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Sep-07-2010 14:21printcomments

Agent Orange Poisoning in Australian Veterans: They Suffer Too

I hope the American System is more realistic about the hideous danger of Dioxins. It is unfortunate that Dioxins have no immediate or acute toxicity but a particular Australian writer we recently published is correct; it is almost certainly the most deadly chemical produced by man.

VC Base Camp
'VC Base Camp' Courtesy: picsdigger.com

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Salem-news.com is very fortunate to have an Australian Veteran post this article for us and American Vietnam Veterans. It is one of the most educational but concise reviews I have seen on the subject.

I may have had among the first patients poisoned by the Dioxins in 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T in the world but I did not know it or about the Dioxins at the time.

In 1952 the Bonneville Power Company (BPC) was spraying 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T as a brush killer on the power line right-of-ways and the workman sprayers were getting pneumonia like illnesses. At the time, I had just obtained my M.S. in Chemistry and I was a Pharmacology/Toxicology graduate student in Oregon Medical School. I was possibly the best-trained Toxicologist in the U.S. at that time. I was taken on a grand tour of many BPC sites and spoke to many of the men and their clothes were soaked by the spray and they were coughing and spitting. I wrote a rather scathing report for BPC and their supervisor became unglued and asked my chairman “why does this young punk think that weed killers are harmful to people”. My boss told him, “he is possibly the only person in the U.S. who knows it”. I don’t think they made any changes and I’ll bet those guys died of their exposure.

I knew at that time that ALL Chlorinated Hydrocarbons were toxic and Chloroform, one of the earliest gas anesthetics was the first one known to be toxic AND lethal.


My next real experience was with Pentachlorophenol in 1977, a wood preservative soaked on power poles and railroad ties and lumber shipped overseas. I was in court as an expert witness about 12 times and I prevailed every time, much to the disgust of Medical Insurance Companies. Boo hoo.

I don’t think I had heard about Dioxins till about that time. Penta was bad enough but Dioxins were delayed time bombs. Poly Chlorinated Biphenols (BCPs) are in the same category.

The Australian writer, Gary McMahon, did a splendid job but I choose to add my 2 cents worth. His medical descriptions are wide ranging and assiduously accurate. I don’t care what some ignorant judge says. He mentions that it is toxic in a few parts per trillion which is almost an inconceivable dilution factor. Look at it this way. Look at a grain of salt. That is enough Dioxin to kill 10 people. Some scientists say it reacts and in effect destroys the normal action of RNA/DNA. This is why it apparently acts on almost every metabolic system in the body producing a terrorizing array of cancers, diseases, et cetera. Medical scientists think it may have killed or seriously maimed millions of Vietnamese who were the targets of this spraying. It is probable that millions of military veterans from all countries there produced millions more in parents, children and even grandchildren.

I hope the American System is more realistic about the hideous danger of Dioxins. It is unfortunate that Dioxins have no immediate or acute toxicity but McMahon is correct, it is almost certainly the most deadly chemical produced by man.

Read McMahon’s article Aug. 30, 2010.


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John Hartung September 7, 2010 5:46 pm (Pacific time)

Dr. Leveque, I work everyday with dying Vets (well you know) and I think it can't get worst but it does! Now this story come out and just to make my day I see it! I talk to the VA and its like talking to a wall. I think sometimes I get more from the wall than the VA. Thanks for your story to inform me and others about more chemicals that Vets and other have been exposed to. I need all the info I can get. It helps me fight for our fellow Vets and thier families. Please keep us all informed about this horrific nightmare. Thanks, your friend John www.lifeaftercamplejeune.com

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