Dioxin from Agent Orange, a herbicide sprayed over Vietnam 40 years ago by US forces, persists in food and soil and continues to endanger people’s health, says an international research team.
Arnold Schecter of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas, United States, and colleagues collected samples of poultry and fish from markets in Bien Hoa City, near Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Their results, reported in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, show extremely high levels of dioxin contamination in ducks — up to 331 parts per trillion. Normal levels in food are less than 0.1 ppt.
The team also found high concentrations in local people and soil samples. They recommend that food supplies, healthcare and environmental decontamination measures be made available, and that further studies be conducted on Vietnam veterans.
Reference: BMJ, 327, 521 (2003)