03 July 2012

Update: C-123 Agent Orange Exposure

The Army's Public Health Command has been asked to review the April Air Force C-123 Agent Orange report, in particular because of the Air Force disregard for the Army's TG312 publication. Elsewhere, we have been contacted by an independent, university-based toxicologist who is reviewing both the AF and the VA reports which he has already labeled "unscientific". Rumors are that a peer-reviewed article is coming - unlike the AF and VA reports which were internal papers without outside critical review (which they haven't survived!)
Here is an interesting question: the Air Force report dismisses the Army TG312 findings, mentioning that the Army meant TG312 for office workers, yet in that report (Chapter One, Page One), the Army states:
"Although this TG focuses on office worker exposures, the general method used to develop an exposure assessment may be adapted for other exposure scenarios by adjusting exposure fact."
Destruction of Toxic C-123, April 2010
Can you see the problem? Can you see what happens when reports are written with a pre-determined outcome and the researchers cherry-pick materials to reach that pre-determined conclusion? Both the VA and the AF needed to insure C-123 veterans were prevented from successful service-connected claims, and their reports were generated with the objective in mind. OSD must be proud!

Regarding our effort to get justice from the VA, here is where we can use some help:
Michael Turner, Ohio
1. Ohio's Congressional delegation (especially Rep. Mike Turner) should be informed re: the actions of USAFSAM's unscientific report. If the aircraft were indeed safe, why did the AF Museum spend over $50,000 to decontaminate an aircraft (Patches) which didn't need decontamination, and why did the AF spend $120,000 to quarantine the C-123s in Davis-Monthan's Boneyard. And why did the AF destroy the aircraft in 2010 if not contaminated? Answer: the planes were indeed contaminated per many tests, and only veterans' claims for service connection resulted in a political decision that we haven't been exposed!
2. We need more universities where we have our veterans (Harvard, BU, Northeastern, Amherst, Wellesley, Tufts, Dartmouth, Indiana, Carnegie-Mellon) to come on board (some already have) with challenges to the AF/VA reports - they need to decry such unscientific activities. We need our veterans (that means YOU!) to sit in front of the university experts and solicit more support - even their professional opinions in letter form are terrific support
3. We need results of our veterans' medical exams in which physicians, after examining the veteran and the medical record, find Agent Orange exposure "as likely to as not" to have caused the illness
4. We need the American Legion to seek influential experts from Johns Hopkins, NIH, Bethesda, or Howard to review the AF/VA reports
5. We need the American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America to FOIA the entire AF background on their C-123 report or to seek it as a courtesy from USAFSAM & Colonel Benjamin, in keeping with DOD5400.7-R_AFMAN 33-302 which encourages release of information without the need to involve FOIA
 7. We need support from the Army Aviation and Marine Corps Aviation Associations, but we won't get it is we can't get the Air Force Association behind us. Can American Legion and VVA help there?
8. We need professional societies such as the Society of Toxicology to weigh in; SOT was "sucker-punched" when T. Irons and W. Dick (VA Public Health) presented their poster display summarizing the VA's report
9. VA and AF have both constructed an argument new to toxicology - for the first time and contrary to earlier IOM reports, a suggestion is made that contamination does not result in exposure. They have dismissed inhalation as an exposure route without scientific justification. They have dismissed ingestion as an exposure route without scientific justification. And finally, by constructing a hypothesis of "dry dioxin transfer", they dismiss the dermal route of exposure. There is no science behind the VA's hypothesis that crews couldn't have been exposed via the dermal route aboard this "heavily contaminated' airplane which was "a danger to public health" (according to AF toxicologists)
10. We need the IOM back on board regarding the VA's proposed special project investigating the C-123 contamination - VA's promised Statement of Work should be submitted and publicly discussed
11. ideas?

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