Vietnam: Agent Orange 40 Years Later

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Le Thi Phung cares for her 19-year-old son, Mai Dinh Tu, a second generation victim of Agent Orange, in their house south of Da Nang, Vietnam. Phung's husband served as a bomb disposal soldier from 1975 to 1990 and worked in many areas that had been sprayed with herbicides sprayed during the war. "He had to go to many dangerous places," says retired Col. Thai Thanh Hung, chairman of the Da Nang Veterans Association. "He could not refuse the orders." Phung's first child was born mentally disabled, and her son Tu was born with disorders that have left him  unable to talk or even sit up on his own. The Vietnam Red Cross estimates that 3 million Vietnamese suffer from illnesses related to dioxin exposure, including at least 150,000 people born with severe birth defects since the end of the war. The U.S. government is paying to clean up dioxin-contaminated soil at the Da Nang airport, which served as a major U.S. base during the conflict. But the U.S. government still denies that dioxin is to blame for widespread health problems in Vietnam and has never provided any money specifically to help the country's Agent Orange victims. May 30, 2012.
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