One in six federal disability checks covers Agent Orange-related health damage among veterans
Thousands of military veterans will soon divvy up a ten-year
installment of about $47.5 million in disability benefits recently
awarded by the federal government as compensation for harm caused by
exposure to Monsanto’s Agent Orange herbicide.
As many as 2,100 Air Force reservists and active-duty forces who
sprayed the toxic herbicide during the Vietnam War will have access to
the benefits, which are meant to cover health damage caused by exposure
to Agent Orange residue on Fairchild C-123 aircraft flown over Southeast
Asia between 1969 and 1986.
The award is long overdue, especially as the federal government has
insisted for many years that residues of Agent Orange couldn’t possibly
be responsible for the various cancers, diabetes and leukemia suffered
by thousands of former military men and women who handled the chemical
at the bidding of the U.S. government.
Since June 19, eligible servicemen have been able to file for Agent
Orange-related disability benefits, including survivor benefits and
ongoing medical care. Any veteran who can prove that he or she worked on
a contaminated plane and developed one or more of 14 qualifying medical
conditions as a result, including prostate cancer, diabetes, and
leukemia, is eligible for payment.
“Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force
veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,” announced Bob
McDonald, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in a
Although they are reluctant to admit that Agent Orange was in any way
responsible for harming American military servicemen during the Vietnam
War, the federal government has been quietly paying out benefits to
thousands of them for years. The White House Office of Management and
Budget, which approved the new disability benefits, admits that one in six disability checks issued by the VA is for Agent Orange-related health damage.
This is striking in light of the fact that this same federal
government, through its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arm,
recently approved Dow Chemical’s “Enlist Duo” herbicide, which contains
an Agent Orange component
known as 2,4-D. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC),
a division of the World Health Organization (WHO), recently announced
that 2,4-D is a “possible human carcinogen,” along with Monsanto’s
glyphosate (Roundup) herbicide.