Agent Orange and other herbicides are chemicals that were used extensively in Vietnam as defoliants to remove leaves from trees. Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides such as dioxin may experience negative health effects.
Many of these veterans are eligible for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. The following medical conditions are generally presumed to be service-connected for veterans exposed to Agent Orange and certain other herbicides. This means that veterans with these conditions have to submit less evidence to the VA to be eligible for benefits:
- chloracne (a skin disorder),
- porphyria cutanea tarda,
- acute or subacute peripheral neuropathy (a nerve disorder),
- type 2 diabetes, and
- numerous cancers.
In addition, Vietnam veterans’ children with the birth defect spina bifida are eligible for certain benefits and services. Furthermore, the VA was recently authorized to provide certain benefits, including health care, for children with birth defects who were born to female Vietnam veterans.
The following veterans are assumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange:
- Any U.S. Vietnam era veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam between 1962 and 1975, regardless of length of service (i.e., 1 hour, 1 day, 1 month, 1 year, etc.).
- Any U.S. veteran who served in Korea during 1968 or 1969.
If you served in Vietnam or Korea during those dates, or if you were exposed to Agent Orange, dioxin or another toxic substance in an herbicide or defoliant during the conduct of any military operation or as a result of the testing, transporting, or spraying of herbicides for military purposes, you are entitled to Agent Orange Registry Examination and possibly VA benefits. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA health care system to receive an Agent Orange Registry Examination. The Registry Examination is an opportunity to identify individual health issues and to gather information about the diseases and other medical conditions caused by exposure to Agent Orange. If you have been exposed to Agent Orange and would like more information, contact your local VA Medical Center, or the VA’s Agent Orange Helpline:
Gulf War/ Agent Orange Helpline
Environmental Agents Service
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420