Agent Orange Update

April 8th, 2010

By Jan Barry

For years, many Vietnam veterans in poor health were convinced that the disease that destroyed their life after the war had something to do with Agent Orange. I spent years as a journalist trying to help find answers to these haunting health questions.

Now, three decades after trying to bury concerns about exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam, the Veterans Affairs Department is gearing up for a tidal wave of health claims that are expected to cost the federal government billions of dollars.

“VA estimates that 185,839 claims will be filed when new rules take effect later this year that presume service connection for certain illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure,” Marine Corps Times reported this week. The illnesses being added to a substantial list of diseases that VA covers regarding Agent Orange are B cell leukemias, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease, a fairly common illness that is expected to account for the majority of new claims.

More than 80,000 of the anticipated claims are expected to be filed by veterans who were previously denied VA health coverage, the agency announced. Nearly 90,000 claims are expected by veterans with illnesses that will now be covered, but who never filed a claim. And more than 10,000 claims for financial compensation are expected from survivors of veterans who died of these diseases.The tab for handling all these medical cases is estimated at more than $13 billion this year and more than $42 billion over the next decade.

“This is an important step forward for Vietnam veterans suffering from these three illnesses,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in a statement. “These warriors deserve medical care and compensation for health problems they have incurred.”

Three things have changed since the 1970s, when the VA bowed to Pentagon pronouncements that Agent Orange didn’t cause health problems. A big change is the leadership on this issue provided by Shinseki, a retired general who served in Vietnam. Another major change is widespread public acknowledgement that veterans’ concerns about the hazards of these herbicides have been proven valid by health investigators, despite repeated attempts by officials under Democratic and Republican administrations to derail these investigations.

The third big change is that veterans no longer have to prove that they were in a certain location in Vietnam on a certain day between 1961 and 1971, when Agent Orange was sprayed on jungle areas by US military airplanes, helicopters, trucks or soldiers with backpack sprayers.

“In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a ‘presumed’ illness don’t have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service,” the VA stated in its latest announcement. It also noted that it now covers 14 diseases associated with Agent Orange as a result of studies by health agencies that include the national Institute of Medicine.

But getting to this point took decades of persistent efforts by veterans whose concerns were brushed aside by previous heads of the VA and Department of Defense. When I did a newspaper investigation into this issue in 1980 that was carried by The Associated Press, for instance, the government’s official stance — widely aired on national television by a Pentagon official — was that no unusual health problems were found by the VA in examinations of some 84,000 Vietnam veterans in 1978-79. Veterans groups then demanded independent health studies, which found a much different pattern.

“The growing list of Agent Orange diseases stems [from] a court case, Nehmer v. Department of Veterans Affairs, filed in 1986. The class action lawsuit won by veterans, and reinforced by legislation, requires VA to direct the National Academy of Sciences to report every two years on any positive association between new diseases and exposure to herbicides in Vietnam,” syndicated columnist Tom Philpott noted in a analysis of the latest news in this long-running bureaucratic battle.

“In 2007, the Bush administration went to court to challenge the legal need for NAS studies on presumptive AO diseases to continue. It lost,” Philpott added. “The NAS reports are to continue through Oct. 1, 2014, with the [possibility] that more diseases will be found to have an association with herbicide exposure.”

A San Francisco-based veterans advocacy group, Swords to Plowshares, hailed the latest VA action. ”Our country neglected Vietnam War veterans and denied the harmful effects of Agent Orange for too long,” the group’s executive director, Michael Blecker, said in a news release. ”Our hope at Swords to Plowshares is that every Vietnam War veteran affected by the harmful chemicals will act now to file for what they are owed with the assistance of a veterans group.”

The VA bureaucracy can be so daunting that Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., the House Veterans Affairs Committee chairman, urged the VA to give automatic approval to health claims related to Agent Orange, subject to double-checking that the veteran served in Vietnam. Shinseki ordered the VA to hire an additional 1,800 people to process the expected deluge of new claims, Marine Corps Times reported.

