government help and the medical answers to avoid becoming disabled or taking a dirt nap and this study is looking for “future employment opportunities.”  

 

This flawed study, as well as totally disregarded evidence from other studies, prevents compensation because illnesses which should be recognized and thereby “service connected” are not recognized.  As well, Veterans are often not given adequate medical treatment for these illnesses in the VA health system. 

 

This was held as a “government oversight review” of this Air Force study that determines not only our Vietnam Veterans fate but also the fate of many other Veterans by using these controlled and manipulated government studies.  Not only for compensations but also for medical treatment by our nations doctors and being classified as “Service Connected,” which is also tied to many “state benefits for Disabled Veterans.”

 

Out of 62 members of the “Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations” and “The Committee of Government Reform,” only “three congressmen in total” bothered showing up to challenge this study, and the DOD, and the VA, and the NAS/IOM; as to why this study and the whole process of determining compensations vehemently wanted no congressional oversight!

 

When Congressman Shays asked the NAS representative, Dr. David Butler, Senior Program Officer, Veterans and Agent Orange Reports, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences also under oath:

 

“Is there any scientific level that we could turn to, short of 99 percent, which would give us some way to come to a conclusion here?”

 

The leader for the folks at the IOM that make the recommendations for mortality and morbidity associations and compensations for our Nations Toxic Chemical Exposed Veterans then comes back and says:

 

“The policy decisions are very clearly outside of the mandate for the committees, and the committees have never offered an opinion on the policy decisions, which are made on the basis of that.”

 

Then Congressman Shays asks, “Are refusing to give your opinion?  The answer was of course yes. 

 

Dr. Butler then says it is the VA’s job to do that as far as policy as to level of certainty.

 

The VA leader that was there, Dr. Dr. Susan Mather, Chief Public Health and Environmental Hazards

Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs just simply stated congress had given the “sole power” to the Secretary of the VA and that they had accepted all that the IOM had recommended.

 

The bottom line in this lets not answer circle of political spin - was no one would say at what level the associations to the toxic chemicals is actually being held.  NO ONE!  Including no one pointed out that only the dioxin; TCDD was being considered by VA and Ranch Hand.

 

The above statement is not very comforting to Veterans or their widows, to say the least.

 

Then one of the Ranch Hand leaders then admitted they were still indeed looking for “cause and effect” and that “he thought congress” had wanted the Veterans to have some other form of “benefit of the doubt” other than “cause and effect” but he was not real clear on what that was and where that fit into the scheme of things as to recommendations for compensations. 

 

The above statement is also not very comforting to Veterans or their widows, to say the least.

 

Does anyone in our government have a straight answer on this subject for the dead and dying? 

 

The conclusion has to be NO!

 

Congressman Shays recants; at what level do you think Government should consider compensation? Should we have a no shadow of a doubt?  The reason why I am asking the question is I have concluded, based on our work that we have done on gulf war illnesses, based on our review of Agent Orange, that I have to be honest with our veterans.  By the time we will know the scientific data, you are dead.  You will either have died early or you will have died in your old age in pain, but you will not get help from the Federal Government.

 

Congressman Shays:  “We just do not want to wait until they die before we help them.”

 

Yet, it seems for 40 years that is exactly what our government has been doing!

 

Congressional charges were made that the study was slow to publish findings and that many suggested that the DOD/VA/Ranch Hand collaboration were less than forthcoming in the truth regarding many found toxic chemical medical issues with regard to severity and volume.  In one period for over three years, the Ranch Hand did not even meet, while Vietnam Veterans died or became disabled with no government help.

 

One of the scientific advisors to the VA, as well as former and present members of this scientific study made additional charges concerning the flaws of the Ranch Hand Study.  The areas of most “serious concern” are:

 

·    The use of command influence.

 

·    Protocol violations and the changing of established protocols and were considered quite serious.

 

·    The changing of the concluding medical statements after they had been cleared for publication.

 

·    Scientists did not consider themselves intellectually free.

 

·    The study was crafting for publication only.

 

·    The study was being used as world gold standard, which is incorrect.

 

·    If integrity in this study could not be improved then it was suggested that this study as well as any future studies be done by an “independent organization” not controlled by an entity of our own government.

 

·    When discussing birth defects on the paternal side, one of the principal Ranch Hand scientists concluded the published findings of this study were a real tragedy.

 

·    A principal Ranch Hand scientist also concluded that for twenty years the Ranch Hand study had not given the Vietnam Veterans a fair assessment of their health status in many different medical areas.  These medical areas were in cancers, birth defects, heart disease, vascular disease, neurological ailments, endocrine disturbances, and hematological difficulties.

 

·    Cohort selection was questionable.

 

·    Several scientists indicated that they wanted to see other data that had not been associated with the DVA.

 

After reviewing this congressional transcript and over 600 pages of Ranch Hand meeting transcripts (not the published reports), as a former components engineer and working in the failure analysis field; I can certainly understand why this study and the DVA processes used to correlate compensations wanted no congressional oversight.

 

Also found were:

 

·    Charges of this study being done only to exonerate our own government.

 

·    Charges of whole chapters being rewritten to de-emphasize the medical findings.

 

·    Many issues found and then not brought forward.

 

·    When one scientist suggested he and the others did not want to review the drafts until the Air Force made all their changes from the scientific draft, the leader then stated, we do not want to say, “changed.”  The scientists then stated OK, how about “air brushed?”  At this point laughter broke out in the room.

