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Speedy aid urged for Agent Orange victims

A 4-year-old boy whose father was exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, at a rehab session in Hanoi. A 4-year-old boy whose father was exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, at a rehab session in Hanoi. (Chitose Suzuki/Associated Press)
By Associated Press
September 9, 2009

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HANOI - Vietnam urged the United States to speed funding for Agent Orange victims yesterday at the start of the fourth annual meeting on joint efforts to clean up areas that American forces contaminated with the toxic herbicide during the Vietnam War.

US troops sprayed Agent Orange on jungles to deprive Vietnamese troops of ground cover. Vietnam says 1 million to 4 million of its citizens may have suffered serious health consequences.

So far, cleanup efforts have focused on the airport at Danang, a former US air base where troops stored, mixed, and loaded Agent Orange onto planes.

Agent Orange is perhaps the war’s most contentious legacy. After years of disagreement, the two sides began working together in 2006 to address problems linked to the herbicide. A joint study in Danang found levels of dioxin, the highly toxic element of Agent Orange, were 300 to 400 times higher than internationally accepted limits.

The two sides have already taken temporary steps to contain dioxin at the Danang site. They are seeking ways to remove the dioxin from the soil.