Older male veteran suffering from Agent Orange symptoms in the form of hand tremors

Identifying the Symptoms of Agent Orange Exposure

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Noticing and documenting Agent Orange symptoms is important, as it adds credibility to a veteran’s toxic exposure claim for VA disability benefits.


  • Veterans should keep a record of symptoms of Agent Orange exposure, such as frequent infections, fatigue, acne, edema, respiratory issues, and muscle tremors, to strengthen their VA disability claims.
  • Agent Orange exposure can cause severe illnesses including various cancers, coronary artery disease, Parkinson’s disease, Type II diabetes, and hypothyroidism. The VA also recognizes these as presumptive conditions.
  • To qualify for VA disability benefits, veterans must demonstrate that their medical conditions are service-connected to their Agent Orange exposure.
  • Veterans who were previously denied VA disability benefits for Agent Orange-related health conditions or received low VA disability ratings can appeal these decisions.
  • The PACT Act created new opportunities for veterans filing Agent Orange disability claims by adding exposure sites and presumptive conditions.

Agent Orange causes a host of debilitating and life-threatening health conditions. Although some of the common Agent Orange symptoms may appear relatively innocuous, veterans should take their exposure to this chemical seriously.

Veterans who suffer from medical issues resulting from Agent Orange exposure often have strong cases for VA disability compensation. However, it can be difficult to compile records to establish a service connection, document your disability and any secondary conditions, and manage your health issues on your own.

Generations of veterans have trusted VetLaw to handle their VA disability claims and appeals because we operate with integrity and exceed expectations for our clients. You can reach our team at (855) 561-1330 or fill out a contact form to schedule a free consultation.

We encourage you to call sooner rather than later so we can start on your VA Agent Orange disability claim.

Signs of Agent Orange Exposure in Veterans

Many veterans of the Vietnam War have suffered Agent Orange symptoms, which are often a reaction to a specific component of the hazardous chemical. Dioxin, a persistent organic pollutant, makes Agent Orange dangerous. 

During the Vietnam War, the concentration of dioxin in the environment far exceeded acceptable exposure. This left veterans in the affected areas vulnerable to the health consequences of inhaling, drinking, or adsorbing unsafe levels of Agent Orange. 

Although some of the physical conditions tied to Agent Orange exposure take years or decades to develop, veterans may notice more subtle signs of Agent Orange exposure in the meantime. Agent Orange symptoms can present as:

  • Frequent infections
  • Feeling overly tired
  • Experiencing numbness or tingling sensations in your hands and feet
  • Facial acne
  • Edema in your legs and feet
  • Respiratory issues, including problems breathing
  • Uncontrollable muscle tremors

Illnesses Caused by Exposure to Agent Orange

Exposure to dioxin can weaken a veteran’s immune system and upset the delicate balance of hormones in the body. Consequently, these side effects can leave veterans prone to deadly illnesses and other chronic conditions that weaken their health.

This pattern is well-understood by the VA, hence why it has a list of accepted presumptive conditions for Agent Orange exposureFor too many veterans, Agent Orange symptoms are just the start of their health problems.

The following are the current presumptive service-related conditions for Agent Orange exposure: 

  • Acne, including Chloracne
  • AL amyloidosis
  • Bladder cancer
  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Leukemia (Chronic B-cell)
  • Lung cancer and other respiratory cancers
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinsonism
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy, early onset
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcomas
  • Type II diabetes

What You Need to Qualify for a VA Disability Agent Orange Claim

If you are experiencing Agent Orange symptoms after exposure during your military service, you may be contemplating filing a VA disability claim. There are a few things to keep in mind as you build your case. First, you need a specific medical diagnosis.

Most Agent Orange symptoms are not sufficient to warrant a diagnosis on their own, but they can be linked to larger health issues. Then, the next step is to show that your physical condition is related to your active duty military service.

You have a few options here, depending on how you plan to connect your health issue to your military service. 

  • For presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange: Use your service records and other documentation to prove that you served on active duty in an exposure zone for Agent Orange during the stipulated time range. The VA already accepts that Agent Orange causes these types of health conditions.
  • For non-presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange: Show that you sustained in-service Agent Orange exposure and that it also caused your disability by establishing a medical nexus between the two.
  • For a secondary condition related to a primary Agent Orange condition: Demonstrate a medical nexus between your secondary health condition and a disability that is already connected to your in-service Agent Orange exposure.
  • For a pre-existing condition worsened by Agent Orange: Submit medical records that show you entered the military with the condition and you experienced Agent Orange exposure during your active duty service. Then provide medical evidence that your pre-existing condition was aggravated by this exposure.

After establishing you meet the eligibility requirements for VA disability benefits, then your Agent Orange compensation depends on your disability rating.

Get the Compensation You Deserve When You Hire VetLaw for Your VA Agent Orange Claim

At VetLaw, we specialize in complex VA disability cases like Agent Orange disability claims. With our long, successful record, our team of veteran disability denial lawyers has proven ourselves a match for the VA.

Our VA-accredited team will go above and beyond to secure the Agent Orange compensation you deserve. We want veterans with Agent Orange symptoms and related disabilities to know that they aren’t alone in their fight for VA disability benefits. 

Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (855) 561-1330 or fill out a contact form to schedule a free consultation. We are happy to walk you through the VA appeals process step by step and answer any questions you have.

Frequently Asked Questions

Did the PACT Act change how the VA approaches Agent Orange disability claims?

Yes, the landmark bill addressing military personnel’s in-service toxic exposure made improvements to how the VA handles Agent Orange claims. The major updates in the PACT Act are:

  • New locations approved as Agent Orange exposure sites
  • New health conditions added to the presumptive conditions list

Additionally, veterans using VA healthcare now qualify for toxic exposure screenings for chemicals including Agent Orange.

What is Agent Orange?

Although Agent Orange is technically a weed killer, it served as a chemical weapon for the U.S. military. During the Vietnam War, the military targeted brush and crops with Agent Orange.

This lasted from 1962 to 1971. The goal was to use Agent Orange to thin dense plant cover while simultaneously depleting their food supply. This layer had allowed combatants to move undetected. 

Where did Agent Orange exposure occur?

For nearly a decade, the U.S. military used, stored, and disposed of Agent Orange in various locations. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Korean DMZ, several Thai military bases, Canada, Puerto Rico, Panama, India, multiple domestic U.S. military bases, and likely Guam are all Agent Orange exposure sites

Additionally, Agent Orange exposure occurred in the water that surrounded the areas where Agent Orange was used. These are called Blue Water Zones, and the VA now recognizes them as exposure areas.

In addition to the vegetation the U.S. military was targeting, many veterans who served in these locations were also exposed to Agent Orange. Consequently, they had contact with what we now know is a toxic cancer-causing chemical linked to serious health conditions.