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Agent Orange Updates

By John Zutz

[Printer-Friendly Version]

Agent Orange Illnesses That Effect Veterans

[Source: NAUS Weekly Update for 22 AUG 03 & POVA VSO msg 28 JUL 04]

The following health conditions are presumed to be caused by Agent Orange. Vietnam vets do not have to prove that the illness is related to their military service, and may be able to get disability compensation.

1. Chloracne (must occur within 1 year of exposure to Agent Orange) - a skin condition that looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. The first sign may be excessive oiliness of the skin. This is accompanied or followed by numerous blackheads. In mild cases, the blackheads may be limited to the areas around the eyes extending to the temples. In more severe cases, blackheads may appear in many places, especially over the cheekbone and other facial areas, behind the ears, and along the arms.

2. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - a group of malignant tumors (cancers) that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue. These tumors are relatively rare compared to other types of cancer, and although survival rates have improved during the past two decades, these diseases tend to be fatal.

3. Hodgkin's disease - a malignant lymphoma characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia.

4. Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma

5. Soft tissue sarcoma other than osteosarcoma and chondrosarcoma - a group of different types of malignant tumors (cancers) that arise from body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues (not in hard tissue such as bone or cartilage). These cancers are in the soft tissue that occurs within and between organs. The following conditions fall under the term "soft-tissue sarcoma):

a. Adult fibrosarcoma,
b. Dermatofibrosacoma protuberans,
c. Malignant fibrous histicytoma
d. Liposarcoma,
e. Leiomyosarcoma,
f. Malignant granular cell tumor,
g. Alveolar soft part sarcoma,
h. Rhabdomysarcoma,
i. Ectomesenchymoma,
j. Malignant glomus tumor,
k. Malignant hemangiopericytoma,
l. Malignant Schwannoma,
m. Malignant mesenchymoma,
n. Epithelioid sarcoma,
o. Extraskeletal Ewing's sarcoma,
p. Congenital and infantile fibrosarcoma,
q. Malignant ganglioneuroma,
r. Epitheloid Leiomysarcoma (malignant meiomyblastoma),
s. Angiosarcoma (hemangiosarcoma and lymphagiosarcoma),
t. Proliferating (systemic) angioendotheliomatosis,
u. Clear cell sarcoma of tendons and aponeuroses,
v. Synovial sarcoma (malignant synovioma),
w. Malignant giant cell tumor of tendon sheath.

6. Porphyria cutanea tarda (must occur within 1 year of exposure.) - a disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas.

7. Multiple myeloma - cancer of specific bone marrow cells that is characterized by bone marrow tumors in various bones of the body.

8. Respiratory cancers, including cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus. (Previously these conditions must have manifested within 30 years of the veteran's departure from Vietnam to qualify but this 30 year time limit has now been eliminated.

9. Prostate cancer - one of the most common cancers among men.

10. Peripheral neuropathy (transient acute or subacute - must appear within 1 year of exposure and resolve within 2-years of date of onset) - a nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. This condition affects only the peripheral nervous system, that is, only the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord.

11. Diabetes mellitus: Often referred to as Type 2 diabetes: - a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body's inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin.

12. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (Final rule and regulations pending).

Occasionally the VA sees combat veterans with multiple unexplained symptoms or difficult-to-diagnose illnesses that can cause significant disability. Two VA centers offer specialized evaluations for combat veterans with disabilities related to these difficult-to-diagnose illnesses. The War Related Illness and Injury Study Centers - WRIISCs (pronounced "risks") are at the VA Medical Centers in Washington, DC, and East Orange, NJ. Veterans who were deployed to combat zones, served in areas where hostilities occurred, or were exposed to environmental hazards while on duty may be eligible for services.

Agent Orange Illnesses that effect Veteran's Kids

[Source: Extracted from Agent Orange Review, Vol. 19, No 2, Dated July 2003]

The following health conditions are presumed to be caused by Agent Orange. Vietnam veteran's children do not have to prove that their illness is related to their parent's military service, and may be able to get disability compensation.

1. Spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta): A neural tube birth defect that results from the failure of the bony portion of the spine to close properly in the developing fetus during early pregnancy.

2. Other birth defects identified by VA as being associated with the service of women Vietnam veterans, and that has resulted, or may result, in permanent physical or mental disability. However, the term does not include a condition due to a familial (this is, inherited) disorder; birth-related injury; or fetal or neonatal infirmity with other well-established causes.

Covered birth defects include, but are not limited to, the following conditions:

1) achondroplasia,
2) cleft lip and cleft palate,
3) congenital heart disease,
4) congenital talipes equinovarus (clubfoot),
5) esophageal and intestinal atresia,
6) Hallerman-Streiff syndrome,
7) hip dysplasia,
8) Hirschprung's disease (congenital megacolon),
9) hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis,
10) hypospadias,
11) imperforate anus,
12) neural tube defects,
13) Poland syndrome,
14) pyloric stenosis,
15) syndactyly (fused digits),
16) tracheoesophageal fistula,
17) undescended testicle, and
18) Williams syndrome.

** Not covered are conditions that are congenital malignant neoplasms, chromosomal disorders, or developmental disorders. In addition, conditions that do not result in permanent physical or mental disability are not covered birth defects. All birth defects that are not excluded under the language above are covered birth defects

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