May, 10 2013 10:19:00

Toxicity found in breast milk of mothers in dioxin-affected areas

Army personnels inspect an area for bombs and mines and treat dioxin pollution at Đà Nẵng Airport.—VNS File Photo

DONG NAI (VNS)– During the war in Viet Nam, US troops stored more than 98,000 buckets of Agent Orange at Bien Hoa airbase in the southern province of Dong Nai. After they overflowed several times, the contamination level far exceeded what regulations permitted.

Today, the breast milk of women in Bien Hoa City still contains more toxic dioxin than that of women in other areas.

In so-called dioxin "hot spots" – Da Nang, Phu Cat District in the central province of Binh Dinh –toxicity levels are even higher.

These troubling findings emerged as part of a study on dioxin's effect on newborns conducted by Kanazawa Medical University and the Dong Nai Department of Health. During the study, doctors took more than 200 blood and umbilical cord samples from babies born near the Bien Hoa airbase. They also drew breast milk samples and checked the development of the infants' nervous systems.

According to the researchers, newborns' heads in Bien Hoa City were bigger than in Da Nang; the babies who were born prematurely gained weight slowly.

A representative from the Japanese university said that the researchers would continue studying dioxin exposure in food in Bien Hoa City, as more than 90 per cent of dioxin entered people's bodies via food products like fish and dairy.

The airbase has long been recognised as a toxic spot. In the period of 2009-10, the province discovered three more spots near the airbase that were seriously affected by dioxin. -- VNS

Dennis Nix - dennynix@gmail.com   Dennis Nix
August, 04 2013 20:10:23
I was based at Bien Hoa for 9 months in 1970 at the Army base and was constantly at the air base. I have suffered ischemic heart disease and had to undergo a quadruple heart bypass. I have made a disability claim and find that the paperwork will take more than a year The government spends billions of dollars overseas and will not take care of its veterans--they hope will die before our claim is handled out of the "too hard file". There are thousands more that have died from Vietnam service than are on the wall in DC and the government is complicit in those deaths! And people wonder why we are bitter???
Ken Phillips - ken_phillips_1950@hotmail.com   Ken Phillips
May, 09 2013 14:06:18
After more than 30 years why has the American government not cleaned this pollutant up? Seems very strange to me.
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