Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., California State Council, Agent Orange Committee Chair, Bill Hodges
Agent Orange Class Assistance Program (AOCAP) 202-289-6173
National Veterans Legal Services Project
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AGENT ORANGE/DIOXIN CHILDREN'S REGISTRY
AO-2-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Reaffirm as AO-2-97)
Many veterans, having been exposed to Agent Orange /dioxin during military service or elsewhere, have children who may be physically or developmentally impaired as a result of such exposure, and there is no mechanism currently in place to monitor these children to establish patterns of physical or developmental impairments for purposes of ascertaining the effects of Agent Orange/dioxin exposure on these children's parents.
It would contribute significantly to the information available on the effects of exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin on the children of exposed veterans if a data bank were available. The development of a national data bank on these children both could and should be assembled which protects the privacy of these children and their families.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-2-93
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, Mo., August 5-10, 1997 , calls upon the U.S. Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize the work already done by the Association of Birth Defect Children. The Association should continue to register the children of Agent Orange/dioxin exposed veterans for the purpose of identification of any statistical linkage between parental exposure and the health problems of such children. Furthermore, VVA supports the Association in its continuing research of present and future generations of Agent Orange/dioxin exposed children.
STATE AGENT ORANGE/DIOXIN PROGRAMS
AO-3-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Reaffirm as AO-3-97)
State-funded Agent Orange/dioxin programs have significantly contributed to the scientific knowledge about Agent Orange/dioxin. Over the past few years, many of these programs have gone out of existence due to fiscal problems and/or lack of interest.
Since the early 1980's, a number of states initiated, most often through the advocacy of Vietnam veterans, state-sponsored Agent Orange/dioxin programs. Some of these programs, Massachusetts and New Jersey in particular, engaged in research programs which substantially contributed to the scientific information concerning Agent Orange/dioxin exposure. Others have had extensive education programs for veterans and health care providers. Over the past few years, many of these programs have felt the pinch of the fiscal constraint and seen their funding severely decreased or stopped.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-5-93
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, Mo., August 5-10, 1997 , supports the continuation of relevant state Agent Orange/dioxin programs and encourages state legislators to assist in the full resolution of the Agent Orange/dioxin issue by supporting state-funded research and education programs.
VVA AGENT ORANGE/DIOXIN GUIDE
AO-4-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Reaffirm as AO-4-97)
New research, new Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) regulations, and new legislation have, over the years, increased the knowledge about, and access to , services for veterans regarding Agent Orange/dioxin exposure. Veterans and veteran's advocates need to have timely and accurate information to address their concerns and those affected veterans and their families.
Vietnam Veterans of America has printed number of editions of the highly regarded VVA Guide on Agent Orange. Copies have been provided to all VVA Chapters and state councils, VVA service representatives, congressional offices and veterans and their families. Through the use of this guide, VVA members have become the most knowledgeable group of veterans on this issue and have used this knowledge to advocate for successful legislative regulatory initiatives.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-6-93
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, Mo., August 5-10, 1997 , mandates biennial revision and distribution of the VVA guide on Agent Orange.
ASSURE PROPER IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENT ORANGE ACT OF 1991
AO-5-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Reaffirm as AO-5-97)
While the legislation enacted on February 6, 1991, PL 102-04, represents legitimate progress toward a long term resolution of the Agent Orange/dioxin issue, success of the statute relies heavily upon the panel assembled by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and upon the willingness of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to accept its recommendations.
Under the circumstances, the proper execution of the law's intent requires careful monitoring of both the DVA and the NAS in order to assure the NAS panel is appropriately objective and the DVA heeds the recommendations of the NAS.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-7-93
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, MO, August 5-10, 1997 , will monitor the make-up of the NAS or any other contracted panel to assure its integrity as intended by law and will take all steps necessary to promote remedial legislation or other action as needed.
DIOXIN DISPOSAL METHODS
AO-6-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Refer to the Environmental Hazards Committee)
Disposal and storage of dioxin-contaminated materials and sediments can have a direct health impact on all citizens of this country.
Ocean dumping of contaminated materials can directly impact on the food chain, leading to ingestion of dioxin-laced fish, fowl, etc. In addition, unrestricted disposal of dioxin-contaminated materials in landfills can affect ground water reservoirs and aquifers. Incineration of these materials may result in release into the atmosphere of potentially hazardous substances. Proper and safe disposal must be used in dealing with Dioxins. VVA must remain knowledgeable about sediments and related factors and support necessary research to guarantee minimal health risks to the community.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-9-93
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, Mo., August 5-10, 1997 , opposes ocean dumping of dioxin-contaminated materials and calls for immediate termination of this practice. VVA supports research on existing methods of disposal or storage of dioxin-contaminated sediments and stands ready to work with all concerned scientific and ecological groups to ensure proper disposal or storage of these contaminated sediments.
