[sixties-l] Agent Orange may affect children of Vietnam veteran

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 02:34:25 EDT

  • Next message: radman: "[sixties-l] VIETNAM: WHAT WENT WRONG?"

    Agent Orange may affect children of Vietnam veterans

    By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (April 20, 2001 8:43 a.m. EDT) - Vietnam veterans may have passed
    down the dangerous aftereffects of the chemical Agent Orange to their
    children, according to a study released Thursday.

    The Institute of Medicine reported that the children of veterans exposed to
    herbicides such as Agent Orange seem to have a greater chance of being
    afflicted with a certain type of leukemia called acute myelogenous leukemia.

    The new analysis makes the first connection between the childhood disease
    and the pesticide, although it stops short of saying the link is conclusive.

    "I'm deeply concerned about the implications for the children of veterans
    exposed to Agent Orange," Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi
    said in a telephone interview. He called the report "very serious."

    Principi said President Bush has directed him to prepare legislation to
    assist children with the disease. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., said he will
    introduce a bill to provide compensation and medical care for these

    Acute myelogenous leukemia is a fast-spreading form of leukemia that
    originates in bone-marrow cells. It accounts for about 8 percent of all
    childhood cancers, the report said. It is also known as acute myloid
    leukemia and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.

    Rick Weidman, vice president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said his group
    is "pleased that they recognized one additional birth defect in children
    born to Vietnam veterans." But, he added, it is also very sad news because
    most of these children have already died. The median life expectancy for
    children diagnosed with this type of leukemia is two years, he noted.

    Dr. Linda Schwartz, head of the association's health care task force, said
    that last year Congress approved a broad program to assist female Vietnam
    veteran's children with birth defects. She called for a similar program for
    the children of male vets.

    "No firm evidence links exposure to the herbicides with most childhood
    cancers, but new research does suggest that some kind of connection exists
    between (acute myelogenous leukemia) in children and their fathers' military
    service in Vietnam or Cambodia," said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of
    epidemiology at the University of North Carolina.

    Hertz-Picciotto was chair of the institute committee that prepared the new
    report: "Veterans and Agent Orange, Update 2000."

    The report is the most recent in a series by the institute, a division of
    the National Academy of Sciences, looking at the effects of the herbicides
    used in Vietnam.

    During Vietnam, thousands of veterans were exposed to Agent Orange, a
    defoliant used to clear areas of jungle so the Viet Cong could be seen and
    attacked from the air.

    The new study also reaffirms earlier findings linking herbicide exposure
    with the development of soft tissue cancer, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's
    lymphoma and chloracne in veterans.

    The committee said it based its new finding on two studies published last

    While the studies lacked a direct measure of exposure to the herbicides,
    both were conducted with Vietnam veterans and an association was indicated
    with childhood AML, though not other forms of childhood leukemia.

    One study, for example, looked at 50,000 Australian veterans of the Vietnam
    War. It found 13 cases of AML in their children, while in a normal
    population that size the number of cases expected would be between zero and

    The strongest link was seen in children who developed the disease at the
    youngest ages, which suggests that the cause may stem from a parent, the
    report added.

    In addition, a third study found that childhood development of AML was more
    likely in the offspring of men who use pesticides or herbicides in their

    The committee listed the connection as suggestive rather than conclusive,
    saying that the evidence wasn't strong enough to be sure that chance or
    other factors didn't influence the results.

    Previous studies evaluated by the institute have found suggestive but not
    conclusive evidence of a link between herbicide exposure and respiratory
    cancers, prostate cancer, type two diabetes, spina bifida in children and
    other conditions.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Wed Apr 25 2001 - 20:06:51 EDT