Vietnam: Agent Orange 40 Years Later

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Nguyen Thi Dung, 45, grins for a photograph near her drink stand in Da Nang, Vietnam. Dung's father was a soldier for the South Vietnamese army during the Vietnam War and died at 62 from complications related to Agent Orange exposure. She and an older brother were born with hip dysplasia that doctors say is linked to their father's exposure, and she suffers from neurological damage that causes one side of her mouth to droop and for her eyes and mouth to twitch uncontrollably. "My son's condition is even worse," she says. "There are three generations in my family like this, and the doctors say that for all three generations, our condition is because of Agent Orange." The family survives partially on about $25 that each gets monthly from the Da Nang Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, an aid group. 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.