June 18, 2014

Veterans hear about Agent Orange and proposed memorial

 

By ALLAN TINKER

A group of veterans, McClusky and Goodrich Legion and Legion Auxiliary members, family and friends gathered on May 21 at McClusky City Hall Community Room to hear the information presented on Agent Orange, the defoliant and herbicide widely used in Viet Nam, and in specific locations for testing and other uses, before its toxic effects became known.

This particular group was gathered as those who served in the Viet Nam War are particularly at risk for even minute contact with Agent Orange. The more contact, the more severe it seems the damage done to the veterans and also passing down in their genetic line to their children and grandchildren.

The herbicide Agent Orange is a combination of the commonly used compounds: 2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T, technically known as chlorinated phenoxy acids in ester form.

The most dangerous element of Agent Orange, according to information presented at the meeting, is a contaminant present in the manufacture of 2, 4 5-T. This is known chemically as 2, 3, 7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-paradioxin, or more commonly "dioxin." Levels of dioxin in Agent Orange ranged from less than 0.05 parts per million to almost 50 parts per million.

Three million or more of veterans serving in Southeast Asia may have been exposed to varying amounts of this compound. Some were in the areas sprayed, some handled spray or the equipment. Serious health problems that have been reported from Agent Orange include chloracne, skin lesions, liver damage, loss of sex drive, changes in skin pigmentation and sensitivity to light, numbing or tingling in the extremities, sore joints, cancers and birth defects in their children.


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