Agent Orange is NOT the Cause of Veterans Health Problems…prove it

Malformed fetuses caused by exposure to DNS altering substances
Malformed fetuses caused by exposure to DNS altering substances

Prove to all those afflicted that Agent Orange IS NOT the cause of veterans health problems


by Ed Mattson


In my last article I used a quote which was so similar to many of those who have shared their stories with me…

“I have carried no hatred, bitterness or negative energy into this battle. I do not believe it would have changed the outcome. It would only have changed the outcome of ‘me’.”

The actual quote I used was sent to me by Lesli Moore Dahlke along with her tragic story of being exposed to Agent Orange while on a volunteer mission with the USO entertaining the troops in Vietnam in 1970. Lesli is the daughter of Del Moore, noted comedian and actor, appearing in The Patsy, The Nutty Professor, and other films of the Sixties. This July 1st, she received a final denial from the Department of Labor, on her claim filed under the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) for Workers Compensation for the exposure to Agent Orange, ending her final quest for governmental health coverage and help

Today, as Lesli’s endless battle with cancer continues, she like many others, has been tossed under the bus. Her injustice, like that being promulgated unto the veteran, is proof the government is doing everything in its power to shed responsibility for caring for those exposed to Agent Orange in spite of  “Memo53” which was written as part of the FECA (Federal Employee Compensation Act). It proclaimed “Gratuitous Entertainers With The Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Program Overseas” (that was Lesli) would be considered “employees” for the purposes of the FECA and, while on tour with the Armed Forces Entertainment Program, would be entitled to benefits under the Act in the event of death or disability.” Right…just like the promises made to all the veterans.

Lesli Moore in Vietnam in1970 with the USO

The letters keep coming in from veterans and civilians who had their run-ins with Agent Orange and are now coming forward to share their nightmares. I have followed-up with most of them so that I could share their stories with you, but there have been so many, it would take a book with many volumes to cover them all. It is tragic. So many lives and families ruined.

So today I thought I’d write about how Agent Orange, like many other toxins, cause so much damage to the body. We all have seen the many symptoms, but how does AO interact in the body? I’ll try to keep it in layman’s terms.

As I wrote in my book, “Say NO to the Undertaker…Winning Your Battle with Cancer” (ISBN 9781425911829), everything related to the body’s health revolves around the immune system, the soundness of which is directly related to one’s genetic make-up. It is clear to us today that cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, ALS, coronary disease, and most all illness are genetically related. Science believes that for some there is a susceptibility to it “because it is in your family”, yet most often heredity is not a factor in a normally healthy body. That may be somewhat contrary to what you have read, but before a cell becomes malignant or abnormal, it will have to go through many genetic alterations, which govern how the cell functions normally. All major diseases stem from some gene or combination of genes not functioning correctly, disrupting a system that is routine and orderly.

Genes that cause a particular cancer or Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, MS, ALS and others diseases are already in your body. They function as a normal part of your body; they live and die in a normal cell cycle called apoptosis. When a cell cycle is disrupted, a cell may divide and duplicate much faster than normal, becoming totally uncontrollable by the immune system’s program of checks and balances, and becomes a malignant tumor, or develops into the disease for which the gene has been identified. In the case of most diseases, a cell quits or alters its function and allows the body to let the disease develop. It is kind of like a row of dominoes standing on end…push one down and they all begin to topple.

All living matter is made up of cells and each cell contains 46 chromosomes which are singular pieces of DNA- deoxyribonucleic acid (genetic protein) containing many genes, and regulatory elements. Cells are the basic unit of life itself. Cells normally divide and cycle regularly in about the length of time is takes for a day to cycle. This phenomenon is like watching a ballet, where everything is controlled to insure that what goes on inside our chromosomes, is replicated every time, right on time, and in exactly the same way, giving birth to two daughter cells. Each component of a cell has a specific task in the cell cycle process to insure the daughter cells are exact duplicates of the parent cell.

When there is an alteration or a mutation in just one of these genes, the whole cycle can be effected. Yet the strange thing is we know all cells have some abnormalities or aberrations, which are held in check and or corrected by two specific genes…the DNA Repair genes, and Tumor Suppressor genes (P53,PRB, P16, etc.). The Proto-Oncogene gene also plays an important role in cell division, which like a cup of coffee in the morning, is the gene most responsible for initiating the cell-cycle process.

It is an acknowledged fact that toxins damage or alter DNA, which then adversely affects the neat and orderly cell cycle process, leading to a proliferation of disease. It really is that simple. If we can all agree that toxins have this ability to damage and alter DNA, why is there any question as to the culpability of toxins like Agent Orange leading to the current catastrophe involving the thousands of claims by veterans and citizens who are seeking medical help?

It is hard to deny the fact that there are certainly other factors which can lead to DNA damage such as substance abuse, lifestyle choices and even some heredity factors, but toxic poisoning must become the leading suspect for those who were exposed while serving where such agents were deployed or where, by the tasks they were ordered to perform, put them into contact.

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot and require the government to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that Agent Orange and other toxins to which military personnel were exposed, are not the root cause of the medical problems. That would seem to be the fair way to administer justice.


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Following his service in the Marine Corps Ed Mattson built a diverse career in business in both sales/marketing and management. He is a medical research specialist and published author. His latest book is Down on Main Street: Searching for American Exceptionalism Ed is currently Development Director of the National Guard Bureau of International Affairs-State Partnership Program, Fundraising Coordinator for the Warrior2Citizen Project, and Managing Partner of Center-Point Consultants in North Carolina. Mr. Mattson is a noted speaker and has addressed more than 3000 audiences in 42 states and 5 foreign countries. He has been awarded the Order of the Sword by American Cancer Society, is a Rotarian Paul Harris Fellow and appeared on more than 15 radio and television talk-shows.