 

I can “assure this committee” that no veteran or veterans’ widow is laughing at this despicable behavior.  We are disabled and dying and this is no laughing matter.

 

The most egregious issue I found was the discovery of liver enzyme issues and then the suggestion was made that they inform the cohorts to tell their personal doctors of this issues and let them handle it.  Never mind the 2.3 million of us that also do exist; or at least did exist.

 

A huge misconception about the Ranch Hand study is that it is studying Agent Orange Herbicides.  This is not the case and is a misconception.  This study had been government reduced to linear dose responses found to the contaminate dioxin (TCDD) only.  Even when a dose response is found and no overt disease or disorder is detected “at that moment in medical time,” these findings are discounted and not brought forward into the light of the medical community. 

 

What was not taken into consideration is the longer-term systemic damages found to dioxin only. 

 

An honest assessment would be that they did find a dose response to certain medical abnormalities, inform the nations doctors of such findings, and let the doctors of our nation decide if it is culpable in the Veterans medical manifestations.

 

When no mandated dioxin dose response is found, even if a 50% or more increase is found in one medical issue, it also is not brought forward.

 

This study was not a fair assessment since there were at least four other toxic chemicals involved. 

 

It is interesting to note that in 1969, our State Department concluded that the Agent Orange herbicide was of little concern while the herbicide Agent Blue with its “arsenic acid” was a concern.

 

It is also interesting to note that in 1990 Doctor Daniel Teitelbaum, a noted toxicologist, stated in response to our Veteran issues in a letter to Admiral Zumwalt the following:

 

“What I do think...may bear on the Agent Orange issue, is the fact that in review of Dow’s 2,4-D documentation I found that there are significant concentrations of potentially carcinogenic materials present in 2,4-D "which have never been made known to the EPA, FDA, or to any other agency."  Thus, in addition to the problem of the TCDD which, more likely than not, was present in the 2,4,5--T component of Agent Orange, the finding of "other dioxins" and closely related "furans and xanthones" in the 2,4--D formulation was of compelling interest to me.”

 

Veterans more than likely have other forms of dioxins other than TCDD in the Agent Orange herbicide.  Agent Orange was a 50/50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and the DOW 2,4-D referenced by Doctor Teitelbaum.  With the additional issues included of closely related furans and xanthones in 2,4-D.  This also creates a synergy effect with more than one toxic chemical in the same formula.  This can increase the potency of the chemicals as much as 1600 times over what each one would be separately.

 

In addition, 2,4-D was used as separate herbicide in the millions of gallons as Agent White, which also contained the toxic chemicals Hexachlorobenzene and Nitrosamines.

 

The toxic chemical 2,4-D is also very cumulative over life and is very similar to the dioxin, TCDD in lipid cell attachment remaining in the body for decades.

 

 


 

Biased VA History

 

The tainted and directed biased history of the old VA and the new DVA is unmistakable, operating at the behest of the White House.

 

House Report 101-672, released in 1991, indicates the White House interfered with the Agent Orange Center for Disease Control studies.

 

In a quote by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt who was special pro bono assistant to the Secretary of the VA.

 

“The White House Bureau of the Budget put out a memo to all the agencies of government in essence not to find a correlation between Agent Orange and health affects.  Stating that it would be most unfortunate for two reasons:

 

A) The cost of supporting the Veterans.

B) The court liability to which corporations would be exposed.”

 

Admiral Zumwalt (now deceased) over a decade ago in 1991 in his VA report concluded the following:  (After four years of research I now totally agree with the Admirals quoted statements.)

 

“Political interference in government sponsored studies associated with Agent Orange has been the norm, not the exception.  In fact, there appears to have been a systematic effort to suppress critical data, or alter results to meet preconceived notions of what alleged scientific studies were meant to find.”

 

“Were the faulty conclusions, flawed methodology and noticeable bias of committee’s an isolated problem, correcting the misdirection would be more manageable.  But, experience with governmental agencies responsible for specifically analyzing and studying the effects of exposure to Agent Orange strongly hints at a discernible pattern, if not “outright governmental collaboration,” to deny compensation to Vietnam Veterans for disabilities associated with exposure to dioxin.”

 

These statements certainly implying that our own government had the best interests of the chemical companies in mind rather than the Veterans of our nation.

 

At this time in our history, American History should indicate the chemical companies and our own White House became coconspirators in minimizing any toxic chemical damages.

 


 

As the denial of toxic chemical damages, become no longer plausible in our earlier returning Vietnam Veterans, the VA (DVA) then went into its propaganda and collaboration mode.

 

The Vietnam War was almost over…veterans appeared in VA hospitals and outpatient clinics blaming Agent Orange for their illnesses.  VA’s top-level officials rejected any claims that Agent Orange made Veterans sick.  Their illnesses were not recognized; their claims rendered no compensation of care.

 

What appeared to matter most to our government was that the unexplained illnesses “not be linked” to Vietnam or to Agent Orange.

 

For Agent Orange studies, VA found former chemical company scientists who could be expected by their prior work to conclude that veterans had not been harmed by Agent Orange.  Their previous job was to prove that any of the companies they represented; that none of their products were toxic and were like Orange Juice and good for you.

 

Even when some honest VA employees started pouring over spray records and asking questions of the chemical companies, VA management told them to cease and desist.

