Veterans Affairs has established a service-connection for Viet Nam Veterans with three illnesses after a medical study determined they can be a result of exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange.
The Missouri Veterans Commission says the VA is constantly doing studies under the request of various Veit Nam Veterans’ groups. This one was conducted under the Institute of Medicine and associates three new diseases with Agent Orange — Parkinson’s, B cell leukemias, and ischemic heart disease.
Doug Meyer, Director of Veterans Services, says these join a host of other illnesses being blamed on Agent Orange. Other illnesses previously recognized are: Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy; Chloracne; Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia; Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2); Hodgkin’s Disease; Multiple Myeloma; Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; Porphyria Cutanea Tarda; Prostate Cancer; Respiratory Cancers and Soft Tissue Sarcoma.
Meyer says the list could grow even longer as more studies are completed, and the VA has indicated testing will continue.
Meyer says many Missouri veterans aren’t aware of what benefits are available to them. He urges all veterans to get more information through the Missouri Veterans Commission, or, to check with their local organizations, such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Viet Nam veterans with certain illnesses can qualify for benefits for service-connected conditions; Meyer says these conditions are based on a presumptive condition… meaning that because of the exposure, various ailments manifest years later.
Visit www.va.gov or www.mvc.dps.mo.gov for more about Veterans’ benefits. More on Agent Orange and VA’s services and programs for veterans exposed to the chemical are available at www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange.