What is Agent Orange?

Agent Orange was used widely in the Vietnam War to help eliminate vegetation and make it easier to find and track the enemy.  The technical definition of Agent Orange according to the VA is as follows:

“Agent Orange was a tactical herbicide used by the U.S. military for control of vegetation. It was named for the orange band around the storage barrel. The military sprayed Agent Orange and other tactical herbicides during the Vietnam War.”

Approximately three million soldiers from the United States served in the Vietnam War and faced Agent Orange exposure between 1962 and 1971. The Department of Defense had Agent Orange and similar herbicides created for explicitly for combat operations. Millions of square miles were affected by heavy spraying of the defoliant include forests near the borders of South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Forests located near demarcation zones, shipping channels located in the southeast region of Saigon, and mangroves located along the far southern peninsula of South Vietnam.

How American soldiers were exposed varied.  Some ingested it through food an drink, others breathed it in as it was aerosolized and sprayed.  Yet more absorbed it through the skin.  There’s a reason why so many people have had so many different reactions to Agent Orange exposure.

Agent Orange was highly carcinogenic and has been linked to numerous cancers and other ailments including, but not limited to the following:

  • Birth defects in future children
  • Chloracne
  • Chronic b-cell leukemia
  • Heart disease
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • Respiratory cancers
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • AL amyloidosis
  • Spina bifida in future children
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Myeloma

Because of the massive levels of exposure to Agent Orange, in 1991, Congress with the backing of World War II Veteran and President George H.W. Bush, passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The act provides benefits to veterans who suffer from exposure to Agent Orange. Because of the incredible amounts of the product used, the legislation assumes that any American soldier who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, were exposed to carcinogens in Agent Orange that could chronic health problems.

Under the legislation, anyone who served in the Vietnam war or who was stationed near the Korean DMZ, is presumed to have Agent Orange exposure. Despite that, you must meet one of the following criteria before you can file a claim with the VA. These include:

  • You had definitive Agent Orange exposure while in the military.
  • You served in the Korean DMZ at any point between September 1, 1967, and August 31, 1971.
  • You served in Vietnam at any point between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. Under the Blue Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, this can also include service on a vessel docked or parked on inland waterways or operating a vessel less than 12 nautical miles from water demarcation lines located in Vietnam or Cambodia.
  • You faced Agent Orange exposure on a Thailand military base between February 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975.
  • You faced Agent Orange exposure while working with herbicide tests or near an outdoor storage facility in Vietnam.
  • You were present near airplanes containing Agent Orange residue or faced residue exposure while working on an airline crew with c-123 planes that the U.S. military flew after the completion of the Vietnam War.

If you meet these criteria but you have had your claim denied by the VA, call us today to get the ball rolling on an appeal.  Every day you wait could be the difference in hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of VA Disability Benefits.