 

VA leaders began to worry and met behind closed doors with two consultants, Drs. Walter Melvin and Ben Holder.  Melvin was a former scientific director for the Air Force.  Holder was a medical director for Dow Chemical, the major manufacture of Agent Orange.

 

VA rewarded Melvin’s support by appointing him to do a study on an industrial disaster involving dioxin.

 

Dr. Gerrit Schepers of VA’s Washington office, a former researcher for Monsanto Chemical (one of the Agent Orange manufactures), was chosen to lead the VA’s new Agent Orange Group.

 

In 1985, the head of VA’s Environmental and Hazards office went out into the scientific community and publicly charged that any scientists that found Agent Orange harmful was nothing but a “Witch Doctor.”

 

In 1979, the very first committee was formed called the Veterans Administration Committee on Environmental Hazards or VACEH.  This committee operated for 13 years until 1991 until scathing reviews of their processes and work was published.  Comments were made that the committee was totally biased, charged that most had also worked for or represented chemical companies prior to the committee appointment, questions were posed as to what the committee’s actual intentions were, and that nothing the committee had done should be used to recommend anything, much less Veterans compensations or associations.

 

In 1991, the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine (NAS/IOM) took over the previous function of the VACEH it also seems to be less than forthcoming.  In my review, I have tried to give this group the benefit of the doubt of actual DVA collaboration.  One scientist in the congressional oversight review charged the NAS/IOM was not getting the found facts from the Ranch Hand study.  {In my conversation with one of the scientists on the NAS/IOM, I did not find that plausible.}

 

Found in NAS/IOM reviews were statements that confirmed, “We know it is possible that dioxin caused {whatever} medical issue.  We just do not know how to apply that to the Vietnam Veterans.”

 

That would indicate to me that this scientific body is more tied to the Secretary of the VA’s directives and processes “whatever they are,” than actual common sense. 

 

In 1991, Admiral Zumwalt (now deceased), a former member of the JCS, after completing a two-year study as pro bono special assistant to the Secretary of the VA concluded the following in his DVA report using independent prestigious scientists and research groups:

 

 “…it is at least as likely as not that the following are caused in humans by exposure to TCDD: non-Hodgkin' s lymphoma, chloracne and other skin disorders, lip cancer, bone cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, birth defects, skin cancer, lung cancer, porphyria cutanea tarda and other liver disorders, Hodgkin's disease, hematopoietic diseases, multiple myeloma, neurological defects, autoimmune diseases and disorders, liver cancer, nasal/pharyngeal/esophageal cancers, leukemia, malignant melanoma, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, brain cancer, psychosocial effects, and gastrointestinal disease are service-connected.”

 

This report was stamped:  NOT FOR PUBLICATION AND RELEASE TO THE PUBLIC.

 

The EPA dioxin reassessment in 1992 through 1996 concluded that the threshold for immune system dysfunction was 100 times less than that of a cancer and for some disorders, there may not be this mythical dose response.  Therefore, the obvious question would be, where are the autoimmune diseases and disorders listed on the DVA "Agent Orange" association list?

 

After reviewing this data and coming up with certainly a novice conclusion since my education in the medical field is limited is as follows:

 

That while dioxin does not create an antigen response directly; the cell, enzyme, and hormone change it creates does create as a secondary effect immune system response to those changes.  You must remember that dioxin is not a cell killer it is a cell, hormone, enzyme, etc modifier.  This would be no different in “the world of medicine today” that has concluded you can develop NON-HIV-AIDS.  While you did not see the virus as an exposure, something caused the immune system dysregulation that mimics the body’s response to the virus, including all symptoms and disorders and including end-stage.  Now if this can happen with the AIDS virus it would be obscene to think that a known cell modifier in dioxin or the combination of potent toxic chemicals to which the Veterans were exposed could not cause the same impacts in whatever manifests; thereby replicating an exposure to any such viruses.  These manifestations would more than likely depend on many issues.  One of which would be the individual’s immune system within his or her own self.

 

Many individuals can be exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus.  While the outcomes are somewhat categorized not everyone exposed will develop the exact same medical disorders, cancers, or even symptoms.

 

No, the outcomes of toxic chemical exposures (plural) even disregarding the DVA denied Central Nervous System effects are not as specific as the DVA Secretary has included and wants to conclude.

 

The Korean study on the immune system with its cohort selection, more or less to some level, verified what I am conveying today.

 

Bearing in mind, they actually had three groups of cohorts.(19)

 

Group 1 was Vietnam Veterans that were manifesting associated disorders.

Group 2 was Vietnam Veterans that were not manifesting associated disorders.

Group 3 was Non-Vietnam Veterans.

 

Group 1 and 2 demonstrated this B and T cell dysfunction.  While group 3 “did not” exhibit, the B and T cell dysfunctions.  This study results concluding that even those that had not manifested yet, but did serve in Vietnam were also being affected.

 

Even his disorders of 28 issues has grown to the following of which I believe I can make a good case for most of these diseases and disorders to be service connected to either dioxin and/or Service in Vietnam.

