Great news! Last week we received from the Deputy Director of the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry a terrific letter of support. In it, the ATSDR rebuts head-on the VA's earlier claim about our aircrews flying a contaminated aircraft without becoming exposed. Thus, the authoritative federal agency responsible for toxic substances like dioxin has told the VA that we served aboard contaminated airplanes and likely were exposed to 200 times the lowest danger threshold for cancer.
Get the picture? We now have the two federal agencies directly responsible for dealing with this issue taking positions completely opposite each other - and the one which should make the final decision has made it on OUR side!!
ATSDR further stated that serving aboard our airplanes was likely even more dangerous than various federal standards such as those set by the Army because of our long-term exposure and the fact that we had duty days in the aircraft which often were eight hours, sixteen hours or even longer!
The ATSDR has already contacted the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine on our behalf. The AF was tasked in November (due to our pressure) by the Surgeon General to form a conclusion to provide the VA. This most recent letter pretty much decides the case, but we can count on unending push-back from the VA as they construct yet another argument to prevent us being given medical care for the dioxin exposure. The VA position has been that we "may" have had contaminated airplanes but that the likelihood of any long-term health affects is remote. The VA position is better known as "voodoo science"!
The second powerful document was provided me by Dr. (LtCol USA Ret.) Joe Goeppner who fortunately read the Air Force Times article about our C-123 crews back in November. He called me immediately to offer his support, and his analysis was received last week. In it, Dr. Goeppner (whose employment history began at Dow!) dismisses the VA's invention of innocent "dry dioxin transfer" as being harmless to us, and also supports the scientific validity of the 1994 tests done on Patches by Dr. Ron Porter and LtCol Wade Weisman.
If you have a claim before the VA, get these papers to them immediately! Both are adequate documentation to support any aircrew member's claim for Agent Orange exposure resulting from duty aboard the contaminated C-123s, assuming a valid Agent Orange-presumptive illness as well.
Thanks also to Chief Charlie Fusco and LtCol Paul Bailey for their comprehensiveletters describing earlier aircrew duties aboard the "Provider" - already forwarded to the Air Force and they liked the data.