Legislation adds nine diseases to list of illnesses caused by Agent Orange

Elizabeth Howe
April 18, 2019 - 12:26 pm

Photo courtesy of VA Public Health

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle introduced new legislation called the Keeping Our Promises Act that would add nine medical conditions to the list of illnesses that result from Agent Orange exposure. 

The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark. Co-sponsors include Reps. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., Scott Tipton, R-Colo., Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Brendan Boyle, D-Penn., Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and Ann Kuster, D-N.H.

Military Veterans Advocacy: Agent Orange effects go beyond Vietnam

The conditions joining the list include prostate cancer, bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension, stroke, early-onset peripheral neuropathy, AL amyloidosis, ischemic heart disease, and Parkinson-like syndromes. Research from the National Academy of Medicine has found evidence that all but one of these conditions (hypertension) can be linked to Agent Orange exposure. 

Study finds link between high blood pressure, Agent Orange exposure   

The U.S. military sprayed herbicides, including Agent Orange, over Vietnam from 1961 to 1971 in order to clear the dense tropical foliage that was providing cover for enemy troops. Thousands of service members were exposed to the toxins. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report in November of 2018 that concluded there was sufficient evidence to link high blood pressure with exposure to Agent Orange.

Veterans exposed to Agent Orange on the ground and inland waterways while in Vietnam can receive health care and compensation from the VA. Thanks to a recent court ruling, those benefits may be extended to Blue Water vets with qualifying diseases who served aboard ships stationed offshore during the Vietnam War.

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