 

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chloracne and other skin disorders, lip cancer, bone cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, birth defects (physical and mental), skin cancer, porphyria cutanea tarda family of disorders and other liver disorders (such as biliary disorders), Hodgkin’s disease, hematopoietic diseases, multiple myeloma, neurological defects (such as neuropathy; any form to include autonomic nerve damages), cognitive disorders and deficits, autoimmune diseases and disorders (defined and undefined medical codes), leukemia, lung cancer and forms of obstructive airway diseases, kidney cancer, malignant melanoma, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, nasal/pharyngeal/esophageal cancers, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, liver cancer, brain cancer, neuropsychological effects, gastrointestinal diseases, amyloidosis (primary, secondary, or toxic chemical tertiary), macroglobulinemia (in any form), forms of  osteoporoses and/or bone loss, vascular necrosis, spondylosis, radiculopathy (including herniation of the nucleolus pulposus), brain atrophy, brain infarction, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, vasculopathy, vascular diseases, valvular heart disease, MS, and Parkinson’s. 

  

I will not get into “Birth Defects,” as that should be a separate discussion another time perhaps.  I can tell you that it is as collaborative as what I have conveyed  today.  To include that anyone that would consider of all the toxic chemical exposures that are known for the potential for mutagenicity, clastogenicity (chromosome damages), and teratogenicity caused birth defects and then put forth the theory that only one specific unique birth defect of Spina Bifida would be the only single result from these exposures is spurious at best.

 

Including; that even some of our nations doctors are now going up against the less than truthful BVA with this ridiculous conclusion that only spina bifida is the single result.  Given that spina bifida itself falls under the category of a neural tube defect and that, at least all neural tube defects caused by a teratogenic toxic chemical should be included.  If not, then it makes no embryologic logical sense in the world of medicine and science.  Of course, the DVA already knows this.

 

 Overall Conclusions

 

Vietnam Veterans have never been given a fair assessment of their health status by our government, which includes the DVA.  Much less given consideration for disabilities that they can no longer perform due to denied toxic chemical damages.  No Veteran is asking for pain and suffering. 

 

Only those medical issues and disabilities that put them at a disadvantage or has disabled them in one form or another does any Veteran expect compensations.

 

 

Charles Kelley

2078 Eastwood Drive

Snellville, GA  30078

770-979-1863

SP5Kelley2nd94th@aol.com

 

DMZ Veteran 67-68

2nd Battalion 94th Artillery, 175mm SP

Attached US Third Marine Division

 

 

References and Evidence can be furnished upon request:

 

(1) March of 2000, House of Representatives, Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, Washington, DC, ;Oversight review of the Ranch Hand Study.

 

(2) October 26-27, 1998 Ranch Hand Advisory Committee Meeting, transcripts.

 

(3) August 26-27, 1999 Ranch Hand Advisory Committee Meeting, transcripts.

 

(4) October 14-15, 1999 Ranch Hand Advisory Committee Meeting, transcripts.

 

(5) October 19-20, 2000 Ranch Hand Advisory Committee Meeting, transcripts from day one.

 

(6) October 19-20, 2000 Ranch Hand Advisory Committee Meeting, transcripts from day two.

 

(7) January 22-24, 2001 Ranch Hand Advisory Committee Meeting, Transcripts.

 

(8) March 12, 2003, Ranch Hand Advisory Committee Meeting Transcripts.

 

(9) The Story of Agent Orange as reported in the U.S. Veteran Dispatch Staff Report November 1990 Issue.

 

(10) Department of Veterans Affairs Report “Classified Confidential Status 1, not for Publication and Release to the General Public.”  A report regarding adverse health affects from exposure to Agent Orange; Dated May 5 1990.

 

(11) House Report 101-672 -“The Agent Orange cover-up: a case of flawed science and political manipulation.” 

 

(12) Taped interview by Moon Callison with Admiral Zumwalt on July 26th 1999 discussing his role in the Department of Veterans Affairs Report “Classified Confidential Status 1, not for Publication and Release to the General Public.”  A report regarding adverse health affects from exposure to Agent Orange; Dated May 5 1990.  (America’s Defense Monitor (ADM's) Moon Callison interviews the former Chief of Naval Operations, for "Environmental Impact of War").

 

 (13) American Legion Magazine dated June of 2004 – “Agent Orange Haze of Deception,” by Mr. James V. Carroll.

 

(14) See L. Casten, Patterns of Secrecy: Dioxin and Agent Orange (1990) (unpublished manuscript detailing the efforts of government and industry to obscure the serious health consequences of exposure to dioxin).

 

(15) EPA Collusion with Industry: A Very Brief Overview, by Liane C. Casten, Environmental Task Force Chair of Chicago Media Watch.

 

(16) Impact of Agent Orange Exposure among Korean Vietnam Veterans – Industrial Health 2003, 41, 149-157

 

(17) Short and Long Term Morbidity and Mortality in the Population Exposed to Dioxin after the Seveso Accident – Industrial Health 2003, 41, 127-138

 

(18) Health Effects of Dioxin Exposure:  A 20-Year Mortality Study – American Journal of Epidemiology Vol. 153: 1031-1044

 

(19) Immunotoxicological Effects of Agent Orange Exposure to the Vietnam War Korean Veterans – Industrial Health 2003, 41, 158-166

 

(20) Re-Evaluation of Dioxin A Presentation by Dr. Linda Birnbaum, Director Environmental Toxicology Division U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) To the 102nd Meeting of the Great Lakes Water Quality Board, Chicago, Illinois July 15, 1993

 

 

Additional references not cited:

 

(21) Industrial Health 2003, 41, 215-230 – Developmental Neurotoxicity of Dioxin and Its Related Compounds.  (If dioxin can have this much disastrous effect on the developing brain then to not say it cannot effect the developed brain once it crosses the brain blood barrier would be meet no logical scientific conclusions.)

