A defoliant chemical is a substance applied to trees or plants that causes the leaves to fall off prematurely and the plant to die. In agriculture, crop growers use defoliants to combat invasive plants.
Many defoliant chemicals are highly effective and have low risks when used properly. However, certain defoliants have been linked to a wide range of health problems, many of which are severe and life-threatening. One of the most well-known defoliant chemicals associated with medical issues is Agent Orange – an herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to deprive enemy fighters of the ability to use the area’s natural foliage as cover.
Why the Military Used Defoliants During Vietnam and Other Conflicts
During the Vietnam War, enemy fighters concealed themselves in heavily forested areas, lying in wait to ambush U.S. soldiers. This guerrilla tactic resulted in many casualties for the United States. The military responded by using Agent Orange to clear out foliage and deprive enemy soldiers of both hiding places and crops for food.
How Defoliant Chemicals Such as Agent Orange Lead to Health Problems
Agent Orange contains a type of dioxin known as TCDD (2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin), which is created as a byproduct during the manufacturing process. TCDD is known as the most harmful of all dioxins, and is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a human carcinogen.
Medical Conditions That Are Linked to Exposure to Defoliant Chemicals
Over the years, VA has acknowledged the danger posed by Agent Orange. It has compiled a list of medical conditions for which there is substantial evidence linking them to Agent Orange exposure.
Veterans who served in certain capacities, such as in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, and later developed one of the following conditions, qualify for presumptive service connection when applying for VA disability benefits:
- Chronic B-cell Leukemias
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
- Prostate Cancer
- Respiratory Cancers (cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus)
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas
For a Free Consultation With the VA Disability Team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, Call 800-544-9144 Today
The VA disability lawyers at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to help you receive VA disability benefits. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis meaning we do not get paid until you do. For a free case evaluation with a member of our team, call 800-544-9144 today.« Return to the Veterans' Resource Center
- How Do I Increase My VA Disability Rating?
- What Can I Do to Make the VA Process Go Faster?
- Is There a Test for Agent Orange Exposure?
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