Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VA Extends "Agent Orange" Benefits

VA Extends "Agent Orange" Benefits to More Veterans

Parkinson's Disease, Two Other Illnesses Recognized

WASHINGTON (Oct. 13, 2009) - Relying on an independent study by the
Institute of Medicine (IOM), Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K.
Shinseki decided to establish a service-connection for Vietnam Veterans
with three specific illnesses based on the latest evidence of an
association with the herbicides referred to Agent Orange.

The illnesses affected by the recent decision are B cell leukemias, such
as hairy cell leukemia; Parkinson's disease; and ischemic heart disease.

Used in Vietnam to defoliate trees and remove concealment for the enemy,
Agent Orange left a legacy of suffering and disability that continues to
the present. Between January 1965 and April 1970, an estimated 2.6
million military personnel who served in Vietnam were potentially
exposed to sprayed Agent Orange.

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. This "presumption"
simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.

The Secretary's decision brings to 15 the number of presumed illnesses
recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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

Other illnesses previously recognized under VA's "presumption" rule as
being caused by exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam War are:

* Acute and Subacute Transient Peripheral Neuropathy
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/peripheral_neuropathy.asp
>

* AL Amyloidosis
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/al_amyloidosis.asp
>

* Chloracne
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/chloracne.asp
>

* Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/chronic_leukemia.asp
>

* Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/diabetes.asp
>

* Hodgkin's Disease
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/hodgkins.asp
>

* Multiple Myeloma
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/multiple_myeloma.asp
>

* Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/nh_lymphoma.asp
>

* Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/porphyria.asp
>

* Prostate Cancer
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/prostate_cancer.asp
>

* Respiratory Cancers
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/respiratory_cancers.asp
> , and

* Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma,
Kaposi's sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/condi
tions/st_sarcoma.asp
>

Additional information about Agent Orange and VA's services and programs
for Veterans exposed to the chemical are available at
www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange
<http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/> .

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