 

(22) Industrial Health 2003, 41, 175-180 – Dioxin:  Exposure-Response Analysis and Risk Assessment.  (Doubling background levels of dioxin increases the risk of cancer by at least 13%.  However, one must consider the levels that Vietnam Veterans were exposed in the range of parts per million not the standard of 5 parts per trillion.)

 

 

 

 

MEDIA ONE

 

Agent Orange study findings called flawed

 

Two scientists involved in 25-year, $140 million study say it may underestimate cancer risks for Vietnam vets

By Clark Brooks
STAFF WRITER

A design flaw in the federal government's $140 million study of the health effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam veterans has resulted in a quarter-century of inaccurate findings, two scientists involved with the study told The Greenville News.

Begun in 1978 to help settle compensation claims, the Air Force Health Study will end this week as it began, in controversy, with tens of thousands of veterans still seeking answers to chronic illnesses they attribute to herbicides used during the Vietnam War.

Agent Orange and other herbicides sprayed in Vietnam to destroy enemy crops and jungle cover contained cancer-causing dioxin. The U.S. Air Force, however, is closing up shop on the study having found no increased incidence of a serious illness other than diabetes.

The study has compared airmen directly involved with the spraying missions, called Operation Ranch Hand, to Air Force veterans who served in Southeast Asia but had no role in spraying.

However, hundreds in the comparison group spent time in Vietnam and may have been exposed to herbicides, too, said Joel Michalek, who worked on the study from the beginning and was its principal investigator for 14 years until he left in May.

"It spoils everything," Michalek told The News.  "It's as if you're running a clinical trial on a new medication, and you found out some of the people who were in your placebo group were actually taking meds.  That would spoil your whole study.  And that's what's going on here in this study."

Michalek co-authored two articles published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2004 and 2005 that found significant rates of cancer in the Ranch Hand and comparison groups.

Air Force spokesman Ed Shannon declined to make officials available for comment.  Shannon was asked why Michalek's analysis published in the Journal showing cancer trends in the comparison group of veterans was not used in the analysis for the final Air Force report published last year.

The Air Force noted in an e-mail reply that a "recently published analysis" showed an increased cancer risk in Ranch Hand and comparison veterans.  Shannon said Saturday there would be no further Air Force analysis.

In a follow-up e-mail, the Air Force said the final report included only the veterans who attended the last round of medical tests in 2002 and that all physical examination reports follow the same basic analytical plan.

Michalek's finding of cancer in the comparison group was not used in the analysis for the Ranch Hand report.

Michalek said he followed up on the cancer articles with an analysis that allowed for the exposed control group and other factors and found a doubling of cancer in the Ranch Hand group.

Further research needs to be done to strengthen these findings and figure out what other diseases the Air Force scientists may have missed because of the exposed comparison group, Michalek said.

The comparison veterans, he said, are similar to average Vietnam veterans, from nurses to truck drivers, who spent most of their time in base camps.  The comparisons' data also should be studied further, he said.

The results could matter greatly to thousands of Vietnam War veterans who've never received compensation for debilitating illnesses that earlier Ranch Hand study findings said couldn't be linked to Agent Orange.

A Department of Veterans Affairs analysis in 1998 found 92,276 Agent Orange claims for compensation had been filed by veterans and their survivors. Of those, 5,908 had been approved.

The analysis was done before diabetes was added to the list of diseases eligible for compensation, which would make both columns much higher today, said Jim Benson, a VA spokesman.

The VA no longer tracks Agent Orange claims because many veterans apply for more than one type of compensation per claim, he said.

The Ranch Hand study has followed about 1,000 Ranch Hand veterans and some 1,300 comparison airmen who served in Southeast Asia.

Although the study will end Saturday for the Air Force, legislation pending in Congress would turn over all the data and specimens to the Institute of Medicine's Medical Follow-up Agency, which would collaborate on analyses with scientists outside the government.

Michalek left his civilian Air Force job for the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He said he will apply on behalf of the school to be a collaborator.

Greer soldier sprayed

The U.S. military sprayed more than 18 million gallons of herbicides over 3.6 million acres of South Vietnam from 1962 to 1971. Nearly two-thirds of it was Agent Orange.

Richard Leoffels of Greer saw the planes spraying overhead when he was an Army infantryman with the 1st Cavalry Division in 1968-69. Sometimes the wind blew it onto him and his buddies as they set up for ambushes, he said.

He didn't give it much thought, he said, even as he occasionally crawled through areas saturated with herbicides. He was more concerned about the enemy.

"I didn't know anything about Agent Orange until I came back, did some reading and saw a couple specials on TV," he said.

Red blotches appeared on his legs in 1969, just a minor annoyance, he said.  Later, he would suffer a litany of more serious conditions.

The Air Force has announced in periodic updates since 1984 that the Ranch Hand veterans are about as healthy as the comparisons and have no significant increase in cancer or heart disease or any other serious illness except diabetes.

Ranch Hand and comparison veterans were thoroughly examined every three to five years, beginning in 1982. The results were recorded in thick Air Force reports.

The final one of those, published last year, presented the results from the sixth and last round of testing, conducted in 2002. It concluded the cancer analysis "did not suggest an adverse relation between cancer and herbicide exposure."

