(BEDFORD) – When veterans return home, they often face issues caused by the traumatic events they experienced while serving our country, says Veterans Affairs Officer Brad Bough.
Between 1962 and 1971, approximately 20 million gallons of the herbicide known as Agent Orange was used in Vietnam, Laos, and parts of Cambodia to remove unwanted plant life that provided cover for enemy forces.
The campaign destroyed about 5 million acres of land, and about 20 percent of Vietnam’s forests were sprayed at least once during nine year period.
“Upon returning from Vietnam, many U.S. veterans began to suffer from serious illnesses and in 1977, veterans began filing disability claims for Agent Orange,” Bough added. By 1992, nearly 40,000 military personnel had filed compensation claims after being exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. If you or someone you love was exposed to Agent Orange during their military service, we can help.
Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides may be eligible to receive disability compensation for diseases associated with exposure. Widows of veterans who died as a result of a disease related to Agent Orange exposure may also be eligible for compensation.
Those who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, including those who had brief stints ashore or aboard a ship that operated in Vietnam’s inland waterways. Vets who served in or near the Korean demilitarized zone between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971, are also eligible. Veterans who served on or near the military bases in Thailand; who served where herbicides were tested or stored outside of Vietnam; who were crew members on C-123 planes flown after the Vietnam war; and those associated with the Department of Defense projects to test, dispose or store herbicides in the U.S. may also be eligible for benefits.
Veterans do not have to show that they were exposed to Agent Orange as the VA will presume they were.
“Veterans need to speak to their civilian doctors about their possible exposure to agent orange,” Bough added. “Early detection could save their lives.”
List of Reported Diseases Associated with Agent Orange:
- AL Amyloidosis – A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs
- Chronic B-cell Leukemias – A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
- Chloracne (or similar acneform disease) – A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 – A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin
- Hodgkin’s Disease – A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia
- Ischemic Heart Disease – A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain
- Multiple Myeloma – A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue
- Parkinson’s Disease – A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset – A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda – A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
- Prostate Cancer – Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men
- Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer) – Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma) – A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues
VA presumes Lou Gehrig’s Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) diagnosed in all Veterans who had 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service, although ALS is not related to Agent Orange exposure.