04.11.132:23 PM ET

Ultrasound Checks Surge in Vietnam

Pregnant women fear birth defects from 'Nam War toxin.

More than thirty years after the end of the Vietnam War, concern over birth defects in the country has sparked a surge in ultrasound checks. “I’m afraid of my child’s health, that’s why I come for regular visits,” a 30-year-old pregnant woman from Vietnam told The Guardian. For 10 years during the Vietnam War, U.S. troops sprayed more than 11 million tons of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange in the country’s central and southern regions, and experts say one toxin still persists in the environment and in the food chain. Vietnam has a disability rate of 6.3 percent—roughly 5.3 million people. “The ministry of health needs to issue guidelines on pregnancy to lessen the stress for pregnant mothers,” said anthropologist and Vietnam researcher Tine Gammeltoft.