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Yushchenko Said Poisoned By Agent-Orange Ingredient

17 December 2004 -- The Dutch scientist who has been analyzing the blood of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko said today that tests confirm Yushchenko was poisoned by TCDD, the most harmful type of dioxin.

Abraham Brouwer, professor of environmental toxicology at the Free University in Amsterdam, told the AP news agency that TCDD is a key ingredient of Agent Orange, a herbicide sprayed by the U.S. military during the war in Vietnam.

The tests, conducted by Brouwer, also confirmed that Yushchenko's blood contained 100,000 units of dioxin, the second-highest concentration ever recorded of TCDD in a human being.

Yushchenko became violently ill during the campaign for the presidency back in September, with his face later breaking out in severe acne and lesions that are a trademark feature of dioxin poisoning.

Yushchenko faces Kremlin-backed Viktor Yanukovych in a repeat of the second round of the presidential election on 26 December.

Today, the candidates are conducting overlapping campaign trips to the eastern industrial city of Kharkiv.


[For more RFE/RL coverage and analysis of the political crisis in Ukraine, click here.]

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