[Source] Monsanto and Dow were 2 of the 9 wartime contractors hired by the US government to create Agent Orange, a combination of the toxic chemicals 2,4-D, and 2,4,5-T, just over 40 years ago. The damage these chemicals have perpetrated on our health and environment did not end with the Vietnam War though.
Aside from the long-term poisoning of soil and crops, a new review of Agent Orange research has found evidence that bladder cancer and hypothyroidism are more strongly linked to exposure to Agent Orange than was previously assumed.
Although the new information does not support a previously-held belief that spina bifida, a birth defect, occurs more often in the offspring of exposed veterans, a report released by the Institute of Medicine on the health effects of Agent Orange recommended the Veterans Affairs Department grant service-connected presumption to veterans with “Parkinson’s-like symptoms,” not just those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease related to Agent Orange exposure. In addition cancer, endocrine disease, and neurological impairment still loom large in the shadow of Agent Orange’s use.
Government agencies and their contractors who made these chemicals claim they dissipated shortly after being sprayed in the air, but two-thirds of these herbicides were contaminated with TCDD, a form of dioxin, a highly toxic substance linked to at least 15 classes of cancer and other medical conditions, as well as several birth defects.
The toxic legacy on the Vietnamese will remain for generations, even though the dioxin contaminant may eventually be cleansed from the “hot spots” remaining in parts of southern Vietnam to this day. (Agent Orange Record has a repository of information to corroborate these claims.)
The 1,115-page review is the last of a series conducted by the IOM (part of the National Academies) on health problems related to Agent Orange and other herbicide use during the Vietnam War.
The panel responsible for writing the report reviewed scientific literature released between October 2012 and September 2014, chaired by Kenneth Ramos, professor of medicine at the Arizona Health Sciences Center, University of Arizona.
The pronouncement that Agent Orange caused bladder cancer and hypothyroidism was tied to results of a large study of Korean War veterans who served in the Vietnam War.