Thus, many "experts" dismissed our dioxin exposure claims when we brought up the foul smell by pointing out this error. However...the smell indeed does indicate the persistence of the Agent Orange contamination.
Why, or how? We veterans don't dispute the lesson learned regarding where the terrible smells came from...it was very probably the malathion. We contend, however, that if the malathion persisted to the point of sickening the crew as it did so often, and if it forced us to fly with the heat off or even the cockpit windows open, or even avoid scheduling the aircraft altogether, that dioxin had to be present in significant quantities.
Our maintenance folks like Charlie Fusco remind us of countless efforts at cleaning Patches. Of scraping that black or dark brown "goop" with putty knives and screwdrivers to get rid of it. Of tech bulletins from Warner-Robins detailing cleaning instructions with specific detergents and even the recommendation in 1979 by Air Force toxicologists that it would probably be necessary to remove the wings and remove the cargo deck to get out enough of the "goop" to improve the situation.
We are also reminded that, in Vietnam, the malathion missions by Patches were after her years of spraying Agent Orange.
How can any VA administrator or physician fail to see we were exposed?
It will be quite revealing - and frightening - when one of our veteran's claims before the court is from a female crewmember. Remember that dioxin accumulates in body fat, and has a half-life of about seven to ten years. Remember, dear VA, that once a woman is exposed to dioxin as in our airplanes, the dioxin is concentrated and can be passed on via lactation after childbirth. Remember that numerous scientific studies establish the dermal route of dioxin exposure, despite the VA pretense of the human skin being a 'near-perfect barrier." Washington State University's recent study revealed:
Dioxin builds up in the body and has up to a decade-long half-life in humans, so scientists say a woman who becomes pregnant even 20 years after exposure is at risk of transmitting the consequences of her exposure to later generations.So we must ask, "why can't the VA permit the individual veteran's claim to be accepted without challenge to the issue of exposure?"