Sunday, March 7, 2010

VA Recognizes Agent Orange Link to More Diseases

Krysta Daniels

The article “VA Recognizes Agent Orange Link to More Diseases” clearly in publications they talks about the Veterans Affairs Departments coming to the conclusion that Agent Orange is linked to more diseases. In November 2009, an independent study by the Institute of medicine resulted in broadened health coverage by the Veterans Affairs Department who were exposed to Agent Orange. These Veterans served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975. The men in this study that serves their country in the Vietnam War might be qualified for monthly disability compensation and might not need to provide proof of their exposure.

Eric K. Shinseki said, “We must do better reviews of illnesses that may be connected to service and we will. Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence.”

According to this article that the U.S. military used the Agent Orange herbicides in the Vietnam conflict from 1961 until 1971. They used it to clear foliage that provided enemy cover. The estimated number of soldiers that served in the Vietnam War that might have been affected is 2.6 million. Many military organizations have been asking Congress to correct its policies regarding the exposure that the Agent Orange has caused. These groups include would be all the Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and Military Organizations belonging to the National Military and Veterans Alliance (NMVA) and The Military Coalition (TMC), as well as numerous other VSOs and Military Organizations.

Something must be done to help these soldiers that are still being affected by the Agent Orange exposure. U. S. Representative Robert Filner released a statement that called for additional support for the Agent Orange Equality Act of 2009. This bill will expand the eligibility for presumptive conditions to veterans who were not directly “boots on the ground,” such as sailors and pilots. The current law in place only suggests that some places in the Vietnam were affected and only soldiers who were there for on a select amount are allowed to be compensated for their exposure.

Filner said, “Time is running out for these Vietnam Veterans. Many are dying from their Agent Orange-related diseases, uncompensated for their sacrifice. If, as a result of service, a Veteran was exposed to Agent Orange, and it has resulted in failing health, this country has a moral obligation to care for each Veteran the way we promised we would.”

Approximately 800,000 Vietnam Veterans are estimated to be alive today and luckily are eligible for treatment for Agent-Orange-related illnesses. According to, VA’s Web site, the department presumes all military members who served in Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange. Also, some children of female Vietnam Veterans may qualify for compensation, based on birth defects associated with the chemicals. Excerpts of this article were written by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden, American Forces Press Service.

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