Letter: Current chemical fear invokes Agent Orange comparisons
To the editor,
One of the biggest topics of concern American troops are facing in the impending war is chemical weapons exposure. What has been long forgotten is that some 30 years ago we seeded a country with chemical weapons warfare that created a time bomb that has been slowly poisoning Americans and others every day, including myself (with cancer of the spine, lungs and legs) with several incurable cancers from Agent Orange.
Agent Orange has been for decades the “buzz” word for Vietnam veterans, and there are now presumptive diseases associated to Agent Orange exposure while in country. What is NOT commonly known and has been kept under wraps by the government for decades is the status of Agent Orange today and its continuing effects some 30 years later.
Unknown to most Americans and to all Vietnam veterans is that there have been studies of Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam during the last 30 years. After all this time, the investigative study team has narrowed down one location in Vietnam they have dubbed the “hot spot” of Agent Orange contamination in Vietnam. This location still produces all the presumptive Agent Orange diseases for veterans and the local Bien Hoa population. Why and how can this be?
It has been discovered that Bien Hoa Airbase was the Agent Orange storage facility in South East Asia. Besides the constant improper handling of Agent Orange at Bien Hoa, it had four major spills of large quantities of Agent Orange between January 1970 and May 1970. Well over 10,000 gallons of pure undiluted Agent Orange was spilled at Bien Hoa Airbase, which went into the lake, water supply, ground and air. They used 55 gallon drums used for Agent Orange storage were sold or given to the Vietnamese or the military for storage of all kinds – water, washing GI clothes, BBQ’s, material and most importantly, gasoline.
The Vietnamese and Americans used these drums which usually contained one or two gallons of leftover pure Agent Orange. This filled the air with Agent Orange inhalants 24-7. Agent Orange fumes are so toxic that any vegetation near and empty open drum died.
Bien Hoa service members, breathed, washed, walked, ate and consumed Agent Orange contamination. And these levels of contamination still exist today some 30 years later. Don’t take my word for it, just go to Google’s search engine and type in Bien Hoa and Agent Orange or vice versa. There are endless pages of Agent Orange and Bien Hoa associations and the continuing danger of this caustic agent 30 years later.
And from the looks of it, the area around Bien Hoa will be contaminated forever due to massive Agent Orange use and spills.
Daniel W. Cooley