Agent Orange

 

Agent Orange is a mix of herbicides that was used as a weapon by the US to kill enemy crops in Vietnam and Korea during the 1960s and 70s.

After using Agent Orange for many years, it was discovered that the herbicide mixture that makes up Agent Orange had been contaminated during the manufacturing process with an extremely toxic dioxin (TCDD) that is associated with many serious health problems in people exposed to Agent Orange.

During the Vietnam War, more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange were used by US troops in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, resulting in excessive amounts of the toxic dioxin in fields, forests, and military bases.

In Korea, Korean troops used Agent Orange manufactured by the US along the Korean DMZ, exposing tens of thousands of US service members.

There is a huge amount of controversy over the use of Agent Orange. We are not going to address those controversies here since it doesn’t matter who knew what when, who was to blame, and who was innocently victimized. The excessive use of Agent Orange was and is a tragedy. What matters most to us is that tens of thousands of service members were exposed to Agent Orange, now suffer from serious health problems, and deserve to receive their proper compensation.

Over the years, studies have shown correlations between exposure to Agent Orange and the development of many serious health conditions in veterans. As a result of these studies, the VA has added those conditions most closely tied with Agent Orange exposure to their VA Presumptive List, automatically making those conditions service-connected and thus eligible for VA Disability.

For a veteran’s condition to qualify on the VA Presumptive List as caused by Agent Orange, the veteran must have served in Vietnam, or in the waters offshore of Vietnam, between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975; in or near the Korean DMZ between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971; or on contaminated C-123 aircraft between 1969 and 1986 (see the VA's list of Air Force Speciality Codes and Units for specifics on C-123 qualifications).

Agent Orange was used in other areas besides Korea and Vietnam, but the largest amount of exposure to US troops occurred in these locations. Because of this, the VA currently only grants compensation for conditions caused by Agent Orange exposure to vets who served in these locations (or on the C-123s) unless concrete evidence can be provided that proves that the vet was definitely and undeniably exposed elsewhere.

All the conditions caused by Agent Orange that qualify for VA Disability can be found on our VA Presumptive List page.

The VASRD does not give a VASRD Code for exposure to Agent Orange. Instead, each condition caused by Agent Orange can be given its own rating as long as they each cause separate and distinct symptoms. Remember, a single symptom can only be rated once (see the Pyramiding Principle). So, if two conditions both cause high blood pressure, the high blood pressure can only be used to rate one of the conditions.

Finally, when submitting a VA Disability Claim for Agent Orange conditions, make sure to list each condition separately and include the proof (deployment orders, etc.) that you were stationed in Vietnam or in Korea within the required date range, or that you were definitely exposed to Agent Orange elsewhere.

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