VA Recognizes Agent Orange Link to More Diseases

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden

WASHINGTON – An independent study by the Institute of Medicine last month resulted in broadened health coverage by the Veterans Affairs Department for Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.

Research found that three illnesses – B cell leukemias, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease — possibly are associated with Agent Orange exposure. Those conditions join a list of related diseases for which Vietnam War veterans already receive compensation, such as prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, soft-tissue sarcomas, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Veterans who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 may qualify for monthly disability compensation and do not have to provide proof they were exposed to Agent Orange to qualify for health benefits.

“We must do better reviews of illnesses that may be connected to service, and we will,” VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said in statement released last month. “Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence.”

The U.S. military used Agent Orange herbicides in the Vietnam conflict from 1961 to 1971 to clear foliage that provided enemy cover. VA officials estimate that about 2.6 million military personnel who served in Vietnam were affected.

U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman, released a statement today calling for additional support of the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009. The bill expands eligibility for presumptive conditions to veterans who were not directly “boots on the ground,” such as sailors and pilots.

Current law suggests that location of service in Vietnam affects some of the qualifications for Agent Orange compensation.

“Time is running out for these Vietnam veterans,” Filner said. “Many are dying from their Agent Orange-related diseases, uncompensated for their sacrifice. If, as a result of service, a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange, and it has resulted in failing health, this country has a moral obligation to care for each veteran the way we promised we would.”

About 800,000 Vietnam veterans are estimated to be alive today and eligible for treatment for Agent Orange-related illnesses. According to VA’s Web site, the department presumes all military members who served in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange. Also, some children of female Vietnam veterans may qualify for compensation, based on birth defects associated with the chemicals.

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5 Comments

  1. Ed Aucoin says:

    Thanks for the info. I was in-country in 1968.

  2. Mike Morett says:

    I was in-country in 1970 at Cam Ranh Bay Naval Air Base. I was a dental tec who did Med-caps to villages around our area every day. We treated the local people both Medical and Dental procedures as we did a Catholic Orphanage and the VNNTC Training Facility. Would like to know where to apply for possible illness from exposure to Agent Orange.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  3. charlie sam ball says:

    I was stationed at cecil field in jacksonville 1961to 1968 i always knew i was sprayed with herbicides while working on the south end of the runway during wheel watch,high power turn up and at the bore sight range.i noticed that nothing would grow there the remains of trees and bushes was dead and barren .i noticed the strong odor of chemicals.

    I have been sick ever since i have neuropathy,type 2 diabetes,thyroid disease ,sores in my head ,headaches,stomache problems,congestive heart failure and severe weakness . i went in for an exam in1974 they checked my ears and sent me home .(they dumb assed me )i did not know it .i went in last year and they again tryed to check me for something i was not complaining about.(tryed to dumb ass me again)i was ready this time.i told the doctor that is not what i am here for.

    recently they have found their drum disposal site and cecil is a mega clean up site. they admit the chemical drums are there ,they will not admit spraying the perimeter of cecil field . we have the smoking gun ,they will not admit they pulled the trigger .i have a lot of the symptoms of agent orange. all my buddies who worked with me are dead now ,they never knew what killed them. congressman allen boyd’s office told me about it. i would have never known.

    when i was in the navy i was told it was in my head,then called a hypocondriac. i went through hell while in the navy. now they cant find my medical records. ha there was records of all this, but alas

    charlie sam ball vf 174 cecil ,vf 13 cecil

  4. cgnews says:

    Contact the VA.

  5. jim Troupe says:

    The day I found the article for the Ischemic Cardiomyopathy I was in the office of my rep from the county filing a new claime, since they had turned me down for Coronary artery diasese associated with diabetes mellitus type II. Since the I have received no records of the diseses prior to 2007. Only becouse all the Drs. I had gome to have been dead for over seven years, and the new people failed to send out notices to claime the files. In one case they just plaine refused stating they had no idea where the file could be and that was the first heart Dr. i had fron 1994 to 2006. My attorny even tried to get the records. Not a chance. (I think I know the reason). A med that really messed me up.

    Mayway my point is I reapplied under the New term Ischemic Cardionmyopathy (Which is the same thing by definition) as coronary artery disese. I have received letters (Standard Forms) from the VA stateing that they could not get copies of my records from the Hospital from 1996 till present becouse the letter was undeliverable by the U.S. Post Office. So I called the Hosptial and spoke to records. He’s still there and has been there for years. Anyway they gave me a fax # . I called the VA reginal office handeling the case and gave it to them with the instructions the Hosp. gave me. THe young lady looked up the case and while I was on the phone she faxed the copy they had on file less the Dr.s name. I called the hosp back and they had gotten the form. Prio to that the VA Clinic I no longer use I had filed two requests for records with and the Hosp confirmed that they had received no such requests. Noral is if your going to file anything with the VA follow up with where the information is going to go to the VA from.

    I also understand the the three new presumptives are currently on hold becouse of some becouse the secratary allegedly did not have the power to approve they himself. And it may take till at least April or May before anything is done. May well be to late for some. Thanks for the time to say my mind