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Agent Orange/dioxin effect on pregnancy at Vietnam’s hotspots still high: survey

Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 18:41 GMT+7
Agent Orange/dioxin effect on pregnancy at Vietnam’s hotspots still high: survey
This file photo shows U.S. environmental experts working in a dioxin clearance project at the Da Nang airport in the central city of Da Nang.

The damaging effect of Agent Orange/dioxin on pregnancy at three hotspots in Vietnam is still serious, according to the latest research conducted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The findings were announced at a scientific conference held yesterday by the two ministries.

According to Professor and Doctor Tran Duc Phan from Hanoi Medical University, the dioxin chemicals used by the U.S. military during the war in Vietnam before 1975 continue to cause high rates of miscarriage, stillborns, and congenital malformation.

It is serious at the three hotspots including the Da Nang and Phu Cat airports in the central region and the Bien Hoa terminal in the south, where the U.S. military kept large amounts of dioxin chemicals during wartime.

The ministries surveyed 1,500 pregnant women in Da Nang’s Thanh Khe District, 6,600 mothers-to-be in Phu Cat District of Binh Dinh Province, and 1,551 expectant women in Bien Hoa City, which is the capital of Dong Nai Province.

The results showed that the rate of miscarriage was 3.79 percent in Thanh Khe, 6.57 percent in Bien Hoa, and 4.45 percent in Phu Cat.

The rates of death in womb were 1.59 percent in Thanh Khe, 2.38 percent in Bien Hoa, and 0.49 percent in Phu Cat.

“Researchers discovered a link between abnormality in pregnancy and exposure to dioxin-related chemicals,” Dr. Phan said.

Specifically, the rate of miscarriage in Thanh Khe and Phu Cat in 2013 was even higher than that in 2001.

“We recommend that all women of child bearing age must be prescribed folic acid before their pregnancy,” said the doctor.

From the 1950s to 1975, the U.S. military sprayed 80 million liters of dioxin chemicals on forests and residential areas in Vietnam.

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