Saturday, March 30, 2013

Vietnam Veterans of America Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee is asking the children of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange; adult children (we recommend you register your children also) who are ill and/or have birth defects, learning disabilities and/or mental health issues; to register with Birth Defect Research for Children, Inc. National Birth Defect Registry.
Participation in the registry includes:
  • The questionnaire will ask about you (the child) or your disabilities; health and family history of both parents; exposures during pregnancy and occupational exposures.
  • A special section will ask about the veteran’s service in Vietnam. This section was designed in collaboration with the New Jersey State Agent Orange Commission.
  • Collected data will be used for a study of the pattern of birth defects and disabilities that have been most frequently reported in the children of Vietnam veterans.
  • All data are confidential. Your permission would be requested before any researcher would get in touch with you.
For more information contact Betty Mekdeci, 407-895-0802 or send email to

Friday, March 29, 2013


Last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam 40 years ago today

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tell Your Congressman To Support Spina Bifida Action
This letter is for our Congressman to call on VA Secretary Shinseki to reign in the Purchased Care division of the VHA in Denver Regional Office.
We are working on a solution for Agent Orange children with birth defects. Our intent is to kick it off by calling on the VA to provide the care they are required to provide children with spina bifida. This includes “home care.”
We intend for our elected officials to sign this letter to ensure VA properly implement the law within the intent of Congress for spina bifida kids.

 Tell Congress that you support Ensuring Needed Health Care 

For Veterans' Children With  Spina Bifida

Five out of seven Vietnam War veterans’ children suffer from birth defects, including Spina Bifida. The VA ...

Birth Defect Research for Children videos

National Birth Defect Registry
Veterans’ Research
Parent Services
Healthy Baby Resource
Betty Mekdeci
Executive Director
Birth Defect Research for Children
976 Lake Baldwin Lane, Suite 104
Orlando FL 32814

Veterans diseases associated with Agent Orange
VA assumes that certain diseases can be related to a Veteran’s qualifying military service. We call these "presumptive diseases."
VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for disability compensation or survivors' benefits for these diseases.
  • AL Amyloidosis
    A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs
  • Chronic B-cell Leukemias
    A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
  • 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, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
  • 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
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
    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
  • Multiple Myeloma
    A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue
  • Parkinson’s Disease
    A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
  • Peripheral Neuropathy, Acute and Subacute
    A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Currently, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure and resolve within two years. VA proposed on Aug. 10, 2012, to replace "acute and subacute" with "early-onset" and eliminate the requirement that symptoms resolve within two years.
  • 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 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
  • Prostate Cancer
    Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men
  • Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
    Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas (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
  • Children with Birth Defects: VA presumes certain birth defects in children of Vietnam and Korea Veterans associated with Veterans' qualifying military service.
    Veterans with Lou Gehrig's Disease: VA presumes Lou Gehrig's Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) diagnosed in all Veterans who had 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service, although ALS is not related to Agent Orange exposure.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Agent Orange still haunts Iowa Vietnam vets

Veterans waiting longer for aid as health problems persist 

IOWA CITY — Unlike warmly welcomed veterans of earlier and later wars, Vietnam vets got the parting gift that keeps on giving: Agent Orange — a plant defoliant that mistakenly included the carcinogen dioxin.
Nearly 40 years after the war’s end, disability claims for often-deadly ailments caused by the ubiquitous toxic spray continue to mount, as do wait times for disposition of disability claims.
Though it would be difficult to confirm with government statistics, the number of veterans suffering Agent-Orange-related afflictions almost certainly exceeds the more than 358,000 U.S. military personnel killed or wounded in combat with the enemy during the Vietnam War.
“We track things by the condition itself, not by the cause of the condition,” said Randal Nollen, a spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.
“The number one population that we handle for disability claims is Vietnam veterans with Agent Orange-related ailments,” ahead of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Don Tyne, director of the Linn County Veterans Affairs Office.
During the past eight months, Tyne said his office has helped more than 1,000 Vietnam veterans apply for disability benefits.
Tyne said the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs has 7,000 pending disability claims, with an average wait for disposition of 18 months.
“This is the longest wait period since I’ve been here. Ten years ago it was 90 days,” Tyne said.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

‘Blue water’ Navy veterans’ long waits often end in denials at VA
Bob Bauman is waiting.
Bauman, of Baltimore, remembers the orange-striped barrels sitting on a pier off Subic Bay in the Philippines. He’s convinced that they were filled with Agent Orange that leaked into the water where he and his fellow sailors went swimming.
Now 65, Bauman has diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, colorectal cancer and essential tremor. He blames the orange-striped barrels, but he hasn’t received disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA grants benefits only to Agent Orange-exposed veterans who served on the ground or in the rivers of Vietnam. Bauman and his fellow sailors – known as blue water Navy veterans – served off the coast of Vietnam and aren’t covered.