According to the VA’s latest statement on this issue, other illnesses previously recognized as caused by exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam War are:

* AL Amyloidosis,

* Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy,

* Chloracne or other Acneform Disease consistent with Chloracne,

* Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, (now being expanded)

* Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2),

* Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,

* Porphyria Cutanea Tarda,

* Prostate Cancer,

* Respiratory Cancers (Cancer of the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea),

* Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma).

For more information about the VA’s new rules on Agent Orange:

(This article was also posted at EarthAirWater.)

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44 Responses to “Agent Orange Update”

  1. Tom |

    This is a real problem, and I’m encouraged to see it being addressed more seriously than it has been in the past.

    I had a number of experiences in Vietnam of being under chemicals sprayed by aircraft, and I can remember the smell and the feeling of the stuff landing on me. I never knew what it was, but it was unsettling. Those who had this experience had no choice in the matter — there was nowhere to hide.

  2. Jan |

    An additional problem, which we didn’t know at the time, is that the chemicals in the herbicides contaminated soil and water near airbases where the stuff was stored and potentially got into the drinking water supplies. There are still hot spots of dioxin next to the airbase at Danang, for instance, which health investigators discovered long after the US military left.

  3. Brian Bagent |

    One thing seems pretty clear to me, at least: 2,4,5-T (the defoliant in Agent Orange) was banned and is unlikely to be the culprit behind the rash of illnesses associated with Agent Orange. I’m not sure what else might have been in Agent Orange that is causative, but a close chemical analog of 2,4,5-T called 2,4-D is still on the market and still hasn’t been linked to anything that 2,4,5-T supposedly has.

    For what it’s worth, 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D are both plant growth hormones. The former affects perennials like trees and shrubs, the latter affects annuals like grasses and some broad-leaf plants.

  4. Tom |

    Brian, 2,4,5-T was banned after the Vietnam War ended. The U.S. military stopped using it in Vietnam in 1971, after it had been used extensively for about 10 years.

    Agent Orange was a 1:1 mix of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. The real problem was that 2,4,5-T (which is moderately toxic) contained small amounts of TCDD, which is extremely toxic to humans.

    The linkage to Agent Orange and the illnesses/diseases discussed is clearly established. In addition to the VA website (and links from there) in the article, you might also want to look here.

  5. Brian Bagent |

    Tom, I am aware of the studies you cited. I trust the federal government with the truth about as far as I can throw it.

    Our government has NEVER sponsored anything like the Tuskegee experiment, so therefore they would never hide the truth about Agent Orange, either; nor would they ever experiment on our unsuspecting GIs with something they weren’t told about nor ever agreed to do.

    And our government would NEVER sponsor pseudo-science like AGW, or, dare I say, glom on to Rachel Carson’s mad hatter dreams about the carcinogenic nature of DDT. Everybody just KNOWS that DDT is carcinogenic too, right? Rachel Carson said so, so it must be true because she loves the environment.

    No, I don’t see a conspiracy under every rock. But when the federal government has been caught in so many bald-faced lies, the wise man begins to believe nothing the federal government says until he can verify those things independently of government sources. In many cases, that’s just impossible, so we’re left with the choice of drinking their Kool Aid or not drinking their Kool Aid. There’s no middle ground that I can see.

    So, I’ll just have to beg your pardon if I can’t swallow some of these federal government sponsored studies. We have been officially told that 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D were the two ingredients of Agent Orange. I just don’t know what else might have been in it that is causing these problems.

    While not perfectly analogous, you can see the roots of my distrust if we look at this from a different angle. Suppose we sprayed a large cohort of plants with HGH. Would you expect HGH to have any effect at all on plants? I wouldn’t. That’s what has happened with 2,4,5-T – it is to woody plants what HGH is to us.

    The only thing I can think of is that the 2,4,5-T is a racemic mixture with another compound that could cause problems. Organic chemistry was still relatively primitive back then. As an example that might help make sense, there’s a racemic compound called butenedioic acid, which is composed of two acids with the exact same chemical formula (maleic acid and fumaric acid). The only difference between these two isomers is their shape. Remember, they’re composed of the exact same atoms in the exact same quantities. One of these is a toxic irritant, the other is an essential metabolite.

