Monday, December 19, 2011

The Paritutu Story-- How the NZ Government re-wrote history

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dioxin report flawed.

Researcher Andrew Gibbs says the latest study of contamination from New Plymouth's Dow chemical factory has missed many birth defects it was supposed to review.

The Health Ministry study compares defects recorded by New Plymouth's head maternity nurse from 1964 to 1971 with results from other hospitals.

It found that when dioxin contamination from the city's chemical plant was at its worst, New Plymouth had significantly more birth defects than the national average.

It also had significantly more deformed babies than all other hospitals studied except the specialist National Women's Hospital.

The ministry says it cannot be certain dioxin is to blame.

Campaigner Andrew Gibbs, who contributed to the study, says babies born with webbed fingers and toes, tiny skulls or cancer were left out of the review of defects.

The rate of New Plymouth babies with spina bifida was twice Northland's and three times the national rate. Both conditions can be caused by exposure to dioxin.

The ministry's chief adviser of child and youth health, Pat Tuohy, says most rises did not reach statistical significance, so they could be explained by chance.

Picking those three years out could have been a high year just on random chance, or it could have been a high year because other things were happening.

Clearly, there is a concern that dioxins may have been one of those other things, but unfortunately the study wasn't able to prove one way or another whether any or all of these cases were associated with dioxin.

Dr Tuohy says the study did not investigate whether dioxin caused the defects so he can not say for certain what happened.

Other Related Stories.
Dioxin report flawed, says campaigner.

Study finds no defect-dioxin link.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vietnam Veterans Eligible for VA Benefits.

Vietnam Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange Now Eligible for VA Benefits Under New Rules

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur announced that an estimated 500 area veterans of the Vietnam War who were exposed to Agent Orange are now eligible for medical care and disability under new rules approved by Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Kaptur said the VA has now begun the process of awarding benefits to Vietnam veterans who qualify.

“I urge any Vietnam veteran from our area who is suffering from a medical condition due to Agent Orange exposure to contact the VA or my office,” she said. “This includes veterans who have had their claims denied in the past because the new rules dramatically expand the scope of coverage.”

Kaptur urged Vietnam veterans to contact her office at 419-259-7000 or toll free 800-964-4699.

The rules change, which Congresswoman Kaptur announced at a news conference in September, has now taken effect following a 60-day review period.

The new rules could provide coverage and benefits to an estimated 200,000 veterans nationally and more than 500 veterans in the Ninth Congressional District, which includes most of Lucas, all of Erie and Ottawa counties, and western Lorain County.

Under the new rules, up to 200,000 Vietnam veterans nationwide will become eligible for disability compensation for medical conditions recently associated with Agent Orange. The expansion of coverage includes ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and B-cell (or “hairy cell”) leukemia.

The three new illnesses are added to the list of presumed illnesses previously recognized by VA. In practical terms, Kaptur said, a veteran who served in Vietnam during the war and has a “presumed” illness need not prove an association between his or her illness and military service. This “presumption” will simply and accelerate the application process for benefits.

For new claims, VA may pay benefits retroactive to the effective date of the regulation or to one year before the date VA receives the application, whichever is later. For pending claims and claims that were previously denied, VA may pay benefits retroactive to the date it received the claim.

Congresswoman Kaptur again encouraged all Vietnam veterans with these three diseases to contact her office or the local veterans service commission for assistance in applying for access to VA health care and compensation so that VA can begin development of their claims.

“The joint efforts of Congress and VA demonstrate a commitment to provide Vietnam veterans with treatment and compensation for the long-term health effects of herbicide exposure,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Vietnamese Still Exposed to Deadly Chemicals Decades After War
The United States ended its involvement in the Vietnam War 35 years ago, and established diplomatic relations with Hanoi 15 years ago. But a recent visit to Vietnam by members of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange and Dioxin saw the lingering effects of highly toxic chemicals used by U.S. forces to remove dense vegetation in a bid to flush out enemy combatants. Agent Orange is the code name for one of the chemicals used by the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War, which raged between 1961 and 1971. Agent Orange was given its name from the color of the large orange-striped barrels in which it was shipped. An estimated 45 million liters of Agent Orange were sprayed over parts of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
The United States ended its involvement in the Vietnam War 35 years ago, and established diplomatic relations with Hanoi 15 years ago.  But a recent visit to Vietnam by members of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange and Dioxin saw the lingering effects of highly toxic chemicals used by U.S. forces to remove dense vegetation in a bid to flush out enemy combatants.