Ron Trewyn, a biochemist and member of the Ranch Hand study advisory committee, reviewed that report's cancer chapter.

He argued strongly during advisory committee meetings that the cancer chapter should include all the cancer data used to write the 2004 and 2005 articles in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. It didn't happen, he said.

"They referenced those papers, but they left all the data out from those cancer papers that were done that showed the cancer effects," he said.  "It's huge, because then the conclusion is there's no cancer effect, when as part of the study, the same investigators, just analyzing the data in a different way, found that when they did that, lo and behold, then there were significant cancer effects.

"And so for the final report to say there's no cancer effect when the investigators themselves published papers saying there is a cancer effect, that's just flat scientifically wrong."

Without factoring in the new information about the comparison veterans, Trewyn said, the Air Force got the same, predictable results.

"When they use an exposed control group and they say the two groups have roughly the same amount of cancer and so forth, what is that finding good for?  Nothing," said Trewyn, vice provost for research and dean of the graduate school at Kansas State University.

And it doesn't take a scientist to figure that out, he said.

"This is common sense now, a lot of it," he said.  "It's like now wait a minute.  This just does not pass the smell test or the common sense test."

Trewyn, who said he began wondering about exposures in the comparison group in 1999, did cancer research for 20 years.

Because many comparisons were exposed to the same environmental conditions as the Ranch Hand veterans, all major health outcomes need to be re-examined, he said.

"There have been industrial studies related to dioxin where as they looked back at it they thought they had a few exposed in the control group and so the statistics went to hell," he said.

In the Ranch Hand study, it's more than a few.  At least 600 members of the comparison group spent time in Vietnam, Michalek said.

New rates found

Michalek said the breakthrough that led to the new data analysis came when he started to look not just at the numbers but at the men behind them. Where in Southeast Asia did the Ranch Hand and comparison veterans serve? For how long?

He learned some Ranch Hand veterans didn't take part in spraying because none was done while they were there, and those who served earlier in the war had higher levels of dioxin.

When he factored in that information along with the exposed comparison group, Michalek said he found a doubling of cancer among Ranch Hand veterans with the highest dioxin exposures.  He also found cancer increasing with dioxin exposure, the first time such a trend has been seen in the Ranch Hand study, he said.

Michalek said he also found a stronger showing than previously for diabetes.

Advisory committee members wanted him to get the new cancer and diabetes findings published in a scientific journal, and he told them he intended to, according to minutes from the June 2005 committee meeting.

However, Col. Karen Fox said during the committee's final meeting this month in Rockville, Md., that the Air Force has no plans to publish the new findings in any Air Force report or scientific journal, The News reported earlier this month.

Fox, responding to extensive questioning from advisory committee members, said the Air Force told Michalek to destroy the data.

Fox, who succeeded Michalek as principal investigator of the study, declined to be interviewed by The News during breaks in the meeting.

She said during the meeting the Air Force "tried to enter into a relationship" with Michalek to write the cancer and diabetes papers, but "he elected not to do that."

Michalek said the Air Force told him he would have to contract with Science Applications International Corp., which does data analysis for Ranch Hand study reports.  He said he negotiated with SAIC but wasn't hired.

Maurice Owens, a project manager for SAIC, told The News the company decided it would be a conflict of interest to work with Michalek because he had been a scientist for the Air Force.

There is precedent for such a hire, however. Col. George D. Lathrop, who helped design the Ranch Hand study, moved to SAIC during the 1980s after he retired from the Air Force.

Owens said he couldn't comment on that.

Michalek said he began writing the cancer paper without pay.  He said he finally gave up when he got a letter from the Air Force dated July 6, 2006, ordering him to delete the data.

Rick Weidman, who has monitored the Ranch Hand advisory committee meetings for Vietnam Veterans of America, said he believes the Air Force had no intention of letting Michalek write the cancer paper on his own.

"They didn't want him to publish because they wanted to be able to censor it," Weidman said.  "That's just plain as day to us."

Getting compensation

Because Ranch Hand study reports had said the health of the Ranch Hand and comparison veterans was about the same, some members of Congress sought other ways to settle compensation claims. The Agent Orange Act of 1991 established a compensation list.

The first entries were non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, soft-tissue sarcoma and chloracne, a skin condition. The act also authorized the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate dioxin research from a host of studies, mostly of civilians.

Using the results of that research, the Department of Veterans Affairs has added nine diseases, mostly cancers.

Leoffels suffered his first of three strokes in 1998.  They were minor as strokes go, but for a time, he couldn't control his left leg.

He was working as a letter carrier for the post office, a good job, he said, but not one a person can stagger through.

"People were calling the post office and saying, 'Hey, the mailman is walking around drunk,'" he said.

Circulatory disorders are on the long list of diseases and conditions for which the NAS has not found enough evidence of a dioxin association to be included for compensation.

Leoffels, 58, does receive compensation for type 2 diabetes, he said, $112 a month.  It's the one illness on the list that might owe its spot to the Ranch Hand study, said David Tollerud, an epidemiologist who headed the NAS research during the 1990s.

Spina bifida, a birth defect, is the only other condition on the list that received an assist from the Ranch Hand study, he said.

'Flawed design'

Tollerud, a professor of public health at the University of Louisville, chaired the IOM panel that recently recommended the Ranch Hand data and specimens be saved for study outside the Air Force.

He briefed the Ranch Hand advisory committee during a meeting in February.  He called the biological specimens accumulated over 25 years "a trove of valuable research material," according to the minutes from that meeting.

