02 January 2013

Physician Dioxin Expert CONFIRMS C-123 Veterans' Exposure!

In one of the most affirming independent medical expert opinions received by C-123 veterans thus far, I received this email (followed by a hard copy) from Dr. Arnold Schecter, probably the most well-known physician-educator in the field of dioxin. Clearly, it surpasses the VA's "as likely to as not" threshold.

Now, it remains to see how the VA will treat Dr. Schecter's letter. His impressive 43-page CV is longer than most other scientist's or physician's thesis. He literally "wrote the book" on dioxin -Dioxins and Health, from Wiley and Sons. His CV is longer than most other physician's or scientist's thesis!

Wonderful, and just in time for our briefing to to the Institute of Medicine on 16 January in Irvine, California. 

Dear Mr. Carter: 
 I have reviewed the materials you sent me about your medical and military history and have the following conclusions:  
You were present in airplanes used in Vietnam for Agent Orange spraying missions.  
You spent considerable amount of time in these airplanes. There are DOD studies which document that these planes used in Vietnam during the Vietnam war are highly contaminated with the dioxin characteristic of Agent Orange, TCDD. TCDD is the most toxic of the dioxins.  
There is no doubt in my mind, as a physician who has studied Agent Orange and dioxin in Vietnam and in the USA since 1981 that you have had, as a result of your work in the military to above background exposure to TCDD from work in fixed wing aircraft previously used for Agent Orange spraying missions in Vietnam. 
This exposure is similar to the amount of exposure Vietnam veterans would be expected to have and which the VA assumes they have had.  
In my professional judgment you are at increased risk for illness from the dioxin in Agent Orange because of your exposure to it from your military service.  
I have not been paid for my review of your records or this document. If I can be of more assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or refer VA officials to me.  
With best wishes for your health in this new year and in coming years, 
Sincerely yours,
Arnold Schecter, MD, MPH,FACPM, FACP, FACOEM  
University of Texas School of Public Health
Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Program

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