31 December 2012

Challenge to VA - C-123 Veterans WERE Exposed by Skin Contact

VA "Dry Dioxin Transfer" Excuse Shot Down - Proven Unscientific! 

A key part of the VA's pretense that C-123 veterans were not exposed to dioxin aboard our aircraft is their invention of something called "dry dioxin transfer." Don't bother looking it up in Wikipedia - the idea is novel to the VA, created to dismiss the many Air Force tests which clearly proved our airplanes contaminated with dioxin, by pretending that aircrews, maintenance and aerial port personnel were not exposed to the contamination. I know...makes no sense to anyone but the VA. Admittedly, exposure and contamination are separate points, but the US Government has not made the distinction before this.

Working C-123 Hand
But despite the recent challenges of scientists and physicians from throughout North America, the VA continues to pretend their concept of "dry dioxin transfer" somehow makes enough scientific sense to prevent even the benefit of the doubt helping us veterans. WRONG - it makes NO sense! VA says that once Agent Orange dried on the C-123 it may have continued to contaminate, but contamination doesn't mean exposure. And the law reads that veterans must evidence exposure, not just contamination. So as the VA struggles to insure veterans' exposure claims are denied, they sling false inventions like"dry dioxin transfer" at us. The VA says the skin is a perfect barrier to dioxin exposure, when the truth is that dermal exposure is highly likely. Necessary for this VA pretense is that the skin be a perfectly clean, undamaged, oil-free surface. Guess the VA wonks never flew in a transport aircraft in their lives! Especially, not a C-123!

Thanks to a visit to a VA Regional Office, many of the documents used by the VA to deny veterans claims were made available for review. A key find was an article in the TOX Journal about dermal exposure to dioxin, carried in a 1995 article published in the TOX journal.  In this key document, clearly known to the VA but obviously ignored by them,  the likelihood of dermal exposure is carefully spelled out. In addition to the dioxin we ingested and inhaled aboard the Provider, the article's authors explain that our skin provided no special barrier to exposure. Indeed, they establish that dermal exposure is usually the most intense of the three routes of exposure.

VA Science?
So another missile is launched into the VA balloon and down it goes in flames, This TOX article joins the opinion of Dr. Jeanne Stellman, Professor Emerita at Columbia University who earlier destroyed the VA's dry dioxin transfer joke. Still, none of this push-back against the VA will mean much until some clear-headed VA policy maker sees what mistakes have been made about us by their staffers. I hope it will be of use during conversations at the Institute of Medicine conference at UC Irvine on 15 Jan 2013...it certainly will be a part of the materials I forward to the VA for support of my own Agent Orange exposure claim and I suggest you do the same!

Last article for 2012 - God bless and keep you all.

     Wes Carter and Family
      McMinnville, Oregon
      December 31, 2012

(thanks to MSgt Kathy Voiland for her help with the TOX article)

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