Tollerud also pointed out some study limitations, including the study's "flawed design and execution" and "potential herbicide exposures in the comparison populations," the minutes show.

In an interview with The News, Tollerud said his comments were not meant to be condemning but to recognize limitations that future researchers need to take into account.

As for the exposed comparison group, he said, "The general result of that kind of a complication in a study design would be to do what we call bias it toward the null, meaning that it might make it less likely that you would observe findings that were really there."

Leoffels said he is in favor of continuing the Ranch Hand study as long as it is done outside the Air Force.

"Why throw away $140 million?" he said.

Leoffels said he lost his job as a letter carrier to post-traumatic stress disorder. The VA compensates him for it, offsetting what he believes he should be getting for Agent Orange damage, but isn't.

He helps other vets navigate the VA, though many get discouraged the first time they are turned down and never go back, he said.

Leoffels said it shouldn't be so difficult for veterans to get the help they need.

"I think what the government wants is for us to die off so they don't have to pay us anything," he said.

 

 

 

MEDIA TWO

 

 

Agent Orange cancer findings won't get in report, Air Force says
Study's chairman raises questions about decision to leave data out

Published: Sunday, September 10, 2006 - 6:00 am

By Clark Brooks
STAFF WRITER

 

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Cancer findings described as potentially significant by the chairman of an advisory committee won't be in the final report of a 25-year government study of the effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam veterans.

 

The $140 million study of airmen who sprayed herbicides in a series of missions called Operation Ranch Hand was designed to be used as a basis for compensation for thousands of veterans. It ends Sept. 30.

 

The analysis showed a doubling in cancer rates among the highest-exposed veterans, according to information submitted to the advisory committee.

 

The Air Force has no plans to publish the new cancer findings in any Air Force report or scientific journal, Col. Karen Fox told the civilian advisory committee during a meeting in Maryland in response to spirited and sustained questioning during the panel's final meeting Thursday. 

                    

Fox said the Air Force instructed the scientist who conducted the analysis to destroy the data.

Michael Stoto, committee chairman and a professor at Georgetown University, said the new analysis included "some interesting and potentially important findings" about the health of airmen involved in herbicide spraying missions during the Vietnam War.

 

"Frankly," Stoto said at one point in the hearing, "when it shows a significant finding and it seems to have been suppressed, that doesn't add credit to the study.”  However, Stoto said later in the hearing he perhaps should not have used the word "suppressed."

 

In an interview during a break in the meeting, Stoto said the discussion was triggered by questions The Greenville News posed to him about the status of the unpublished data the week before the meeting.

 

The U.S. military sprayed 18 million gallons of herbicides over 3.6 million acres of South Vietnam from 1962 to 1971 to destroy enemy crops and hiding places and to clear areas for American base camps. The majority of it was Agent Orange, which contained cancer-causing dioxin.

 

Agent Orange and other herbicides, some of which also were tainted with dioxin, were named for the color of the stripe around their 55-gallon storage drums.

 

Sapp Funderburk, an Air Force veteran who lives in Taylors, recalls loading orangeiped drums on aircraft in 1969 when he was an airfreight sergeant in charge of special handling at Phu Cat Air Base.

 

"They told us they were Agent Orange, so wear these gloves," he said.  "They were big, heavy rubber gloves like you see in a science fiction movie."

 

Funderburk, who was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in December 2001, said that in the tropical heat and humidity, the instant he lowered his hands, the gloves slid off.

 

He had to unscrew a plug to open a hole to relieve the pressure in the drums, he said, and Agent Orange sloshed over him.

 

Veterans complaining of health problems they said were caused by Agent Orange began filing claims in the late 1970s, and Congress funded the Ranch Hand study to investigate the health effects of herbicides.  The study, also known as the Air Force Health Study, began in 1982.

 

Although the study is ending for the Air Force, the Institute of Medicine wants the government to preserve the data sets and frozen biological specimens of about 1,000 Ranch Hand veterans and 2,000 comparison airmen who did not spray herbicides.

 

A recent IOM report said the materials are valuable and should be studied further.

 

Legislation pending in Congress would turn everything over to the IOM's Medical Follow-up Agency, which would collaborate on analyses with other scientists and research centers.

 

The Air Force scientists never reported significant incidences of cancer in any of the study's periodic reports on the participants, who were examined every three to five years.

 

Nor has the Ranch Hand data ever yielded a finding of cancer increasing with dioxin exposure until the new analysis that was the topic of discussion at last week's advisory committee meeting.

 

That analysis showed a doubling of cancer among Ranch Hand veterans who have the highest blood-serum levels of dioxin.  Committee members were aware of the findings because the work was done by Joel Michalek, a civilian scientist with the Ranch Hand study from the beginning and its principal investigator for 14 years.

 

Stoto said in an interview the week before the meeting that the cancer analysis, which Michalek presented to the advisory committee in a June 2005 meeting, "really needs to be published."

 

Michalek's data analysis, as detailed on slides presented at that meeting, shows cancer increasing with dioxin exposure.  A separate analysis showed a stronger diabetes finding among Ranch Hand veterans than previously, Michalek said.  Ranch Hand scientists reported a significant risk of diabetes among exposed veterans seven years ago.

 

Michalek, who did not attend the meeting, told The Greenville News he did the analyses before he left the Air Force in May 2005 for a job as a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He said he wants to use a similar approach to examine a variety of other health outcomes in the Ranch Hand group.

