04 October 2014

VA Argues With Itself Over Agent Orange

Fact: Agent Orange (not all of it) contained a toxin called TCDD, a recognized human carcinogen.

Fact:  Different agencies within VA see it from opposite perspectives: one is from science (VHA) and the other from preventing veterans' claims (VBA)

Here are quotes from the two major VA agencies, VHA and VBA, and the Secretary himself:

-Veterans Health Administration: "TCDD is the most toxic of the dioxins, and is classified as a human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency"(1)

-Veterans Benefits Administration: "In summary, there is no conclusive evidence that TCDD exposure causes any adverse health effects."(2)

-Secretary Shinseki: "The Secretary remains committed to ensuring Vietnam-era Veterans receive benefits they have earned through their service.  This commitment includes determining presumptive service connection related to Agent Orange exposure when appropriate."(3) "TCC is the most toxic of dioxins. TCDD causes cell damage.  TCDD raises IHD rates.  TCDD damages arteries. "(4)

(1) VA web page "Facts About Herbicides"
ACTUAL CDC-Mandated C-123 Flight Suits. Confirmed by
Joint Services Records Research Center to VA May 2014.
(2) Mr T. Murphy, VA Director Compensation and Pension, "Advisory Opinion," denying a C-123 veteran's exposure claim. Mr. Murphy was modifying for VA's purposes the official finding by which the CDC/ATSDR actually concluded C-123 veterans have a 200-fold greater cancer risk, and that if the contamination on the airplanes had been known when they were in service (1972-1982) CDC would either order crews to wear full HAZMAT or ground the C-123s as a toxic hazard. ATSDR considers TCDD a toxic hazard and nothing in the report otherwise.  VA twisted everything! Mr. Murphy's rewrite, over his own signature of the CDC/ATSDR finding was read back and discussed with him face-to-face as well as in several letters and emails.
(3) VA Fact Sheet
(4) Senate Testimony by then-Secretary Shineski

Gosh...don't you wonder why Compensation and Pension skipped all but the Director's personal opinions and instead took the CDC/ATSDR finding that veterans were exposed and dismissed it, taking a official finding and clearly mistating its conclusions? And ignored the Secretary's "committed" approach?

This veteran considers the twisting of the ATSDR finding by Compensation and Pension to be a clear prevarication. On February 28 2013 it was brought to the attention of the Director of C&P who offered no correction then or since. It is still in the veteran's "C File," his Agent Orange claim denied.

It stands as another example of how the Secrretary's trust in the loyality and abilities of his staff was misplaced, leading to his resignation as scandal after scandal began unfolding.

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