    Perhaps 2,4,5-T is a racemic mixture analogous to butenedioic acid. All I can tell you is that I don’t trust what the government, or their sponsored scientists, says.

  6. GunBunny1.05 |

    I can’t get over it,..then,..always was healthy, played many sports,..

    An airmobile gunbunny 1.05 Howz..

    Now, Agent Orange is destroying me and many others from Inside Out. (In Country: Bear Cat, Vung Tao, Tay Ninh, DaNang, Chu Lai)

    Latest Diagnosis, Aneurism in the Heart Aorta. aneurism in the stomach Aorta, aortic valve stenosis, coronary artery disease, prinzmetal spasms, a murmur, Intestinal disease. I had been complaining about chest pains for 9 years,…to which they attributed it to Acid Reflux, a pinched nerve, a pulled chest muscle,…did I pick up something heavy! Blah! Blah! Blah!

    Only the catherization was able to spot it. C & P lasted 10 minutes after reviewing procedure results, it was all there in the Medical notes. They conceded it was due to Agent Orange. Wish they would have done that 9 years ago before the damage got worse. Check yourselves, my brothers!

  7. Wetfoot |

    Have to agree with GunBunny1.05’s comments.

    I served in Vietnam 1967-68 as a Pararescueman flying on all types of helo’s. I was stationed at Bien-Hoa and DaNang, both air bases in which Ranch Hands launched from. Our job was the Rescue and Recovery of downed aircrew personnel regardless of branch of service. Agent Orange was all over the place at these bases, especially Bien Hoa. I was sprayed on the ground several times during missions of recovery of downed personnel and was involved in the recovery of 8 bodies from a Ranch Hand that went down near Loch Ninh! AO was all over the crash site. I was recently diagnosed with ischemic heart disease as well as an aortic anuerism and circulation problems in my legs. I recieved a five way bypass in February and am still being evaluated for further problems. There is no history of any heart problems in my family and I have lead a fairly active life up to this point. Hopefully, we are finally being recognized for the problems created by this toxic chemical and would encourage any Nam vets to file if you have incurred any of the diseases listed on the VA’s list. Incidentally, I also recieved service connection disability for another incident in Nam. Thanks to Jan Barry for reporting on this subject. Perhaps the VA and some of the politicians are starting to realize this is for real!

    Good luck to all!

  8. Lee Kinsella |

    I served in vietnam in 67-68 june to june , used to have map of sprayed area’s . Went to peoria,il. va outpatient clinic in 78 doc their said let va treat you for the rest of your life after taking skin samples . Never said much more, friging drunk for 20 years after that , been through 2 wives and alot of bad times since got back in 68 like gun bunny had the reflux thing , bad circulation, stent on left side of heart, 100% blockage on right, it grew a few alternative capilaries on own,now ,cancer took off today on back ,previous ear oper. , c and p’s have resulted in a whopping 10% for ptsd , boys every time your at the va get it in writing . had operation for reflux , nissan fundu plication suppose to be laproscopic three little holes he said , slit me from stem to stern, didn’t work they offered to do again, gave me 3 months worth of pills and sent my records to archives , had to have them pulled out , mabe i’m a weak person but when you _id_your best friend after a rocket attack it ain’t something i’ll ever forget , you put memories like that down deep ,seem to come out of that pit more so now , c and p boys said they didn’t want to hear it , i’ll fight them to my grave , guess those guys think there were borders in nam, hell i found out in 81 that there were tunnels from cu chi to phu loi and not all of them pop up outside the perimiter, ever wonder how they could walk the motars to the air field , dam sure wasn’t because they had a eye in the sky, ever wonder why there weren’t any trees or grass growing inside the phu loi camp , umpteen lbs. good ole agent orange , NO MATTER WHAT FELLA’S THEY CAN’T SAY WE DIDN’T SEVRE OUR COUNTRY WHEN THEY ASKED US , THEY DICTATED THE RESULTS AND WERE STILL CATCHING THE FLAC

  9. pd |

    We fight one war and come home and have to fight congress and people like webb. I would like to spray congress with 20 million gallons of agent orange and see the results.Seems like the Va is pretty much stuck on the 10% thing. If both arms and legs are gone might get 20%,not sure. Don’t smoke and only person in family to have an heart attack,according to webb has to be old age can’t be AO. Next war load webb and simpson up and let them go fight it. To all young people don’t serve the government military after the war you will have nothing.