 

In his cancer analysis, Michalek said he took into consideration that there were intervals during the war when no spraying was done, and that Agent Orange and other herbicides may have been more heavily contaminated with dioxin earlier in the war.

 

Fox, who succeeded Michalek as principal investigator, told the advisory committee she had doubts about his analyses.

 

"I don't think there was a hypothesis before he started crunching the data," she said.

Michalek disagrees.

 

"We tried to question all of our assumptions and incorporate external information about the war to once again test the underlying hypothesis that exposure to Agent Orange may be related to the risk of cancer," he said. "I hope the new custodian will find a way to give other researchers access to the study material so these methods and results can be peer-reviewed."

 

Fox, responding to questions from the advisory committee, said that in spite of her misgivings about Michalek's analyses, the Air Force tried to work with him on the cancer and diabetes papers after he left, but Michalek didn't follow through.

 

"We tried to enter into a relationship with him for him to write those papers," Fox said.  "He did not do that."

 

Michalek said he negotiated with Maurice Owens, a project manager for Science Applications International Corp., which is under contract to do data analysis for Ranch Hand study reports.  Owens, who attended the advisory committee meeting last week, told The Greenville News that SAIC decided working with Michalek would be a conflict of interest because he had been a scientist for the Air Force.

 

Michalek said he has since done as ordered and deleted the Ranch Hand data that was in his possession.

 

Fox declined to be interviewed during breaks in the meeting.

 

Ron Trewyn, a biochemist and member of the Ranch Hand study advisory committee, said during the meeting that if Michalek had left one university for another, he would have been able to complete unfinished research papers. He asked Fox why Michalek couldn't do that for the Air Force.

 

The scientist is "more than welcome" to talk to whatever entity winds up as custodian of the data and specimens, Fox said.

 

Trewyn, a Vietnam veteran, said in an interview that getting the new cancer analysis published is important to veterans who are not yet being compensated for cancers and other illnesses related to their service in Vietnam.

 

The Agent Orange Act of 1991 established a compensation list.  The first entries were non-Hodgkins lymphoma, soft-tissue sarcoma and chloracne, a skin condition.  The act also authorized the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate medical and scientific data about the health effects of dioxin exposure from a host of studies, mostly in the civilian population.

 

Based on NAS research, the Department of Veterans Affairs has added nine diseases, among them diabetes and respiratory cancers, which include cancer of the larynx.  Prostate cancer and multiple myeloma are also on the list.

 

Among those the NAS is studying that have not yet made the list are bone cancer, melanoma, testicular cancer, urinary bladder cancer, breast cancer and most leukemias.

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs no longer keeps statistics on Agent Orange claims because of variables such as veterans applying for more than one type of compensation per claim, said Jim Benson, a VA spokesman.

 

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in 1998 that 92,276 Agent Orange claims had been filed by veterans and their survivors, and 5,908 of them had been approved.

 

Funderburk, the Taylors veteran, receives compensation in the form of monthly checks from the VA. But he thinks it's unfair that thousands of other Vietnam veterans with cancer are not getting help.

 

Trewyn, vice provost for research and dean of the graduate school at Kansas State University, said cancers caused by exposures in Vietnam could show up anywhere.

 

"Some people are going to be susceptible to one type of cancer versus another," he said. "Having done research on cancer, it doesn't surprise me at all that you find this at a whole host of different sites."

 

Or, as Funderburk put it, "To me, cancer is cancer is cancer."

 

 

MEDIA THREE

 

 

Agent Orange exposure tied to ills in Vietnam vets

Thu Nov 9, 10:49 AM ET

 

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Vietnam veterans who sprayed the herbicides like Agent Orange decades ago in Vietnam are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic breathing problems, a new study shows.

 

Agent Orange, a weed killer containing dioxin, was widely used during the Vietnam War, Dr. Han K. Kang of the

Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC and colleagues note in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Overall, two thirds of the herbicides used during the conflict contained dioxin.

 

To understand the long-term effects of exposure to the chemicals, Kang and his team compared 1,499 members of the US Army Chemical Corps to 1,428 vets who had worked in chemical operations jobs but did not serve in Vietnam. The Chemical Corps members had been responsible for spraying herbicide around base camp perimeters, as well as aerial spraying of the chemicals from helicopters.

 

Study participants were surveyed by telephone in 1999 and 2000.

 

Tests of a subset of the study participants, including 795 Vietnam vets and 102 non-Vietnam vets, showed the Vietnam vets had higher levels of dioxin in their blood.

 

The researchers analyzed the effects of Vietnam service and herbicide exposure separately, and found that hepatitis was the only health problem linked to serving in Vietnam per se.

 

However, exposure to herbicides among Vietnam veterans conferred a 50 percent increased risk of diabetes, a 52 percent greater heart disease risk, a 32 percent increased risk of hypertension and a 60 percent greater likelihood of having a chronic respiratory problem such as emphysema or asthma.

 

An increased cancer risk also was seen among the Chemical Corps members, but this was not significant from a statistical standpoint.

 

"Almost three decades after Vietnam service," the researchers conclude, "US Army veterans who were occupationally exposed to phenoxyherbicide in Vietnam experienced significantly higher risks of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and non-malignant lung diseases than other veterans who were not exposed to herbicides."

 

SOURCE: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, November 2006.