12 May 2014

DOD Inspector General Complaint filed by C-123 Veterans Association

Today the C-123 Veterans Association filed an official complaint via the Department of Defense Inspector General Hotline, asserting failure of DOD officials to designate Agent Orange-contaminated C-123 aircraft as "Agent Orange Exposure Sites," on a list maintained by the Department of Defense.

Because the presence (or absence) of sites on the Agent Orange Exposure Site List guides VA in approving or denying veterans' exposure claims, failure by DOD to place these toxic Agent Orange spray aircraft has endangered the health of veterans. VA cites the absence of these Vietnam War Agent Orange-spray aircraft as proof against veterans' claims.

This is unscientific and illogical. The contamination of the aircraft was established
by the Air Force itself over decades of testing. More current analysis of those tests led the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the US Public Health Service to inform the VA that the aircraft were contaminated with deadly dioxin, and the veterans exposed.

Most telling was the analysis by Dr. Tom Sinks, Deputy Director of the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry who concluded that the veterans were indeed exposed, and have a 200-fold greater cancer risk.

C-123 veterans have sought VA care for their Agent Orange illnesses for years, without success. VA even has denied C-123 veterans' exposure benefits, insisting that the toxin in Agent Orange is harmless. This is a wrong which veterans call on DOD to remedy.

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