The Washington Post

Help toxic chemical victims


Regarding the Feb. 18 news article “Fears of becoming ‘ toxic town’”:

When the toxic spill from a railroad derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, was set afire, dioxin, a chemical in Agent Orange, was likely created.

I was contaminat­ed by Agent Orange during the 18 months I spent in Vietnam during 1969 and 1970. As a civilian accompanyi­ng my journalist husband, I did not think of myself as a veteran of combat — and in my mind, only vets were victims of Agent Orange. Twenty-five years after we left Saigon, the first of five cancers struck. Our daughter, then a toddler, recently had a double mastectomy. The Vietnamese people suffered countless deaths from Agent Orange.

When the vinyl chloride that spilled out as a result of the derailment was set afire, dioxin likely contaminat­ed the people, soil and homes of the town for generation­s to come.

Agent Orange, sprayed over Vietnam from 1965 to 1971, was recognized in 1991 in the first Agent Orange Act passed by Congress. The science of dioxin contaminat­ion is well-known. If the government does not act, help for the victims in East Palestine will be muddled and those responsibl­e for the disaster will affirm that greed pays.

Ann Charnley, Oak Bluffs, Mass.

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