KOREAN VETERANS AGENT ORANGE/DIOXIN
HEALTH CARE AND COMPENSATION
AO-7-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Reaffirm as AO-7-97)
American veterans were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin while serving in the Republic of Korea and no action has been taken by the U.S. Government.
Veterans who served in Korea still feel the effects of exposure such as cancers, unexplained illnesses, and birth defects in their offspring. The U.S. Government has never credibly dealt with the Agent Orange/dioxin issue for any veterans. American Korean veterans were not involved with the Agent Orange Product Liability lawsuit, known as MDL 381, and plaintiff veterans did not agree with the settlement.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-11-93
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, Mo., August 5-10, 1997 , urges all chapters, state councils and the national leadership of VVA to apply pressure to all branches of government for research and compensation for any American veterans exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin while serving in the Republic of Korea, based upon presumptive exposure.
CHILDREN'S HEALTH CARE
AO-8-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Reaffirm as AO-8-97)
Health care, compensation and education has been awarded to the children of Veterans who have spina bifida as a result of their parents exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin and other toxic chemicals while in military service. However, there are more birth defects that are associated with this exposure.
New studies are now showing a wide variety of birth defects in the children of civilians and veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin.
This resolution reaffirms and updates Resolution AO-3-93
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, Mo., August 5-10, 1997 , supports a comprehensive health-care and special needs program and compensation to assist Vietnam veterans' children and subsequent generations wo have birth defects, deficiencies, or disabilities reasonably associated with parental exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin and other toxic chemicals while in military service.
AGENT ORANGE/DIOXIN NETWORK
AO-9-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Reaffirm as AO-9-97)
Although Vietnam veterans have information available to them on Agent Orange/dioxin, they lack the immediate help and support that could be achieved through a veterans Agent Orange/dioxin network. We need more expansion and development of the network because of the releases of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reports.
Vietnam veterans and their families are frustrated over the lack of immediate information on Agent Orange/dioxin. The DVA has not cooperated in the dissemination of accurate information. Veterans and their families need to know that there is immediate help and information for this intensely human problem. This includes the personal support that affected veterans can receive from other veterans.
This resolution reaffirms and updates Resolution AO-8-93
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, Mo., August 5-10, 1997 , directs that the national Agent Orange/ Dioxin Committee under the direction of the National Agent Orange/Dioxin chair, shall;
1 . Hold an annual Agent Orange/Dioxin symposium which chapter and state council Agent Orange/dioxin committee chairpersons and any other interested parties may attend, for the purpose of:
a . continuing the development of national programs of direct and/or referral services;
b. continuing and enhancing an interstate and intrastate networking model of information and support services; and
c. continuing the development and implementation of questionnaires for the purpose of recording and measuring the past and current health status of VVA members, their spouses, their children and their grandchildren.
2. Require the National Board of Directors to maintain budget allocations for the aforementioned activities.
3. Actively promote and expand the Agent Orange/dioxin network.
PAPERMAKING MANUFACTURING PROCESSES
AO-10-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Refer to the Environmental Hazards Committee)
Promoting the elimination of dioxins introduced into the environment from papermaking manufacturing process should be an objective of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc.
The use of chlorine in the papermaking industry's bleaching processes has been proven to create dioxins which are released into the environment. In recent years, concerned with their role and their responsibility to help protect the environment, a segment of the papermaking industry has worked to develop and market "chlorine-free" paper. The term "chlorine-free" is applicable to two different processes. Most widespread s the process called "elemental chlorine-free" paper which does not use chlorine in the process, but does not contribute to Dioxins as a by-product. Today, "elemental chlorine-free" paper comprises about 60 - 70% of the print paper market. A small but growing segment of the industry has gone one step further. It has developed and markets a "total chlorine-free" paper which is totally free of chlorine in the manufacturing process. "Total chlorine-free" paper now makes up less than 1% of the print paper market. Both types of "chlorine-free" paper are available and cost about 10 - 25% more than paper that is not "chlorine-free."
This resolution reaffirms and updates Resolution AO-10- 95
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, Mo., August 5-10, 1997 , commends those segments of the papermaking industry who are engaged in research and development of alternative manufacturing processes to eliminate further introduction of Dioxins into the environment, especially those papermakers who have gone "the extra mile" in developing and manufacturing "total chlorine-free" paper; and, in support of attaining a dioxin free environment, VVA shall take all necessary measures to maximize the use of paper products utilized and consumed by VVA that are manufactured using the "chlorine-free" processes and VVA encourages in State Councils and Chapters to do likewise.
Also, Vietnam Veterans of America should make every effort to stop pulp and paper processes that create dioxin.
BAN THE MANUFACTURING, SALE AND USE OF 2,4,D
AO-11-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Refer to the Environmental Hazards Committee)
For at least 50 years the Department of Defense has intentionally exposed military personnel to potentially dangerous substances, often in secret. During the war in Vietnam when herbicides were used to defoliate dense jungle, our veterans were not aware of the toxicity of the chemicals used.