Agent Orange is the code name for one of the chemicals used by the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War.   Agent Orange was given its name from the color of the large orange-striped barrels in which it was shipped.  An estimated 45 million liters of Agent Orange were sprayed over parts of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Among the U.S. inter-faith delegation which recently returned from Vietnam was Rabbi Steve Gutow, the president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.  "The damage from Agent Orange (and) dioxin was difficult to look at, to feel," he said.  "And to know that we in some way contributed to this was very hard to take away.  As a person who thinks America is as great a country as we have in the world, it just really upset me."

The U.S. Congress appropriated $3 million for fiscal 2007 and again for fiscal 2009 and 2010 for Agent Orange/dioxin work in Vietnam.  Financial support is also coming from the Ford and other U.S. foundations, UN agencies and other governments. Some $30 million has been mobilized so far.

But Reverend Caroll Baltimore Sr., president of the progressive National Baptist Convention Inc., said more needs to done.  "The damage is long term.  And the hot spots are overwhelming even to the point in Da Nang for example where the land is still bare and baron, where no vegetation grows."

Sister Maureen Fielder also found the situation to be surprisingly bad after more than three decades.  "The most poignant place was Da Nang, the Air Force base in Da Nang where we had stored and spilled so much of this poison," she said.  "And what amazed me was that after 35 years you could still smell the stuff.  It was so strong and so toxic."

The Vietnamese government and an independent expert firm, Hatfield Consulting of North Vancouver, Canada, conducted a series of independent assessments of dioxin residues in the environment around the Da Nang airport and in the blood and breast milk of current area residents. The results provided a clearer understanding of the problem in Da Nang, where the feasibility of bio-remediation efforts is being tested.
Rabbi Gutow did not need a study to realize the scope of the issue.  "There was nothing harsher than Da Nang airport.  We had to buy those shoes.  We tried to make a joke of it where you buy these shoes you had to throw away.  Because when you walked there you knew what we had left there under this concrete slab still had the capacity to hurt people and kill people.  And we as a country have not stepped up to the plate and taken care of it."

Findings in of follow-up studies in 2009 indicated that the 2007 interim mitigation measures had succeeded in reducing dioxin exposure of people in the area.  But the damage was evident to members of the inter-faith delegation as they saw Vietnamese children coping with physical hardships and deformities.

"This is one of the truly insidious effects of Agent Orange and dioxin.  It gets passed on in the genetics of reproduction.  And we have no idea how many generations might be affected by this," said Sister Maureen Fielder.

"In no individual case can anyone definitively connect Agent Orange with a specific disability," she said  "None the less the connection is there certainly by correlation.  Because the children that are disabled are overwhelmingly in the areas sprayed by Agent Orange and dioxin."

The idea for a citizen-to-citizen dialogue on Agent Orange was first explored in 2006 by the Ford
Foundation.  The dialogue, which is not an implementing agency or a fundraising organization, was formally established in February 2007 as an initiative of prominent private citizens, scientists and policy-makers on both sides, working on issues that the two countries' governments have found.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Obama has approved US$12 million for Dioxon cleanup.

US President Barack Obama has approved US$12 million for an ongoing project aimed at cleaning up dioxin that has contaminated the soil and water in and around the Da Nang Airport. The announcement was made by congressman Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) on August 26, during a three-day visit to Vietnam. Faleomavaega's visit was aimed at discussing the two countries’ relationship, including cooperative efforts to mitigate Agent Orange contamination in Vietnam.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another chemical cocktail toxic environmental nightmare.

Another dioxin dump with the same cancer coursing symptoms as Paritutu New Plymouth.
Dad fights to expose cancer coursing cluster in Maryland USA.