  10. Doug Needhan |

    Any truth about there was agent orange in Korea
    i was station in 1966-1967

  11. Tom Carter |

    Doug, Agent Orange was used in the DMZ area of Korea for about a year in 1968-69. It was not sprayed from aircraft; it was applied by South Korean troops on the ground. A limited number of veterans who were in a few units with potential for exposure are eligible for Agent Orange benefits. Details are here.

  12. Jo Ann Stalter |

    USAF Reasurch Team stated that Prostate/ Melanoma Cancers were from Agent Orange, VA put Prostate on the list what about the Melanoma Cancer? Husband work planes equipment, flew to test equipment as they dumped the chemicals, also was cut on arm when working on planes equipment, had 30 some stitches. VA claimes all other Effects he has but will not claim the Melanoma. He was in the AF and VA claimed Prostate but not Melanoma believe this is Pick and Chose issue.
    Help this Veterans before its too late, has Brain Tumor now.
    Doctoe says it is from the AO Chemicals when in Vietnam.
    Wife and Caregiver

  13. Jackpine Hippie |

    I think I read earlier that they’re expecting the average CHD disability rating to be in the 60% range.

  14. William Cooper |

    Doug, I was with C company 1st Bn. 32 Inf. 7th Inf. Div. In 1969 thur 1970. I was a team leader with that unit. We seen them spraying everyday along the roads back and forth to the DMZ in Korea. The people we saw that was spraying were south Korean contractors, not the army. We use our trucks and drivers to move them to each area within our command for spraying. The DOD didn’t tell the hole story how it was applied and who did it.

  15. Navy vet |

    Just like the myth of the returning Vietnam vet being spit at or on by hippies in airports (it rarely, if ever, happened except in movies), the myth of Agent Orange being responsible for increased health problems among vets remains popular…a regular growth industry with a lot of money at stake.

    One would think that by now, decades after the end of the war, and after numerous lengthy, in-depth epidemiological studies of Operation Ranch Hand personnel (the most heavily exposed) and other Vietnam vets, there would be something a little stronger than a “presumptive” determination of a relationship between Agent Orange and illness among vets.

    But there aren’t any “smoking gun” studies showing a statistically significant increase.

    It is beyond preposterous that Navy vets such as myself who served offshore, never setting foot on Vietnam and never being exposed to spray drift, can claim VA benefits if I suffer from any of the long list of ailments PRESUMED to caused by Agent Orange exposure.

    Sure…there are sick vets. But no more than in the general population of similar aged people.

    Very few vets ever were spit on in airports and Agent Orange exposure hasn’t been shown to have caused increased illness in vets, either.

  16. evon thompson |

    my husband glenn died dec 2009 he was a very sick man he died from all agent oranges causeshis whole life was destroyed by this we had a short life together. please help me with this …………i loved him dearly….evon

  17. Christina |

    I am a daughter of a vet and I think this is such s*** that my Father is dying of this agent orange crap!! My dad was a MP and was there to keep the peace, but now at 64 yrs old he is dying instead of living his life!! I will do WHATEVER I need to do to make sure this issue will be known and NEVER forgotten! I am young and have nothing better to do with my TIME then to fight the people who did this to him and my family! I have ALOT of time on my hands!! My Dad who has always been a strong man 6’4″ and about 220 is not 6’4″ and 127lbs thats all his thigh is as small as my wrist. He is in pain and the cancer just keeps growing to no eval. We will start on Tuesday our 4th round of chemo and see what that will do. I know his time is getting less and less. When he passes you will all know you will read it in the paper and see me on the news and I WILL file a law suit against the goverment!! I will not stop EVERY PERSON IN THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT THIS IS DOING TO OUR HEROS!! I will be heard I PROMISE you that.
    God’s speed to all and know they have turned me into the devil and I am MAD NOW!!!

