Agent Orange was used by the U.S. military during a number of conflicts throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s. In Vietnam, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, Thailand, and other bordering areas such as Cambodia and Laos, the military sprayed mass quantities of this defoliant chemical. The goal was to clear out foliage, depriving enemy fighters of a place to be concealed from view.
Thousands of U.S. soldiers fighting in the area were exposed to Agent Orange, and many later developed serious medical issues. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has acknowledged an association between exposure to herbicides and a host of severe ailments. If you are a military veteran diagnosed with one of these conditions following Agent Orange exposure, you could be eligible for VA disability benefits.
Why Did the Military Use Agent Orange
The U.S. military used Agent Orange in several conflicts, most notably the Vietnam War, to clear out heavily forested areas used by enemy fighters for guerilla tactics. The goal was to eliminate hiding places that gave enemy fighters an advantage in battle.
The term “Agent Orange” came not from the appearance of the chemical itself, but from the identifying orange stripe emblazoned on the side of the massive drums in which it was stored. The military sprayed it over a period of nine years in Vietnam, from 1962 to 1971, and many military experts still debate its effectiveness.
What Happens When a Person Is Exposed to Agent Orange
The correlation between exposure to Agent Orange and a number of medical conditions is studied by the Institute of Medicine. As a requirement of the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) must submit a report every two years, at a minimum, that reviews and summarizes the link between exposure to herbicides during service in Vietnam and certain diseases. Whenever VA determines, on the basis of medical and scientific evidence, that a positive association exists between exposure to an herbicide agent and a disabling condition, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs decides whether the condition will be added to the list of presumptively service-connected conditions.
If you are diagnosed with a medical condition that is not on the presumptive list, but your doctor believes exposure caused it, you may still be able to establish a service connection. A VA disability lawyer can review your service and medical records to help determine if you are eligible for service connection based on Agent Orange exposure.
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Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD focuses on veterans law and is dedicated to helping veterans pursue the VA disability benefits to which they are rightfully entitled. For a free case evaluation with a member of our staff, call our office today at 800-544-9144.« Return to the Veterans' Resource Center
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