During the American War over 20 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed over Vietnam and to a lesser extent, Laos and Cambodia.
Two-thirds of these herbicides were contaminated with TCDD, or dioxin, that the EPA recognizes as known human carcinogen. The story of Agent Orange is a long and complicated one that in itself is fascinating to explore.
WLP has compiled the various aspects of this issue in a comprehensive website called the Agent Orange Record that it maintains and updates on a regular basis.
For more detailed information about the health and environmental impacts of Agent Orange, studies, news and books about the topic visit our site at http://www.agentorangerecord.com.
WLP advocates for increased US engagement to clean up the known dioxin hotspots at former US military bases in Vietnam and to provide funding to research the extent of contaminated at other potential hotspots throughout southern Vietnam and Laos. We are optimistic that by the end of 2020, the issue of dioxin contaminated hotspots in Southeast Asia can be resolved.
Currently the US government working with the Vietnamese government to clean-up the dioxin contamination at the Da Nang airport in a project that will be completed by the end of 2017. The US has completed the environmental impact study of the dioxin contamination at the Bien Hoa Airbase. They are working with the Vietnamese government to determine what clean-up or containment techniques will be used to remediate the site.
On the human health front, much more needs to be done. The US government continues to be hesitant to specifically support those believed by the Vietnamese to be impacted by Agent Orange/ Dioxin. Instead, USAID's supports those with disabilities in Vietnam 'regardless of cause'.
However, WLP working with others have been able to get the funding targeted to those in Vietnam with "severe upper or lower body mobility impairment and/or cognitive or developmental disabilities" from "areas sprayed with Agent Orange and otherwise contaminated with dioxin." in 2017 the US allocated $10 million for Vietnam for Health and Disability services. Five NGOs in Vietnam now have grants to expand their programs.
Unfortunately, this funding only reaches a small percentage of those in need in Vietnam and rarely reaches rural populations. With funding from the Bob Feldman Fund and individual donors WLP provides direct support to those families in Vietnam with severely disabled children believed to be impacted by Agent Orange/Dioxin.
In addition, the US does not address the impacts of Agent Orange in Laos or Cambodia. With funding from Green Cross International, the Year of Giving Generously, and individual donors WLP is working to determine the extent of the dioxin contamination in Laos and its impacts on human health. We are also providing direct support to people with disabilities in the heavily sprayed villages in Salavan and Savannakhet provinces.