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Spending time in Vietnam and the surrounding international waters from 1962 through 1975 exposed many United States veterans to extreme hazards. While wounds suffered in battle are a substantial source of disabling injuries, disabilities resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals are just as serious.

Agent Orange is a prominent example of these dangerous substances. Used as a defoliant to reduce cover for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces, Agent Orange was widespread over many parts of Vietnam as well as surrounding waters. Many Vietnam veterans were exposed to toxic chemicals and suffered debilitating injuries and illnesses as a result.

The VA has established a collection of benefits for veterans with disabilities caused by Agent Orange that includes free health examinations, health care benefits, and payments for children born with birth defects. A skilled VA-accredited attorney could help you understand the effects that Agent Orange may have had on your current health, as well as take advantage of any available VA benefits programs. Call today to learn more about Agent Orange Claims.

Negative Health Effects

Agent Orange was an herbicide used by the U.S. Military in Southeast Asia to kill vegetation throughout Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and other locations. It is not a commercial herbicide, but rather a tactical chemical used for warfare.

Agent Orange is comprised of a combination of chemicals that resulted in an unwanted byproduct known as TCDD, which is a human carcinogen. As a result, many veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam and elsewhere now suffer from severe health problems. According to the VA, Vietnam veterans and veterans who served on ships offshore and in other locations with Agent Orange use may now suffer from:

  • AL Amyloidosis
  • B-cell leukemias (prolymphocytic leukemia (PLL) and hairy cell leukemia (HCL)
  • Chloracne
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Ischemic heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease)
  • Parkinson’s disease (or Parkinson’s-like symptoms and tremors)
  • Respiratory cancers
  • Prostate cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcomas

In addition to the above list of “presumptive” conditions, many other conditions may also be linked to Agent Orange, even though VA does not recognize the connection. This includes – but is certainly not limited to – the following:

  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure
  • Other cancers not on the presumptive list, including bladder cancer and many others
  • Thyroid issues, including hypothyroidism

VetLaw’s team of attorneys could help evaluate your condition and determine whether a claim for benefits due to Agent Orange exposure is appropriate. Even if your diagnosis is not on one of the lists above, contact us for a review of your case and to discuss whether your disability may be related to Agent Orange.

Veterans’ Rights

The VA has long since recognized the consequences of Agent Orange exposure, so veterans who can demonstrate such exposure may qualify for a variety of benefits, one of which is a free Agent Orange registry health exam. This exam is intended to diagnose any current health problems that may be attributable to Agent Orange exposure.

While it is not required to obtain benefits, this exam may serve as medical evidence of diagnoses related to Agent Orange exposure. The VA presumes that veterans who served on the ground in Vietnam, the Korean demilitarized zone, and in certain parts of Thailand have been exposed to Agent Orange. These veterans must only prove that they now have a diagnosis of one of VA’s presumptive conditions to obtain disability compensation.

Additionally, veterans who served on offshore ships—known as Blue Water veterans—now have the same presumption to Agent Orange exposure. Many other veterans in locations such as Guam, Panama, Cambodia, Canada, India, Laos, Puerto Rico, and even bases inside of the United States were also exposed to Agent Orange during their active duty service. These veterans must prove their exposure, and VA will concede such exposure on a case by case basis.

An attorney could help you evaluate your eligibility for these benefits as a veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange, either in Vietnam, in Vietnam’s territorial waters as a Blue Water veteran, or in the other numerous locales where Agent Orange was used.

Agent Orange Claims Can Provide Valuable Benefits

Military service in Vietnam and elsewhere exposed millions of American servicemembers to toxic chemicals, one of the most damaging of which was Agent Orange. This herbicide compound emitted a carcinogen that has left many veterans with serious health problems. Additionally, their children may have been born with birth defects.

Any veteran with an honorable discharge who set foot in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 may be eligible for VA disability benefits. As noted above, Agent Orange was used in many other locations as well, and any servicemembers who think they may have been exposed should consider that possibility.

One of our attorneys could help you with investigating your Agent Orange claim or denial of benefits by reviewing your service time and current medical conditions. Contact VetLaw today to learn more about Agent Orange and how we can assist you with proving your exposure to this toxic chemical and linking that exposure to your current disabilities.