Letter to the Editor


Concerning an article written by Don Wilkins, Owensboro Messenger, concerning “Agent Orange,”

Vietnam vets and all the associated illnesses — congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, post-traumatic stress. These things cut short the lives and livelihood of many young people from the service years of Vietnam, and these should be taken care of by the government and VA.

What I would like to stipulate also, in the mountain states, all those diseases that veterans have and were put upon them also the same symptoms are suffered by mountain people.

As a young person, helicopters would come into our community and spray the wire lines. The barrels would have an orange band, with the word, dioxin, or Agent Orange. When it was spayed over the mountains, it would stink and be very sticky on your skin.

As boys, we would follow the crews at the landing sites for we had never seen helicopters with big spray nozzles. After the spraying, within one-to-two days after, the sun was hot, all foliage was dead in the spray zones. While we were in the Dayhoit super fund site, we learned that 54 nations still produced, and used dioxin, and until 1977, with the passage of chemical laws, basically all states used dioxin for highway, railroads, weed control, wire lines.

People at that time didn’t know the effects of chemicals or chemicals similar to Dioxin. Oil was used for wood floors, roads in the mountains were sprayed with oil to control dust where there was no blacktop in early years. This oil contained PCBs — polychlorinated biphenyl — cancer-causing units. Some PCBs will cling to the rocks in ground water for 50- to 100-years.

Zeke Williams


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