Dioxin ruled out as bizarre skin disease cause

Experts said dioxin had been not found in Quang Ngai Province’s Ba To District, where 23 people have been killed by an unidentified skin syndrome since last year.

The Military Chemical Environment Institute under the High Command of Chemistry had tested the water and soil samples taken from the district, said Le Han Phong, chairman of the District, where the strange syndrome broke out in April 2011.

Many experts suggested at a seminar held on June 7 in Danang City that dioxin should be considered a possible cause of the strange syndrome that has affected about 200 people in the district.

The syndrome is characterized by thickened skin (keratosis) over the palms and soles, causing stiffness in the limbs and ulcers on victims’ hands and feet that look like burns.

But now experts from the institute have confirmed that dioxin, as well as other chemicals that were used in the Vietnam War before 1975, have been not found in the water and mud samples.

dioxin ruled out as bizarre skin disease cause hinh 0
Pham Van Nhoc severely suffered from the mysterious skin disease before he died on May 8, 2012

However, the samples were found to be infected with microorganisms at a level that is 1.3-3 times higher than the acceptable limits, said the institute.

The results are identical with those of the tests that were earlier conducted by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Both agencies have concluded that the water source at Go Khe Mountain has been seriously polluted.

Many residents in Reu, Go Nghenh and Hi Long hamlets of the district’s Ba Dien Commune have taken water from the source for their daily activities, authorities said.

As previously reported, the bizarre disease, which first occurred in the district on April 19, 2011, has so far spread to five communes in the district, including Ba Dien, Ba Ngac, Ba Xa, Ba Vinh and Ba To.

The Health Ministry has yet to identify the cause of the disease.

Tuoitre/VOV online