More Korean War Vets Can Make Agent Orange Claims
The Department of Veterans Affairs has expanded the pool of Korean War vets who can make claims related to exposure to Agent Orange. This toxic defoliant has been linked to more than a dozen serious, often fatal health problems, including various types of cancer.
Korean vets do not have to prove Agent Orange exposure
Until now, only those Korean War vets who served in certain units along the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) between April 1968 and July 1969 could make claims regarding Agent Orange exposure. The new ruling, which was published in the Federal Register, extends the net of health coverage to those who served between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971 “in a unit determined by VA and the Department of Defense to have operated in an area in or near the Korean DMZ in which herbicides were applied.”
According to the Department of VA, Agent Orange is the name assigned to a combination of herbicides used by the US military sprayed from 1961 to 1971 in Vietnam to eliminate foliage that provided cover for the enemy. It was called “Agent Orange” because the 55-gallon drums in which it was stored had an orange stripe.
Agent Orange contained minute traces of a substance known as TCDD or dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin), which causes various illnesses in laboratory animals. Other herbicides were also used during the war, including Agent Blue and Agent White, but Agent Orange was the toxin most widely applied.
The VA estimates that 2.6 million US military personnel were exposed to Agent Orange. Among the diseases for which veterans can make claims regarding exposure to the toxin are acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy, chronic B-cell leukemias, chloracne, type 2 diabetes, Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers (e.g., larynx, lung, trachea, bronchus), ischemic heart disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, and some forms of soft tissue sarcoma.
The VA noted that Korean War vets do not have to prove their medical condition happened during their time in Korea. By presuming their conditions are associated with Agent Orange, the application process is accelerated and makes sure the vets have access to the health benefits they need and deserve.
The VA is asking that Korean War vets who meet the new guidelines submit claims for conditions presumed to be associated with Agent Orange exposure as soon as possible.
Department of Veterans Affairs