  18. Christina |

    Navy Vet- I have proof the VA handed me a letter that states my father’s cancer was 100% caused by AGENT ORANGE!!! It is in BLACK and WHITE!! So I dont know where you are getting your info from, but I made sure I got that letter for them he recived his SS in THREE weeks and they went back for 5 months. His VA 100% benifits were given to him in 2 months so why would the goverment do that if he was not DYING because of something they did!!! WHY?? No one gets SS in 2 weeks NO ONE EVER!! I am a nurse and his VA was rushed though too!! Open your eyes sir I dont know you but this is real! VERY REAL!! My dad will not make it but I will be his voice and will fight for everyone! The way he did when he went to fight and protect our great NATION!!!

  19. don |

    This is just a short note to tell all the vietnam veterans out there that I received an entitlement to service connection for psoriasis, to include as due to exposure to Agent Orange. A Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans’ Appeals issued this order on Feb 10, 2011. If my email can be published, please feel free to contact me at:

  20. Jan |

    Thanks to everyone who has written on this thread for your comments on Agent Orange and health issues. Brian’s skepticism of the government is warranted, except it was federal government officials who for years hid the findings of health studies that found links between dioxin exposure and certain illnesses among herbicide manufacturing workers and many other folks, including veterans and in many cases veterans’ children.

  21. Larry |

    I served in B co. 1/35 th infantry, ’67-68. I had a heart attack from IHD in ’07 and filed my first claim this month. Now I am being tested for possible PD or Myasthenia gravous. My question is, does the presumtive rulings mean I could receive some compensation even if other family members had IHD?

  22. Jan |

    My understanding is that the VA rules on health problems associated with Agent Orange focus entirely on the veteran’s health. But I’m not a service officer with a vets group such as the VFW, which I suggest you consult with.

  23. Larry |

    Thanks, Jan. I have talked with the SO in my county and filed a claim but all this is new to me and very confusing. Plus I’m having memory issues along with everything else and forget what I’ve been told. After reading many forums from vets, I wonder if it’s even worth the effort.

  24. Joseph |

    I too suffer from memory loss as well as chronic peripheral neuropathy. My family doctor and my neurologist both agree that my medical problem is associated with chemical exposure (i.e. Agent Orange). Make your claim and don’t give up.

  25. Larry |

    I was examined at one of the best neurological institutes in our area and was shocked to hear after a twenty minute exam that I most likely have PD. Other test will be done to cofirm it isn’t something else. Part of me was thinking it wasn’t PD and that it would take alot longer to diagnose anyway. A little upsetting. Can someone answer this for me? If the VA starts paying for PD and say, five years down the road, your neurologist changes the diagnosis, What happens then? I mean if they decide it was miss diagnosed as PD. I know that the symtoms can be hard to diagnose. I also have peripheral neuropathy and the SO put in for it but that will be denied, due to the time limit. Hopefully, they will change that.

  26. bea woods |

    My husband served in vietnam in 1968-1969 he was diagnoised with melanoma in 1998 we filed a claim with the va in 2004 on his diabetes, and the melanoma, he drew compsentation for diabetes but at that time they said his melanoma was not connected to agent orange. I have been told that now it is related to agent orange..My husband passed away in July 4, 2007 from melanoma. He had a horrible death and i never want to see anyone go through that but I have heard many stories of our vets dieing of melanoma..I have a claim with the va but nothing yet, but they say they are working on it..i pray for all the veterens and their family because I know the heartbreak of loosing the love of your life..

  27. Bea woods |

    Please let me know if melanoma is one of the cancers caused by agent orange my husband died of this in 2007

  28. Jan |

    I don’t know where the VA currently stands on melanoma, but an Air Force health study found that Ranch Hand aircrews who sprayed Agent Orange in Vietnam had more cases of melanoma than did a control group.

