Vietnam: Agent Orange 40 Years Later

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Nguyen Thi Ly, 11, pauses while skipping rope in her village south of Da Nang, Vietnam. She is a third generation victim of dioxin exposure, the result of the U.S. military's use of Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago. She suffers from facial deformities and chronic bone pain, but is otherwise a normal little girl with hopes and dreams for the future. "I want to be a teacher in a primary school," she says, shyly. "She's very good at mathematics and literature," adds her mother, Le Thi Thu, 42, who suffers from the same afflictions. "She's very hard-working and industrious." 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 28, 2012.
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