04 December 2013

Institute of Medicine Releases Newest Agent Orange Review

Released today, the Institute of Medicine's Agent Orange Committee delivered their 2012 update on Agent Orange issues. Because the IOM only considers issues submitted to them by the VA, there was very little controversial coverage...nothing done regarding C-123 or next-generation exposure concerns because these were not in the tasking paid for by the VA in their charge to the IOM.

Instead, the IOM's 2012 report simply noted our January presentation to them and dismissed their involvement with us by stating exposures outside Vietnam were not a part of their VA assignment. True enough, but our presentation to them dealt with the VA's treatment of the concept of "exposure" and the denial of VA benefits because Agent Orange hasn't been shown to be harmful (at least, from the perspective of VA's Compensation and Pension Service which uses that excuse to deny claims.)

We note with humor the fact that most of the committee are scientists, and only two are physicians. Based on earlier directives from Compensation and Pension Services only physicians are qualified to comment on Agent Orange (and none of them, unless they agree with VA perspectives!) so therefore this report shouldn't be acceptable to the VA!

In fact, of course, these committee members are dedicated professionals from science and medicine and their report is well-founded. We only mean to say the VA is highly selective in what input it will accept, and firmly determined to prevent any input which may (as it always does) confirm both the contamination of the C-123 and the exposure of its aircrews and maintenance personnel.

The single new conclusion was that there is limited or suggestive evidence of a scientifically meaningful association of stroke with exposure to the chemicals in question. This could be a tremendously important point, given the positive way Secretary Shinseki treated the IOM's earlier findings on heart disease!

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