I think many people will find this story [below] quite interesting.
Probably this topic should be covered in at least one chapter in my autobiography (if and when I ever get around to writing it; Obama is 2 or 3 autobiographies ahead of me already).
This “E-Chat Group” deals mostly with Climate Science, but sometimes they stray into other scientific fields of endeavor … such as this professor emeritus in Forestry at OSU who prides himself at being exposed multiple times to spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam and Philipines (while doing research field work).
Agent Orange contains (as an undesirable byproduct) <1% 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) which is the most potent (chemical) TOXICANT known (snake, spider (peptide) poisons are TOXINS, not toxicants). I know a little bit about TCDD, … having worked with it (in our lab) from 1973 until retirement in 2o13. TCDD causes oxidative stress [reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation] but only at levels of about >10 nM (nanoMolar) … which of course is much higher than “average contaminated soil levels” environmental exposures.
TCDD is also a tumor promoter. If a person is GENETICALLY PRONE to cancer risk (i.e. might develop a mutation, which is “on the way to cancer”) caused by tumor initiators (which TCDD is not), one does see increased rates of (quite rare cancer types) soft-tissue sarcomas and brain cancer, compared with any control (never exposed) populations. As with everything in Life, we’re talking about ‘gene-environment interactions’ (genetic risk and exposure dose of the toxicant). TCDD is not mutagenic and therefore is not a tumor initiator in the true sense of the word.
Most importantly, TCDD is a growth promoter––interfering with multiple developmental biology gene expression pathways that are very basic to life. Consequently, in utero deaths and stillborns, decreased fertility, and BIRTH DEFECTS are most commonly seen in heavily exposed human populations. And this risk of birth defects can even be passed to the children, and their children––without further exposure (transgenerational epigenetics). There are horrific youtube videos that one can find on the web, showing these kids without limbs or with spinal deformities, etc. Quite grotesque.
Babies in Vietnam born with horrific defects 40 years since Agent …
www.dailymail.co.uk/…/40-years-Agent-Orange-heartbreaking-pictures-ba… Daily Mail
Apr 25, 2014 – Among the illnesses contracted by people exposed to the dioxin are non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, several varieties of cancer, type 2 diabetes, soft tissue sarcoma, birth defects in children, spina bifida and reproductive abnormalities, to name a few.
a wide range of disabilities – Agent Orange Record
However, it is the concern for those children with birth defects and other disabilities … to Agent Orange/dioxin that has received the most attention in Vietnam and …
Birth Defects in Children of Vietnam and Korea Veterans – Public Health
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Jun 3, 2015 – Spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta), a defect in the developing fetus that results in incomplete closing of the spine, is associated with Veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during qualifying service in Vietnam or Korea.
In the biggest TCDD exposure outside of Vietnam, an explosion in a hexachlorophene soap factory Seveso, Italy (July 1976; I was at a scientific meeting in Hamburg at the time) led to several “zones” of exposure gradient in an oval shape a few miles around ground zero. This population (by zone) was followed VERY closely by epidemiologists ever since. Unexpectedly, no increases in stillbirths or subsequent birth defects were found. However, starting in the mid 1990s, heart disease (elevated blood pressure and heart attacks) became very prevalent in the heavily exposed compared with less-exposed and nonexposed populations. This is due to TCDD’s effect again as a growth promoter and cause of severe ROS formation interfering with MANY developmental biology gene expression pathways––including lipid biosynthesis and, ultimately, atherosclerotic plaque formation in arteries.
Dow Chemical Company (Midland, MI) was sued for environmental contamination around its plant there, and the lawyers wanted me to testify against Dow. However, Dow has given me free TCDD, as much as I ever wanted, for FOUR DECADES. I could not “bite the hand that feeds me”, and therefore declined. Alternatively, I could’ve testified FOR Dow (as I had been invited several times to do for cigarette companies), because a ‘gene-environment interactions’ scientist can always say in a court of law: “It’s not the dose or exposure that you received, … it’s YOUR bad genes thay gave YOU increased risk, as an individual.”