Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, June 15, 2007

Extreme dioxin levels remain in Viet Nam

New reports have surfaced concerning high levels of dioxin, the poison found in Agent Orange, at the former U.S. air base in Danang, The Associated Press reported yesterday. According to independent soil testing this spring, the levels of dioxin are, the article says, “300 to 400 times higher than internationally accepted limits.”

Thomas Boivin, the independent scientist conducting the tests remarked, “They’re the highest levels I’ve ever seen in my life. If this site were in the U.S. or Canada, it would require significant studies and immediate cleanup.” Although the most highly contaminated areas are contained in the air base, blood tests of locals in the area have yielded high dioxin levels, especially those who fish or harvest lotus flowers from a nearby lake.

During the war in Viet Nam, the U.S. stored Agent Orange in containers that often leaked when preparing for operations. While the chemical is not absorbed by rice, it remains in animals, especially fish, and soil.

The U.S. Congress has recently set aside $3 million to aid in dioxin cleanup, however, such a package does little to address a full solution, which would cost an estimated $40 million.

For the full article, click here.

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