17 November 2012

Another Federal Agency Endorses ATSDR C-123 Dioxin Report

Earlier this year the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health was asked to investigate the C-123 aircrew dioxin exposure issue, specifically to conduct their NIOSH health hazard evaluation. Their response was received yesterday.

Dr. Allison Tepper, Chief of the Health Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, concluded that her agency "defers to Dr. Sinks and the expertise within the NCEH/ATSDR." She is referring to the finding offered earlier in 2012 by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in which Dr. Sinks, Deputy Director, concluded that the C-123 aircraft were contaminated and that aircrews were most likely exposed.

As with every other dioxin exposure situation, especially individuals whose exposure is addressed decades after contact with dioxin, the ATSDR reminds "The information available is insufficient to establish with accuracy the degree of exposure (high or low) or the risk of adverse health effects." This reservation in Dr. Sinks' conclusion in no way minimizes the conclusion that veterans were exposed but merely states that even once exposed as we were, too much time has passed and all the aircraft have since been destroyed, so there is no opportunity to "fine tune" the veterans' exposure assessment for those years we flew the C-123.

Only the VA has come to dispute the ATSDR finding. Only the VA has come to dispute law, reason and justice in their mindless opposition to our veterans' claims for Agent Orange exposure medical care.  Only the VA wants to prevent veterans access to medical care. Only the VA ignores scientific input when even the Agent Orange Act of 1991 requires the Secretary to evaluate both medical AND scientific evidence. Only the VA, in their effort to twist logic and science, has concluded "There is no conclusive evidence that TCDD exposure causes any adverse health effects." Boy, that one sentence says it all about the VA attitude!

We are grateful that NIOSH is behind ATSDR in helping make the case for service connection for our veterans!

On another issue, we submitted a fairly comprehensive Freedom of Information Act request to the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine regarding their C-123 exposure assessment. It was approved to be fee-free, but yesterday we learned it is delayed because of difficulty gathering all the materials requested. The anticipated release date is now 8 Jan 2013.

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