Dioxin: What The Navy Knew And When

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Posted on June 15, 2009 by VNVETS

What the U.S. Navy knew and didn’t [or wouldn’t!] tell us.

An OP-ED Paper by Chuck Graham, with Susie Belanger

I’m a U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran and I have had a claim in place with the Department of Veterans Affairs [DVA] since 2003. Like so many of you I’ve been on the hamster wheel and suffered through the Haas appeal all to no avail. Over the years I’ve researched any available material that might help prove that the U.S. Navy had knowledge to support the findings of the Australian Study, ENTOX, also called NRCET from 2002. This study involved the co-distillation of Dioxin through the fresh water evaporator systems commonly used aboard Royal Australian Naval Ships that were present in Vietnam. The same evaporator systems were commonly used by U.S. Navy Ships that were present in Vietnam, as the majority of the Australian Naval Ships were built at U.S. Naval Shipyards. It is my hope that the following information will shed some knowledge of what the U.S. Navy knew and had in their possession and if they knew then the Department of Defense [DOD] and more than likely the Veterans Administration [VA], now the Department of Veterans Affairs [DVA], also knew.

Click here to read the Australian Study

As far back as 1946 the U.S. Navy had knowledge of the dangers of distilling water for shipboard uses while in littoral waters or certain other locations. This was evidenced by the fact that while conducting atomic radiation testing at Bikini Atoll, they were warned not to utilize any seawater aboard ships in the area, for fear of contamination by the radiation which had contaminated the coastal waters. This was “Operation Crossroads” and 79 ships that were present during these tests, were salvaged and sent to Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco for decontamination. An acid wash had to be used to decontaminate the evaporators and water purification systems.

In the U.S. Army Technical Manual TM 5-813-8 from September 1986 on water Desalination chapter 5-1 paragraph C, states "Some organic materials will carry across a distillation/condensation process with the water. Pesticides and industrial organic chemicals may be difficult to remove by distillation/condensation."

Click here to read the U.S. Army Technical Manual TM 5-813-8, SEP 1986

Ok folks, let’s look at and re-read that statement!! Someone in the Army had to have done some tests to make that statement. How else would they have known, without testing the condensate, that this was so? That proves that the Military knew that dioxin/herbicides/pesticides would remain in distilled water.

The Manual of Naval Preventive Medicine NAVMED P -5010-6 rev 1990, chapter 6 Water Supply Afloat sec 6-3 states, "Distillation of water from harbors or from polluted sea water is to be avoided except in emergencies. Sea water must be assumed polluted when ships are operated in close formation."

Click here to read NAVMED P-5010-6 rev 1990

In the U.S. Navy’s Risk Analysis of Shipboard Drinking Water Chemical Contaminants, August 18, 2000, author Lieutenant Michael D. Cassady, Medical Service Corps, U.S. Navy states, "An important aspect of the drinking water produced onboard ships and submarines is, its source. Ships and submarines routinely do not produce water unless they are at least twelve miles from the shoreline...However, the operational environment for ships and submarines is changing and more missions are requiring operations in littoral waters for extended lengths of time. Littoral waters are more likely to be at risk for primary and secondary contaminates."

Click here to read Risk Analysis of Shipboard Drinking Water Chemical Contaminants, August 18, 2000

Now while on the gun-line conducting Naval Gun Fire Support [NGFS] firing missions off the coast of Vietnam, we did not have time to pull off and run out 12 miles and make fresh water. We made water where we were -- 24/7.

Now to get to the heart of the matter and the reason for this paper: We have discovered several Naval Documents that we feel should shed some light on the knowledge that the U.S. Navy had over the years starting in 1963 with BUMED INSTRUCTION 6240.3B, 30 SEP 1963. Pay special attention to page 3 where it lists Chemical Characteristics Limits. No where do you see the word Herbicides mentioned.

Click here to read BUMED INSTRUCTION 6240.3B 30 SEP 1963

Then in 1972 we see BUMED INSTRUCTION 6240.3C DEC 1972, Pay special attention to page 6 on Chemical Concentrations, where it now includes Pesticides, Herbicides, and Fungicides; and see footnote [2]. This is just a short period of 9 years from 1963 through 1972 that something brought to their attention that it would be desirable to remove Pesticides and Herbicides from our drinking water! In my humble opinion, scientific tests of some sort had to be conducted to verify this concern over Herbicides.

Click here to read BUMED INSTRUCTION 6240.3C, DEC 1972

Then in February 1987 we have this document from Naval Facilities Engineering Command: Guide Performance Work Statement [GPWS] For Water Plants and System Operation and Maintenance. Prepared by Southern Division Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Charleston, South Carolina, it states, "The contractor shall produce and store treated water free of taste and or odor and that meets the minimum water quality standards described below:" see page 44 of he GWPS PDF Document where we see Herbicides are a concern again.


Finally, see the following study where Researchers in Vietnam in 1970 tested fish and crustaceans For the presence of TCDD {Dioxin}. These are the same researchers that were mentioned in the Australian ENTOX study and the fish tested were caught by local fishermen in Vietnam, both in fresh water as well as saltwater. This shows that dioxin’s were present in local fish in 1970 and If dioxin stopped at lands-end, as the DVA would have us believe, how did it pollute saltwater fish and crustaceans?

Click here to read An Analytical Method for Detecting TCDD [Dioxin]: Levels of TCDD in Samples from Vietnam - SEP 1973

Thanks Chuck and thanks Susie! Outstanding research work here.

We will add the folowing to wrap this up:

Clearly, then, not only did the Army and Navy, and their respective offices overseeing potable water handling, the Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration, all know of the presence of dioxin in the drinking water and the difficulties of getting rid of it [which was not solved until the introduction of reverse osmosis filtration, but the lengths to which they went to caution about its presence show the awareness of the danger of it in the potable water. There can be no doubt that thousands of sailors and embarked Marines were exposed to dioxins from their ship's potable water system: they drank, cooked, and showered with water contaminated by high concentrations of deadly toxic dioxins.


”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."-- President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2009: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Fifth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved.

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