When the Government Began Using Agent Orange—and Why

When the Government Began Using Agent Orange—and Why

Most of the public today understands Agent Orange as a chemical that was used in warfare during the Vietnam War, sprayed down upon the enemy and then later discovered to be the culprit for many health issues. For many veterans who were sent to Vietnam and outlying areas, the effects of the poisonous herbicide are still felt via numerous disabilities, some of which have affected their dependents as well.

The Use of Agent Orange in Vietnam

The history of Agent Orange and other herbicides in battle began decades before the Vietnam War, with countries such as the US and England expecting that it might be useful in warfare. With that in mind, they began working together in developing herbicides as far back as the late 40’s and the 50’s. England, in fact, was spraying defoliants long before the Department of Defense began spraying in Vietnam.

The US took a page out of that same playbook when it came to Vietnam, but expanded the role of herbicides greatly as over 19 million gallons of herbicides, mainly featuring Agent Orange, were sprayed in hopes of forcing the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese out of the jungles. Millions of acres in Vietnam were sprayed under the codename Operation Ranch Hand. While it was thought to be an effective tactic for combating guerrilla warfare, it was later found to be toxic to anyone who came in contact with it.

Millions of Veterans Were Affected by Agent Orange

Upon returning home, many service members reported illnesses quite rapidly, while today there are still many other veterans with issues just presenting in the form of very serious diseases like cancer. Because so many veterans were affected due to exposure–and with so many of the same conditions–there is a list of diseases VA considers to be presumptive (meaning you do not have to prove service connection) for disability compensation. The list includes many different cancers, including leukemia and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, as well as Parkinson’s, AL Amyloidosis, diabetes, heart disease, and other disorders. 

If you are filing for disability due to exposure to Agent Orange and need help with your claim, or if you have applied for disability benefits in connection to illness caused by exposure to Agent Orange and have been denied, contact Chisholm, Chisholm & Kilpatrick to discuss your options. Your exposure to Agent Orange may entitle you to benefits. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Category: Veterans Law