(212) 760-9903 fax (212) 760-9906 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ffrd.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact John McAuliff
July 3, 2003 212-760-9903
Agent Orange Research and Policy Briefing
The United Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, NE, Washington DC
9 a.m. – 1 p.m., July 8, 2003.
In addition to posing long term health problems for American veterans, Agent Orange is an unresolved issue in US relations with Vietnam because of its probable medical and environmental impact on a resident population that faced both more intense and long term exposure. In the words of US Ambasador Raymond Burghardt, it is a "significant ghost."
The briefing will bring together leading US and Canadian researchers who have examined the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and investigated current dioxin levels still found in Vietnam affecting a new generation of Vietnamese. Participants will include representatives of Congressional offices, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, environmental groups and universities to discuss what these findings mean for future work on US veteran’s health as well as on environmental and humanitarian concerns in Indochina. The briefing is open to the media but reservations are required..
Representatives Lane Evans (D-IL), Ranking Democratic Member of the House Committee of Veteran’s Affairs will make opening remarks. He has been a strong advocate for Agent Orange compensation for veterans’ and their children and for full disclosure of locations of Agent Orange use.
Dr. Jeanne Mager Stellman of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has found that 1.82 million more gallons of herbicides were sprayed during the Vietnam War than previously estimated, with nearly double the level of dioxin. She will present a comprehensive database of herbicide use in Vietnam, enabling exposure estimations for US veterans and affected Vietnamese.
Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk of Hatfield Associates in Vancouver, Canada, will summarize findings in the A Luoi Valley (A So base) in central Vietnam, one of the many “dioxin hotspots” on former US military bases. Wayne will discuss the ongoing environmental impacts of herbicide use and remediation proposals.
Roger Rumpf of Project Lao Agent Orange Survey will provide a summary of what is known about the use of herbicides in Laos and efforts in cooperation with Rep. Lane Evans to ask the Pentagon and CIA to release more sealed records about the use of Agent Orange during the “secret war”.
Diane Fox, a PhD candidate at the University of Washington, will report on programs of international non-governmental organizations and the Vietnamese government to address the humanitarian needs of people presumed to be affected by exposure to Agent Orange.
A buffet lunch will be served, followed by the Washington premiere of the award-winning documentary “Friendship Village” directed by Michelle Mason and produced by Cypress Park Productions.
The briefing is coordinated by the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, an American non-governmental organization that has worked for the past 18 years to promote complete normalization of relations between the US and Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and to address the consequences of the Vietnam War. The briefing is co-sponsored by Oxfam America and the American Friends Service Committee