Diseases Associated with Agent Orange

Illnesses can qualify vets for VA disability and healthcare benefits

Many veterans who were grateful to have come home safe from the Vietnam War have since recognized just how badly they were wounded through toxic exposure. Agent Orange, the widely used herbicide containing dioxin, stayed with these service members and slowly ravaged their health. Decades later, these veterans are badly in need of disability and healthcare benefits, but the Veterans Administration still plays a game of delay and denial. At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, our attorneys are determined to see qualified veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Presumptive diseases for Agent Orange exposure

Presumptive diseases are those with a strong service connection to dioxin. The current list includes:

  • AL Amyloidosis
  • Chronic B-cell leukemia
  • Chloracne
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy, early-onset
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
  • Soft-tissue sarcomas
  • Various cancers in body tissues

An eligible veteran who suffers from one of these diseases is presumed to have gotten it from contact with Agent Orange and does not have to prove exposure. However, certain vets, such as Blue Water seamen, may have to prove a service connection. Although Lou Gehrig's Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is not linked to Agent Orange, ALS is always presumed to be related to military service for any veteran who had 90 days or more of continuous active service.

Veterans with non-presumptive diseases may still be eligible

If you served during the Agent Orange era in Vietnam or the Korean DMZ and developed an illness that is not listed among the presumptive diseases, you may still be able to prove Agent Orange compensation eligibility. However, you have to prove that you were exposed to Agent Orange and demonstrate a proven association between your illness and the chemical. This requires research and documentation, but it is not impossible to accomplish. Medical research is ongoing, and the VA frequently updates its list of presumptive diseases based on new facts.

It may also be worth investigating whether your illness or disability has another cause the VA recognizes. The VA has presumptive lists based on environmental exposures throughout the world.

Birth defects in children of exposed veterans

Dioxin used during the Vietnam era has been linked to birth defects in the children of exposed parents. The VA presumes that, when a child of a male or female Vietnam veteran is born with spina bifida, Agent Orange was the cause. The list of presumed birth defects for children born to female Vietnam Veterans is extensive, and includes:

  • Achondroplasia (a type of dwarfism)
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Clubfoot
  • Esophageal and intestinal atresia
  • Hallerman-Streiff syndrome
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hirschprung’s disease
  • Hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis
  • Hypospadias
  • Imperforate anus
  • Neural tube defects
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Tracheoesophageal fistula
  • Undescended testicles
  • Webbed fingers and fused digits
  • Williams syndrome

If your child suffers from any of these difficulties, you should investigate your eligibility for VA benefits. You fought your war; your child should not have to carry its wounds. Our attorneys provide aggressive representation in VA appeals to help ensure that all qualified veterans receive the care and support they deserve.

Contact our attorneys to discuss your Agent Orange eligibility

Filing for benefits due to Agent Orange exposure may seem straightforward, but many eligible veterans have faced unreasonable denials. If you’ve been denied, we can help you assemble the compelling evidence you need to prevail on your appeal. Call Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban today at 866-866-VETS or contact us online. We charge no upfront costs, and you pay no attorney's fees unless we win your claim for benefits.