January 11, 1999
(202) 628-2700 Ext. 158
VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA SENDS QUERY TO NATIONAL ACADEMY
OF SCIENCES ON MISSING AGENT ORANGE REPORT
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) National President George C. Duggins
pressed the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to release an overdue report
on Agent Orange in a letter sent Jan. 4, 1999.
The Agent Orange Act of 1991 requires NAS to issue its report, and "at
least once every two years," as contracted with the U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA). Delays in issuing these reports, which are
an established pattern by NAS, seriously affect the VA health care and
compensation of veterans exposed to Agent Orange and their families.
In addition, the report might influence veterans and their children not
to procreate if it concludes that Agent Orange is linked to certain birth
defects in Vietnam veterans' children.
The Jan. 4 letter to NAS and copy to VA exhorts action on the parts
of both organizations. NAS issued its July 1995 report eight months
late and is now dragging out delivering its March 1998 report. NAS
has cited difficulty in finding qualified outside scientists to review
the results before issuing the report. VVA believes that this represents
a planning and resource allocation failure by NAS. As of this date,
VVA is not aware that NAS has requested any resource assistance in expediting
the issuance of this report.
President Duggins stated, "If NAS cannot keep its statutory, contractual
and moral obligations to issue its report on time, we may be forced to
ask VA to contract with ‘another appropriate scientific organization,'
" for future Agent Orange reports.
The serious need for additional research in Vietnam into the effects
of Agent Orange and dioxin exposure was recently expressed in a Dec. 11
letter to President Clinton by Senators Tom Daschle (D- SD), Tom Harkin
(D-IA), Arlen Specter (R-PA), John Rockefeller (D-WV), and Representative
Lane Evans (D-IL). Senator Daschle encouraged the president and the
National Institute of Environmental Sciences to use $1.5 million for research
in Vietnam, crucial to ensuring that Vietnam veterans and their children
receive proper health care and answers to the many questions about the
effects of exposure to Agent Orange.
Vietnam Veterans of America point of contact for additional information
is Scott D. Campbell at (202) 628-2700 Ext. 158 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally
chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely to the needs of
Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle
is "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."