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Vet describes lifelong effects of Agent Orange

Agent Orange Barrels at Johnston Atoll circa 1976. (Department of Defense/Released)

Vietnam War veteran Paul Scappaticci suffers from numerous health problems, including Type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and neuropathy.

The cause? Agent Orange.

The Manchester resident visited with E. O. Smith High School students Tuesday to discuss his plight, as well as the plights of other veterans afflicted with various diseases associated with the controversial defoliant.

Scappaticci served in the Navy and was exposed to the herbicide after he and other sailors drank contaminated water from the South China Sea and used it to cook and shower.

However, although nearly 400 veterans are dying from exposure to Agent Orange daily, Scappaticci said the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs only financially covers treatment of 15 of the 50 diseases caused by Agent Orange.

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“ I’m not backing down,” said the 69- year- old Manchester resident, who has recovered from thyroid and prostate cancer. “ I’m going to stand up to them because what they’re doing is a crime.” Both of the cancers Scappaticci received were caused by his exposure to Agent Orange. Scappaticci’s visit to the school was part of the E. O. Smith’s Veterans Series, which began with Vietnam Navy Veteran Michael Beattie, who spoke to students last Wednesday.

The school also had an assembly on Veterans Day, which was Monday.

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© 2019 The Chronicle