Lingering amounts of the herbicide Agent Orange aboard repurposed airplanes after the Vietnam War could have sickened military veterans, according to a new federal report.
In findings released Friday, an Institute of Medicine committee “emphatically” refutes a recurrent argument made by the U.S. Air Force and Department of Veteran Affairs that any carcinogenic dioxin or other components of Agent Orange contaminating its fleet of C-123 cargo planes would have been “dried residues” and therefore unlikely to pose any meaningful exposure risks to the 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force Reserve personnel who served aboard the planes between 1972 and 1982.
That contention has been the basis for the VA’s denial of benefits to sick veterans, and remains reflected on the agency’s website today. But in the new report, the committee states “with confidence” that these dried residues in fact could have posed dangers: the Air Force Reservists “were exposed,”…
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