Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S. military in South Vietnam used more than 19 million gallons of herbicides for defoliation and crop destruction. The VA has established a web site, specifically dedicated to the issue of Agent Orange. You can also find out more about Agent Orange by reading our Agent Orange FAQ. The number of diseases that VA has recognized as associated with (but not necessarily caused by) Agent Orange exposure has expanded considerably during the 1990’s. The most recent list was published in May 2009.
Conditions Presumtively Recognized as Associated with Agent Orange in Veterans
- AL Amyloidosis
- A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs. Note that AL Amyloidosis was added to this list on May 7, 2009.
- Chronic B Cell Leukemias
- Cancers which affect B cells, such as hairy cell leukemia.
- A skin condition that occurs soon after dioxin exposure and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to Agent Orange.
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
- A disease that progresses slowly with increasing production of excessive numbers of white blood cells.
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
- A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin.
- Hodgkin’s Disease
- A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia.
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart.
- Multiple Myeloma
- A cancer of specific bone marrow cells that is characterized by bone marrow tumors in various bones of the body.
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue.
- Parkinson's Disease
- A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement.
- Peripheral Neuropathy Acute and Subacute
- A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to Agent Orange and resolve within 2 years after the date it began.
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
- A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to Agent Orange.
- Prostate Cancer
- Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men.
- Respiratory Cancers
- Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus.
- Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)
- A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues.
Veterans with Lou Gehrig's Disease: VA presumes Lou Gehrig's Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) diagnosed in all Veterans who had 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service, although ALS is not related to Agent Orange exposure.
In addition, Vietnam veterans’ children with the birth defect spina bifida are eligible for certain benefits and services. Furthermore, VA now provides certain benefits, including health care, for children with birth defects who were born to female Vietnam veterans.
What this means is that, because you were there, you are entitled to benefits if you suffer from any of these diseases. You don't have to prove exposure, nor do you have to prove that the disease is connected to Agent Orange. If you suffer from any of those diseases, you are elegible for benefits from the VA. Even if you don't suffer from any of those, it's a really good idea to get a free screening examination from the VA to get yourself into the system. It will make obtaining benefits later much easier.