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Vietnam War veteran Robert Lindstrom grins at a young woman at a day care center for children affected by dioxin exposure near Da Nang, Vietnam. The Da Nang Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin says that more than 5,000 people -- including 1,400 children -- around the city suffer from mental and physical disabilities caused by dioxin exposure, the result of the U.S. military's use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago. About 200 children attend three centers operated by the group, where they are taught to read and write and socialize with other children. Some young adults are taught how to sew, make incense and handicrafts, with the goal of enabling them to work and make money for themselves and their families. The Vietnam Red Cross says that more than 3 million people suffer from illnesses related to Agent Orange and dioxin exposure, including at least 150,000 children born with severe birth defects since the end of the war. The U.S. government started paying last year to clean up dioxin-contaminated soil at the Da Nang airport, which served as a major U.S. base during the conflict. However, 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. March 18, 2013.
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