The most recent literature regarding Agent Orange issues accepted by the Department of Veterans Affairs is the Institute of Medicine “Blue Water Navy Report” released this year. The relevant part of that report, as it affects C-123 crews, is its premise that:
“the potential for exposure is the best—in fact, the only—available method for assessing and comparing exposure.” (p.89)
This clearly establishes that service in an aircraft, vehicle or vessel identified by the Air Force as (not potentially, but actually) heavily contaminated with Agent Orange is considered adequate scientific evidence of exposure to Agent Orange.
Our exposure to dioxin aboard our aircraft was via inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact.
It is also very important to note that unlike Vietnam veterans and Blue Water Navy sailors and the impossibility of testing their actual field conditions and shipboard exposure, we flew aircraft which were individually and repeatedly tested and confirmed by Air Force toxicologists as “extremely contaminated, extremely hazardous and extremely dangerous,” with dioxin contamination 800% greater than federal law permits for building re-entry.
Toxicology experts have set the building re-entry standard as 85 nanograms per square meter surface area—it was 615 nanograms per square meter inside the first C-123K tested in 1994 (Patches, Tail #362, at the Air Force Museum). We flew Patches and the others for years. Again, not merely potential, but actual exposure.