Monday, May 11, 2009

Parkinson's Disease, Toxins and Denial

Recognition Deserved at a National Level for Vietnam Veterans with PD

Step 1 was taken by the State of Indiana. It was a bold, logical and decisive move to acknowledge that the toxins to which emergency responders can be exposed can cause Parkinson's disease. They can also cause other conditions and diseases as well, some of which are already recognized. Non-Hodgkin's lumphoma, soft-tissue sarcoma, chloracne, respiratory cancers, multiple myeloma, Type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), motor-neuron diseases, chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

The national disgrace is of course the way that veterans who came into contact with Agent Orange have been treated. Agent Orange is an herbicide which contains both 2,4-d and 2,4,5-T creating the uber-toxic dioxin. The military version of this dioxin is 1,000 times stronger than that used domestically. Malathion is another toxin to which the Vietnam veterans were exposed. This insecticide was also in regular household use in the 60s and 70s. It is a known PD toxin. It did a great job of killing the carpenter ants which were literally devouring our wood frame house back then. Often the military combined the dioxin with malathion.

In doing some preliminary research for this follow-up article to Parkinsons as a Line of Duty Disability, I came across this website:

We'll probably never see any accurate statistics about the number of Vietnam Vets who returned only to develop various cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and conditions unless some responsible federal agency commissions the Department of Commerce's Census bureau to acquire that information. Should it be done? Absolutely. Will it be done?

The link was identified by a study at Stanford University showing that Vietnam veterans are 2.6X more likely to develop PD than Vietnam era vets who were not stationed in Vietnam. In 2001 the VA created six Parkinson's disease centers in the Portland-Seattle area; San Francisco, CA; West Los Angeles; Houston, TX, Richmond, VA and Philadelphia, PA. The Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center network was established to deliver the latest clinical care, innovative research and education & outreach programs. In addition VA has 41 Consortium Centers to assure accessibility to movement disorder specialists or neurology clinicians. PADRECC was created in 2003. It is the VA's Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers. They have even applied for research grants.

But the grass roots movement is out there and since most vets are about the right age, many are have already developed the early onset symptoms of the PD. Was Agent Orange the trigger? Malathion?

We have known for some time about pesticide, herbicides and insecticide triggers for PD among the farming community. The Mayo Clinic has been tracking area residents since 1930 and ultimately found that men with Parkinson's were 2.4 times more likely to have had pesticide exposure than people who did not have PD.

Currently HR 1428 has been reintroduced by Representative Bob Filner. Stand by to lend your support. You can easily track the progress of this bill by returning to this link.

resources and reading:Just one of the versions of the Bruce Coulter article about the need for HR 1428
Bob Filner's 3-17-09 Letter in support of HR 1428
Parkinson's Action Network
Groups Discussion list at Yahoo
History of HR 1428 and S648
Agent Orange Helpline from US Department of Veterans Affairs
From the Australian government:

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