24 January 2014

AF Decision Not to Inform Agent Orange-exposed Veterans May Violate DOD Instruction No: 6490.03

The decision by the Air Force not to inform veterans who'd flown the C-123 transports about our Agent Orange exposures may have violated an important formal instruction issued by the Department of Defense.

DOD Instruction Number 6490.03 states that:
"All exposures shall be reported that are immediately hazardous to life or health or that may significantly increase long-term health risks (e.g., cancer) through appropriate command channels."

The dioxin (the toxic component of Agent Orange) contamination was first confirmed in 1979 (Conway) and confirmed by testing the same airplane at the USAF Museum in 1974. Patches, Tail #362, was determined to be "heavily contaminated with dioxin on all test surfaces" and "a danger to public health."

Despite this, AF officials in the USAF Office of Environmental Law directed all relevant information "be kept in official channels only," and the veterans not informed. In 2013, the Assistant Surgeon General of the Air Force told the Senate this was "to prevent undue distress."

We see nothing in DOD Instruction Number 6490.03 about preventing servicemember or veterans' "distress." We can read between the lines, however, and see that the AF prefered to keep the whole mess under cover. Or, as officials at Davis-Monthan AFB said when the C-123s were being shredded as toxic waste in 2010, "below the media's radar." That's why the consultant from the Office of Secretary of Defense congratulated Hill AFB and Davis-Monthan AFB officials...the whole mess was kept as quiet as possible.

I'm sure the VA and USAF wouldn't want to cause undue distress by telling veterans that we now have a 180-fold increase in our cancer risk factors, according to the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registery. 

I guess that's why VA rejected the CDC finding, as well as findings by all the other federal agencies stepping in to tell VA we'd been exposed!

Check it out...we're not making this stuff up. We don't have to! We provided the hotlinks above...any question, just drop us a note.

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