Vietnamese study confirms Agent Orange’s deadly legacy

August 24, 2006

U.S. planes spray the defoliant Agent Orange over southern Vietnam in 1966 (Photo: AP)  

Latest studies on Agent Orange/dioxin have proved its long-lasting effects on human health and the environment, a Vietnamese doctor has said.

Assistant Professor Doctor Nguyen Van Tuong of the Hanoi Medical University said a recent study by medical researchers from around the country indicated that dioxin residues remained at high levels in some areas like the airport in the central Da Nang city, Bien Hoa Airport in the southern Dong Nai province, and the Nam Dong area in the central Thua Thien-Hue province.

The study, involving genetics, immunology, biochemistry, and hematology among people with high risk of exposure to the dioxin, also found that the rate of lymphocyte disorders in a high-risk group in Bien Hoa was 59 percent and in Nam Dong, 24.7 percent.

This compared with only 2.6 percent for a group not exposed to AO/dioxin during and after the war in the northern city of Hai Phong.

The ability to produce antibodies against HBsAg and hepatitis B surface antigen, among the high risk groups in Bien Hoa and Nam Dong was significantly lower than the group from Hai Phong.

Research conducted among veterans who fought in the south during the war and now live in Hanoi’s Cau Giay district found there was a marked level of 2,3,7,8 TCDD, one of the most potent toxic dioxins, in their blood and a high rate of mental, respiratory, and dermatological diseases.

A gene analysis carried out on five generations of veterans’ families in the northern provinces of Ha Tay and Thai Binh indicated changes in Gene P53, Cyp 1A1 and AhR, which have been proven to have a relationship to dioxin exposure.

Scientists from the Hanoi University of Medicine, the Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University, the Military Academy of Medicine, the Vietnam-Russia Tropical Centre, and the Biotechnology Centte jointly conducted the research.

Dr Tuong said that tests for the research had been conducted at the Analysis and Experiment Service Centre in HCMC and the Fukuoka Institute of Health and Environmental Sciences of Japan.

He would report the study results on behalf of the research team at an international conference on dioxin scheduled for August in Norway, he said.

Source: VNA


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