in which the Department of Veterans Affairs declares that vets serving on certain ships during the Vietnam Conflict may have been exposed to Agent Orange:
It seems like I can't open an email about veterans without seeing reference to Agent Orange this week. Did you realize that Agent Orange is still a problem, not only for our Vietnam Vets but for others as well?
Two stories stick out like sore thumbs.
in which the Department of Veterans Affairs declares that vets serving on certain ships during the Vietnam Conflict may have been exposed to Agent Orange and are now welcome to file for compensation:
Vietnam veterans who served on ships have been asking for decades for medical benefits due to exposure to Agent Orange. Until now, most of these veterans were not considered under the presumed exposure idea which covers the majority of Vietnam veterans who served on land.
An extensive list of the ships can be found on the VA website
The second story comes from Arizona, where a wildfire is burning on land once treated with Agent Orange:
"Nearly everyone we have talked to is experiencing some type of negative physical effects from the smoke," said reporter Susan K. from local radio station Gila 101.9. The station claims there is cause for concern. The billowing smoke coming from the fire is near an area exposed to Agent Orange.
"In the 1960s we did use an herbicide, commonly referred to as Agent Orange, to treat chaparral vegetation," said Tonto National Forest spokesman David Albo.
First things first - if you are a Vietnam Veteran or the spouse of one:
Not too late to file a claim: Vietnam Veterans and their survivors can still apply for compensation benefits for ischemic heart disease, chronic B-cell leukemias, or Parkinson’s disease, the Agent Orange presumptive conditions added on August 31, 2010.
Here is the longer list of diseases related to exposure. All of these should qualify for compensation:
- Acute and Subacute Peripheral Neuropathy
A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to herbicides and resolve within 2 years after the date it began.
A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs.
Chloracne (or Similar Acneform Disease)
A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA's rating regulations, chloracne (or other acneform disease similar to chloracne) must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to herbicides.
Chronic B-cell Leukemias
A type of cancer which affects white blood cells.
Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin.
A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia.
Ischemic Heart Disease
A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain.
A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow.
A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue.
A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement.
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10% disabling within 1 year of exposure to herbicides.
Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men.
Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus.
Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or Mesothelioma)
A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues.
You can tackle the VA Compensation process
on your own or you can get help. I have two places to send you - one is the DAV, the Disabled American Veterans, website. You can locate the office closest to you with this helpful page
If you prefer working within the DailyKos community, I would suggest Vetwife's non-profit, United Veterans of America
. A visit to the website and a quick search on Agent Orange will provide you with tons of info. She also has suggestions for how to file and how to get that every important DD-214. And, you can ask for help. There are volunteers who know what they are doing.
Both the DAV and UVA are FREE. You do not need to pay for any membership to receive help from either organization.
If you are a DailyKos Vietnam Veteran who has braved this process and survived, I ask a favor. Would you please write a diary telling us about your experience? Let other veterans know that you can file a claim and you can get your benefits. This will not only help convince veterans from past wars to file, but may help convince veterans from the current wars as well. Help a vet - Share your story!
If you live in Arizona near this fire and believe you have been exposed to dangerous chemicals, please visit your doctor and document symptoms. The government is clearly saying that there is no danger yet individuals living in the area strongly disagree. Rather than wonder, get medical attention to be safe.
If you are a Kossack who has read this far but not a Vietnam Veteran - you can help us by recommending the diary so that it sees more eyes and potentially more veterans and their family members. We have lots of them on DailyKos. You can also leave a comment expressing support - diaries with lots of conversation attract attention. I would prefer to do that without a pie fight. Thanks for your help!