  29. mary |

    my husband die of melanoma, he also had leukemia and heart problems. i been waiting to hear from va too.

  30. bea woods |

    Bea Woods..Update on Melanoma ruling on my husband VA is still saying melanoma is not linked to agent orandg.. Claim denied by VA . How many veterans have got to die from mmelanoma before they put it on the list.. disappointed in the ruling and knida pissed…

  31. Robert Erhard Sr, |

    Please read THE IOM REPORT minor Rev.3 Jan. 2012(yes,3 Jan.2012).Please read The 112 Congress Bills 2011-2012 H.R.812 includes The Blue Water Navy…and more; S.1629 provides for compensation and health care: H.R.3612 amends Title 38; And, the CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT of December 8,2011 brings it all together…giving a severe warning to The Department of Veterans Affairs…H.R.3612: > Congress has the Power…TO ENACT…this legislation pursuant to the following: Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 > The Congress shall have Power * * * To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers,and all other Powers…VESTED by the Constitution…in the Government of the United States,or in…ANY…Department thereof.

  32. Bob Hansen |

    I had 3 malignant melanomas all removed within a month back in 1990. The doctor said he had never seen a patient with three melanomas at the same time. I believe AO was the reason. I served in nam, Phu Bai in 1970.

  33. Larry Edmons |

    I have the ischemic heart condition in 2011, in 2010 I had aortic aneurysm surgery which the doctors found the ischemic heart condition.The main artery from the heart is not on the VA list for agent orange.I can not believe agent orange can attack the heart and not the aortic artery.So far no doctor has the balls to at lease say there is a possibiliry that it could be a secondary issue to the Coronary Artery Disease ( Ischemic heart)so we can get this service connected also.

  34. Susanne |

    My husband served on the ground in VN from 1968-70. He has had two malignant melanomas. (It is very rare to have more than one malanoma primary.) He also has unexplained chronic pain and inflammation throughout his body, which has become worse over the years and which no doctor has been able to diagnose or treat. He is unable to function without daily pain medication, cannot sleep, has IBS– he is just a mess. Then the final blow– a diagnosis of Diabetes Type 2, without him having any risk factors for diabetes at all. My husband’s claim has been at the VA for over a year with no decision. Sad and frustrating to say the least.

  35. Patricia |

    My husband was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and most days his helicopter’s tail had to be repainted due to Agent Orange eating the paint off as he flew. At times, he would spray the chemical during a mission. He flew in Vietnam and Cambodia with Vietnamese co-pilots in some very dense terrains. He had almost 26 years of perfect flight physicals (difficult to do), but he died a couple of years after he retired. He took every drug available and fought with everything he had to survive, but he died within 9 months of his Melanoma diagnosis. The mole was no larger than a small freckle and it was removed with clean perimeters, but he died anyway. It was and is a heartbreaking blow to me and to his family that such a healthy, strong man could die in such a short time and in the greatest of pain throughout his entire body. He spent the last 3 months paralyzed due to the effects of the metastatic Melanoma brain tumor. If anyone knows how I could find out more about the Melanoma and Agent Orange connection, please let me know. Thank you.

  36. Jan |

    Here’s some information from studies in Europe:
    “Environmental pollution is emerging as another likely cause of melanoma. After the Seveso incident in 1976, when large amounts of dioxins were released into the atmosphere in northern Italy, the local melanoma rate rose more than 10-fold.”

  37. Jan |

    Here’s information on a study of Vietnam veterans who sprayed Agent Orange in Air Force units:

    Pesticide Use and Cutaneous Melanoma in Pesticide Applicators in … › … › v.118(6); Jun 2010by LK Dennis – 2010 – Cited by 17 – Related articles
    A study of white Ranch Hand Vietnam veterans found an increased risk of melanoma related to dioxin exposure and herbicide exposure (Akhtar et al. 2004).

