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VA Extends “Agent Orange” Benefits to More Veterans

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    VA Extends “Agent Orange” Benefits to More Veterans

    October 13, 2009

    Parkinson’s Disease, Two Other Illnesses Recognized

    WASHINGTON – Relying on an independent study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki decided to establish a service-connection for Vietnam Veterans with three specific illnesses based on the latest evidence of an association with the herbicides referred to Agent Orange.

    The illnesses affected by the recent decision are B cell leukemias, such as hairy cell leukemia; Parkinson’s disease; and ischemic heart disease.

    Used in Vietnam to defoliate trees and remove concealment for the enemy, Agent Orange left a legacy of suffering and disability that continues to the present. Between January 1965 and April 1970, an estimated 2.6 million military personnel who served in Vietnam were potentially exposed to sprayed Agent Orange.

    In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a “presumed” illness don’t have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service. This “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.

    The Secretary’s decision brings to 15 the number of presumed illnesses recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

    “We must do better reviews of illnesses that may be connected to service, and we will,” Shinseki added. “Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence.”

    Other illnesses previously recognized under VA’s “presumption” rule as being caused by exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam War are:

    · Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy
    · Chloracne
    · Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
    · Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
    · Hodgkin’s Disease
    · Multiple Myeloma
    · Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    · Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
    · Prostate Cancer
    · Respiratory Cancers, and
    · Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)

    Additional information about Agent Orange and VA’s services and programs for Veterans exposed to the chemical are available at

    Here is the updated list of Agent Orange illnesses that include the 3 latest, hairy cell leukemia, Parkinson's disease, and ischemic heart disease.

    AL Amyloidosis
    A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organsChronic B-cell Leukemias
    A type of cancer which affects white blood cellsChloracne (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, chloracne (or other acneform disease similar to chloracne) 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 insulinHodgkin’s Disease
    A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemiaIschemic Heart Disease
    A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest painMultiple Myeloma
    A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrowNon-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissueParkinson’s Disease
    A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movementAcute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy
    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 exposure to herbicides and resolve within two years after the date it began.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 menRespiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
    Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchusSoft 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

    For Service Connection -Vietnam

    For the purposes of VA compensation benefits, Veterans who served anywhere in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides, as specified in the Agent Orange Act of 1991. These Veterans do not need to show that they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides in order to get disability compensation for diseases related to Agent Orange exposure.

    Service in Vietnam means service on land in Vietnam or on the inland waterways of Vietnam. This includes Veterans who:
    • Set foot in Vietnam (This includes brief visits ashore, such as when a ship docked to the shore of Vietnam or when a ship operated in Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods and crew members went ashore, or smaller vessels from the ship went ashore with supplies or personnel. The Veteran further must provide a statement of personally going ashore.)
    • Served on a ship while it operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam
    Blue Water Veterans are not presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides unless they set foot in Vietnam or served aboard ships that operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam anytime between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
    Check VA's list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships that operated in Vietnam. Evidence confirmed through military records must show that the Veteran was aboard one of these ships.


    Veterans who served in a unit in or near the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) anytime between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971 and who have a disease VA recognizes as associated with Agent Orange exposure are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides. These Veterans do not have to show they were exposed to Agent Orange to be eligible for disability compensation for these diseases.
    VA and the Department of Defense must determine the Veteran’s unit operated in the DMZ area and the Veteran was physically there.


    Vietnam-era Veterans whose service involved duty on or near the perimeters of military bases in Thailand anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 may have been exposed to herbicides and may qualify for VA benefits.
    The following Veterans may have been exposed to herbicides:

    U.S. Air Force Veterans who served on Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) bases at U-Tapao, Ubon, Nakhon Phanom, Udorn, Takhli, Korat, and Don Muang, near the air base perimeter anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.
    U.S. Army Veterans who provided perimeter security on RTAF bases in Thailand anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.
    U.S. Army Veterans who were stationed on some small Army installations in Thailand anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975. However, the Army Veteran must have been a member of a military police (MP) unit or was assigned an MP military occupational specialty whose duty placed him/her at or near the base perimeter.
    To receive benefits for diseases associated with herbicide exposure, these Veterans must show on a factual basis that they were exposed to herbicides during their service as shown by evidence of daily work duties, performance evaluation reports, or other credible evidence.

    Storage and Testing Sites- Stateside and outside of Vietnam

    Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam were tested or stored elsewhere, including some military bases in the United States.
    The Department of Defense gave VA a list of dates and locations of herbicide tests and storage. View dates and locations:View all as PDF: Herbicide Tests and Storage Outside of Vietnam (Department of Defense List) (224 KB, PDF)
    Last edited by POPO367; 13 Mar 2012, 12:22 AM.


      are there any list of diseases or birth defects that are presumed cause by the parents exposure to agent orange? I knew a couple of girls who had spinal bifida and they were children of vietnam veterans. Is there also a list of diseases like hepatitis C that can be presumed from military service? I remember the way inoculations were given in basic training, they used cattle inoculation guns and blood was dripping down everyone's arms, i am sure there was blood spay back onto the guns.
      i dont have Hep C but friends of mine do that were in the reserves and did basic in this timeframe
      cauda equina


        Agent Orange VA information:

        Information about hep C in Veterans:

        The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


          Thankyou KLD
          cauda equina