Two and a half years ago, Randy White's daughter Kristen was diagnosed with brain cancer. She went through chemo, radiation and three brain biopsies, but nothing worked. Just 30 years old, she died in his house, in his arms.

White, a preacher from Tampa, didn't have to look far. He had raised his children in Frederick, Md., where people have struggled with groundwater contamination for years. Also, some residents remembered nearby Fort Detrick had tested the chemical defoliant known as Agent Orange in the late 1960s and '70s.

Over the past two years, White has spent more than $250,000 of his own money through the Kristen Renee Foundation, named after his late daughter, researching toxic agents and epidemiological data in the area. He says the data are starting to paint a picture of toxic contamination and cancer flowing from the fort.

Dioxin, the active ingredient in Agent Orange, is a documented carcinogen, and TCE and PCE, two chemical solvents discovered in some wells in Frederick, have also been linked to cancer. White is trying to prove that those chemicals made it into the groundwater in and around Frederick, and that that's what caused not only his daughters' and ex-wife's cancers but also the cancers of 400 residents within two miles of White's former home in Frederick.

Last week, Frederick residents met with representatives of Fort Detrick to express their concerns. Fort Detrick has appointed a contractor to examine its own history of Agent Orange testing and is cooperating with the Frederick County Health Department's proceedings to test the possibility of a cancer cluster.

"They're concerned about the past, they're concerned about the present and they're concerned about the future, and whether some of the health conditions they're experiencing might be related to Fort Detrick," Dr. Barbara Brookmeyer, the county's health officer, told AOL News.

For a farmer in town who lost all of his livestock, or numerous others who have lost family members to unexpected cancers, these proceedings could cast light on years of tragedy.

"People are looking for answers," said Brookmeyer.

Fort Detrick spokesman Rob Sperling has said he was not aware of the Agent Orange testing before White brought it to his attention, but a recent Veterans Today article shows that the defoliant testing at the fort was well documented even within the public sphere, pointing to a series of Frederick News-Post articles from the 1970s. The question now becomes how well it was contained, and what particular carcinogenic components of Agent Orange could have leaked into the surrounding environment.

The Army only recently finished capping six old dump sites in Frederick.

White and the Kristen Renee Foundation have begun a class-action lawsuit against Fort Detrick. Cancer clusters are difficult to identify, and it's even more difficult to prove direct environmental causation. But according to Lemuel Srolovic of the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, where cancer-cluster buster Erin Brockovich works, identifying a cluster is actually not that important when it comes to the courtroom.

"If you can prove exposure to a harmful agent and you can prove that one person, two people, three people have an illness that's caused by that exposure, then that's a successful lawsuit," he told AOL News.

He also warns, however, that many cancers are not uncommon in America, and that when people begin looking for trends they sometimes find what they think are abnormal numbers but actually turn out to be statistical averages.

Legal experts say the Kristen Renee Foundation and other plaintiffs against Fort Detrick will have some advantages. The source of contamination that they're examining seems pretty clear, and the carcinogenic effects of Agent Orange, PCE and TCE have received the attention of veterans' organizations for years.

For White's part, his own personal loss has translated into the rage to take this fight until the end.

"It is an environmental nightmare. It is catastrophic," he told AOL News. "There's a long, drawn-out, hard battle, but it's one that I'm willing to fight for and not just for my daughter but for all the people that don't have the finances and don't have the voice."
"She was never sick a day in her life" before the cancer, White told AOL News.

Just two months after he had buried Kristen, White's other daughter, Angie, was diagnosed with a highly abnormal stomach cancer, which doctors were able to successfully remove. But six weeks later, his ex-wife took a fall that revealed an advanced renal cell cancer. According to White, the doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., told them that these cases didn't look genetic -- they were environmental.

Contributor Dave Their AOL News

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hillary vowed to increase cooperation .

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a visit to Vietnam Thursday, vowed to increase cooperation in dealing with the legacy of the wartime herbicide Agent Orange.US aircraft sprayed the chemicals during the Vietnam War to strip trees of foliage in order to deprive communist Viet Cong forces of cover and food.