The use of herbicides during the Vietnam War exposed U.S. troops to harmful chemicals—and they have been feeling the effects for decades. Most were exposed to Agent Orange during the time period from 1962 to 1975 in Vietnam, however evidence also suggests that Agent Orange was used on Air Force bases in Thailand during the Vietnam War. VA is conducting several studies on the effects of Agent Orange on veterans’ health decades later.
Health Impact on Veterans
Veterans have since begun presenting with a long list of conditions and diseases, to include everything from multiple myeloma to prostate and respiratory cancers—and many, many more. Some diseases found to be related to exposure to Agent Orange are now considered presumptive because the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has evidence of their association with the herbicide. Presumptive service connection means that VA will presume that a veteran’s condition is due to their military service. In this case, VA will presume that exposure to herbicides caused their current disability.
Veterans exposed to herbicides in Thailand during the Vietnam War are not afforded presumptive service connection. Instead, Thailand veterans must provide a medical “nexus,” a link between their current condition and their exposure to herbicides in service.
Ongoing VA Studies
The VA is still engaged in numerous studies regarding the effects of Agent Orange and of its main ingredient, dioxin, on veterans’ health.
The VA lists the following studies as ongoing:
- The Vietnam Era Health Retrospective Observational Study – this is ongoing in the U.S., and focuses in on the health issues being experienced by veterans who were in Vietnam, in comparison to civilians never in the area.
- The Army Chemical Corps Vietnam-Era Veterans Health Study – in this study, 4,000 veterans who were in the area are being studied regarding diseases such as hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- The Long Term Health Outcomes of Women’s Service During the Vietnam Era – the VA states that this is ‘the most comprehensive study to date’ in terms of studying female veterans. They are using the data to create further research studies in studying veterans who are women, as well as ‘planning appropriate services,’ especially as they age.
If your claim for VA disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure has been denied and you would like experienced counsel, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. Let us handle the legal issues while you focus on your health. We work with veterans around the country to help them get the disability benefits they deserve.
Call for immediate help at 401-331-6300 or contact us online.