  38. bea woods |

    well this is Bea Woods again I finally got the answer from the VA melanoma is not related to agent orange, well they can take that info and stick it where the sun dont shine, I know my husband died from the effects of agent orange, we had three miscarriages and i know now after studying on this that it was also caused by agent orange,so glad we had one pregancy normal and have a daughted and then 3 miscariages. but God did bless us with an adopted son who we got when he was 3 weeks old, I live with him and his wife today and he is a great son.if anyone hears any updates on melanoma please post it..

  39. doug meyer |

    NAVY VET,,Did I read that right,,,returning vets were not spit on when returning????? you just got off loaded in San Diego I guess. I went through Travis AFB March of 69,,,and not only spit on, but eggs rocks and anything they could get there hands on hit our bus. the dang bus had steel mesh on the windows,,,so you tell me this is a myth,and in the movies. Go swab a deck,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  40. Susanne |

    Update: My husband recently had a third melanoma primary diagnosed. He will receive benefits for his diabetes, but not for his melanoma. The VA doctor who screened him for his claim told him she had never heard of any information that connects melanoma to agent orange– How could she not know that hundreds of AO vets have filed claims for it? She did tell him to continue to watch “the list” because it always changes and new diseased could be included in the future.

  41. Tom Marino |

    Tom – was in Vietnam 70-71 down south in Can Tho on a small helicopter base. Met an engineer that built our PSP runway and he said they loaded down that runway with agent orange (under the PSP). Now years later I have had open heart surgery, (ischemic heart disease) 19 stents in my arteries, diabetes, kidney failure, and so on. So I can understand the guy that mentioned it was killing him from the inside out. Whoever has problems that was in Vietnam please go to the VA and get help and file a claim.

  42. Donald Clayton |

    My sisters husband was in Vietnam and was a ammunition dump guard and was spread daily with Agent Orang He died of an aneurism at the age of 38… His records were lost by the Detroit area VA or so they say.. How can my sister get benefits from the VA?

  43. Kathleen |

    My husband was a Vietnam nam vet. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and he filed and received a small disability compensation. He died in January of this year from malignant melanoma that aggressively spread to his lungs, liver and brain.
    Would it be wise or a waste of time to file a claim with the va? Comments welcome to my email
    Thank you and God bless.

  44. Dianne |

    My husband served in Vietnam 1967-1968, 555th Civil Engineering. He has bladder cancer. Agent Blue had high levels of arsenic per H.R. 2519, Sec. 2, June 26, 2013, U.S. House of Representatives. EPA in 2006 did not reregister this arsenic, cacodylic acid, due to cancer concerns – read the August 10, 2006 EPA decision for these four organic arsenics.. It converts to inorganic arsenic by microorganisms in the soil and then concerns about getting into the drinking water. IOM 2012 confirms the soil conversion by microorganisms to inorganic arsenic, but does not state the concerns into the drinking water (see page 85). In fact, the 2012 IOM AO Update does not (on page 85) tell that this arsenic, cacodlyic acid, was not reregistered in 2006 EPA decision, although it does state that the EPA approved for use. Inorganic arsenic is known to cause bladder cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer. See IARC Arsenic in Drinking Water, Summaries & Evaluations, CAS No. 75-60-5 is on the list Dimethylarsinic acid which is a synonym for cacodylic acid, Agent Blue.
    My husband also has an aneurysm of the aorta. Add another one to this long list. MANY have bladder cancer also. If you find blood in your urine, find a urologist immediately and ask that he visually check the inside of your bladder for cancer.
    A free download of the 2012 Veterans and Agent Orange Update is available at the National Academies Press. Spend some time in that book. Pages 85 and 514 are very interesting. I am baffled by the conclusion on page 526 after understanding page 85, and that it did not reference the August 10, 2006 EPA Revised Reregistration Decision for MSMA, DSMA, CAMA and Cacodylic Acid (Agent Blue). Read the Introduction and the Regulatory Rationale in this EPA decision. Read the Toxic Effects and Carcinogenicity. Keep in mind that this decision is directly for Cacodylic Acid, page 85 of the IOM’s Veterans and Agent Orange Update 2012.

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