DONG NAI - During the war in Viet Nam, US troops stored more than 98,000 buckets of Agent Orange at Bien Hoa airbase in the southern province of Dong Nai. After they overflowed several times, the contamination level far exceeded what regulations permitted.
Today, the breast milk of women in Bien Hoa City still contains more toxic dioxin than that of women in other areas.
In so-called dioxin "hot spots" - Da Nang, Phu Cat District in the central province of Binh Dinh -toxicity levels are even higher.
These troubling findings emerged as part of a study on dioxin's effect on newborns conducted by Kanazawa Medical University and the Dong Nai Department of Health. During the study, doctors took more than 200 blood and umbilical cord samples from babies born near the Bien Hoa airbase. They also drew breast milk samples and checked the development of the infants' nervous systems.
According to the researchers, newborns' heads in Bien Hoa City were bigger than in Da Nang; the babies who were born prematurely gained weight slowly.
A representative from the Japanese university said that the researchers would continue studying dioxin exposure in food in Bien Hoa City, as more than 90 per cent of dioxin entered people's bodies via food products like fish and dairy.
The airbase has long been recognised as a toxic spot. In the period of 2009-10, the province discovered three more spots near the airbase that were seriously affected by dioxin.