As a result of the veterans exposure to 2,4-D in Vietnam, veterans are being diagnosed 20 years later with rare cancers, sarcomas, immune deficiencies and Central Nervous System disorders. Children of exposed veterans are born with Learning Disabilities, Birth Defects and deficiencies.
Today, herbicide 2,4-D is being used for weed control across the United States; at National Cemeteries, school yards, golf courses and hospitals. It's used by utility companies, the Department of Transportation and railroads. Additionally, 2,4-D is being used by farmers which in turn is contaminating food crops, cattle, pigs, chickens etc. In addition to 2,4-D being used to eliminate the growth of plant life in our lakes thereby contaminating our freshwater and saltwater fish.
To date, approximately 240,000 veterans have died from diseases caused by their exposure to Agent Orange/Dioxin and the number climbs every day. The continued use of 2,4-D today further exposes our families and children to the same chemical our veterans were exposed to in Vietnam. This exposure jeopardizes the health of our families, children and future generations, making them susceptible to the same diseases our veterans are dying from.
Vietnam Veterans are acutely aware of the deadly consequences of exposure to 2,4-D. Health and Welfare Canada and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have identified at least four different isomers of dioxin as contaminates in 2,4-D. These Dioxins include the 2,3,7,8-TCDD isomer, which is the most deadly poison known to man.
Dioxin is contaminating the food chain of Vietnam Veterans and compromising the immune system of their children. Even more seriously, 2,4-D is being used at National Cemeteries, which shows the government's insensitivity to victims that have died of dioxin related cancers.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-11-95
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. at the National Convention in Kansas City, MO, August 5-10, 1997 , will seek legislation and administrative action to ban the manufacture, sale and use of 2,4-D worldwide.
VVA will take all steps necessary to promote legislation to carry out this action.
VVA encourages it's membership through the chapters and state councils to work with representatives and state legislators to obtain their support to ban the manufacturing, sale and use of 2,4-D worldwide.
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES FOR VIETNAM HOSPITALS
AO-12-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Refer to the Veterans Affairs or Veterans Initiative Committee)
There exists a great need for modern medical equipment and supplies at all levels of the Vietnamese health care system.
Medical technology in the United States is in a rapid state of change and growth. Whenever new technology is introduced into a hospital, many times older technology is exchanged for newer. This older technology is of no real value to the company since no United States hospital would probably accept it. The equipment or supplies would either be scraped or donated to another country. This technology may be outdated in our health care system, but would probably be ten or twenty years ahead of that available in Vietnam.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-12-95
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, Mo., August 5 - 10, 1997 urges all chapter, state council and national leadership to survey medical manufacturing companies and respective health facilities for excess or out-dated equipment and/or supplies that could be transferred to Vietnam.
U.S. TREATMENT FOR VIETNAMESE BIRTH DEFECT CHILDREN
AO-13-95 (The CSC AO Committee recommends: Refer to the Veterans Initiative Committee)
With the limited health care resources in Vietnam, many newer techniques are not available for treating the physical deformities of Vietnamese children.
Every year hundreds of nurses and surgeons in the United States travel to other countries to perform surgeries that are not available within that country's health care system. Some of the more difficult cases are brought to the United States for more extensive treatment, surgery and rehabilitation.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-13-95
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, MO, August 5-10, 1997 , urges the national leadership to explore the establishment of relationships between existing organizations involved in international medical missions and the people of Vietnam.
NIEHS FUNDING FOR 10-80 COMMITTEE
(The CSC AO Committee recommends: Reaffirm as AO-14-97 with the following changes: 1) Change title to "NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES FUNDING FOR 10-80 COMMITTEE." 2) As the words are identified in the text. In the POSITION section, NIEHS should stand alone without "the National Institute of Environmental Sciences." This title should be removed. 3) NAS is not needed in the POSITION section as this is the only place that the National Academy of Sciences is listed.)
The best laboratory for research on the environment and health risks associated with Agent Orange/Dioxin contamination is Vietnam. Funding must be provided for this essential research to find the final solution/resolution on the dioxin problem.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has "earmarked" $50 million for funding health related studies from Vietnam. The National Agent Orange Coordinating Council, chaired by Admiral (Retired) E.R. Zumwalt is the best advocate for Vietnam veterans on the issue of Agent Orange/Dioxin exposure and its effects on health.
This resolution reaffirms Resolution AO-14-95
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the national convention in Kansas City, MO, August 5-10, 1997 , through its representation on the National Agent Orange Coordinating Council, supports the advocacy of the Council with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for "earmarked" funding for health related studies in Vietnam in conjunction with protocol established by the 10-80 Committee, the Vietnamese counterpart to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
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Vietnam Veterans of America
California State Council
P. O. Box 3007
Riverside, CA 92519-3007