The fight between veterans such as Bauman and the VA has resulted in a cycle of denied claims and a lack of benefits for the majority of blue water veterans that can stretch several years, advocates say. Legislation to extend compensation to these veterans was introduced in the House of Representatives in February, but getting it through will be difficult: Five previous attempts to secure benefits have been unsuccessful.
“Fixing the VA is going to take more than this bill,” said John Wells, the director of legal and legislative affairs for the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association. “Until the VA is purged of its bureaucratic resistance to facts, nothing’s going to get any better.”

Read more here:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur after single event


A few months ago I was in a serious car accident. Since then I've been incredibly jumpy and have trouble sleeping. My wife thinks I may have PTSD. Could she be right?


Post-traumatic stress disorder -- PTSD -- is a condition in which distressing symptoms occur after a major trauma. PTSD is often discussed in the context of troops who have served in war zones, but you don't have to see battle to get PTSD.
For example, one of my patients with PTSD, like you, was in a terrible auto accident as a young man. The accident, which broke many bones and caused him to be hospitalized for many weeks, occurred at a particular intersection not far from his home -- a drunk driver ran a red light.
For years afterward, every time he came near the intersection, his heart raced, he broke out in a sweat and he felt like he was going to die. Finally, he stopped driving anywhere near that intersection. But he still had bad dreams. Fortunately, with treatment his PTSD became much less of a problem.
About 10 years ago, though, just after he retired, the bad dreams came back. His explanation: "When I no longer had to worry about work, I was free to worry about other things." An aggressive schedule of church work, book clubs and travel helped beat back the PTSD.
A single crisis (such as a serious car accident) or a series of events -- as long as they are severe enough -- can cause PTSD. You could also have PTSD following:

-- airplane accidents;

-- physical assaults, robberies or kidnappings;

-- fires;

-- heart attacks and other major physical illnesses;

-- natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes.

It's normal to experience fear, shock, helplessness, stress and extreme sadness soon after a traumatic event. But if you're still experiencing these reactions more than one month after the event, that might indicate a problem. I've put a brief questionnaire on my website, Your responses to these questions might help you determine if you're suffering from PTSD.
When diagnosing PTSD, doctors often look for three things:
-- Hyperarousal. This is an ongoing state of tension that resembles a "fight or flight" response to danger. You may experience insomnia, angry outbursts, an exaggerated startle response and hypervigilance. Headaches, trembling, diarrhea and fatigue are common.
-- Avoidance. You may feel detached or numb. You may be unable to talk about the traumatic event or revisit the place where it occurred. PTSD patients also often withdraw from people and social events, particularly those even remotely associated with the trauma.
-- Re-experiencing. This is the worst symptom. You may have unwelcome and disruptive thoughts about the event that interfere with normal concentration and function. Recurrent nightmares are also quite typical. In extreme cases, you may mentally relive the traumatic experience.
Talk to your doctor. Whether or not you have PTSD, you clearly need support to recover from your experience. If it is PTSD, psychological support, drug therapy or a combination should help.

Dr. Komaroff is a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. To send questions, go to, or write: Ask Doctor K, 10 Shattuck St., Second Floor, Boston, MA 02115

Friday, March 22, 2013

Agent Orange still 'killing' Vietnam War veterans

Sen. Jerry Moran pins the Bronze Star on Patrick “Mike” Ramsey
in a ceremony at the Clay Center American Legion. 
Mar 21, 2013 (Menafn - Clay Center Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Vietnam veteran Patrick "Mike" Ramsey, who flew helicopters, said he is one of the "new victims" of the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War was one of the most controversial and longest wars in US history, Ramsey said, but yet Vietnam veterans were "chastised and humiliated" when they came home, Ramsey said. "We went to war as our fathers did, we raised our right hand for allegiance and defense of the Constitution," he said.
Ramsey told Lions Club members on Tuesday he is dying of Parkinson's Disease, a disease Veteran Affairs recognizes in veterans as associated with Agent Orange exposure during military service. An Institute of Medicine report released in 2009 found "suggestive but limited" evidence of an elevated risk for Parkinson's and heart disease for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the military during the war.
The US lost about 50,000 troops killed in combat Vietnam from 1961 to 1973, Ramsey said.
"Since that time we've lost 40,000 to 60,000 troops to Agent Orange," he said. "I'm a victim of Agent Orange, I'm dying from it. There's nothing I can do about it."
He said when Agent Orange was used in Vietnam, troops were told "it was perfectly safe."
Ramsey shared a video presentation of images from the Vietnam, with songs about the war.
About Agent Orange
"Agent Orange" is actually code names for two herbicide that were used -- Herbicide Orange (HO) and Agent LNX, among the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its chemical warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971.
Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of its use, according to a 2008 report by The Globe. The Red Cross of Vietnam estimates that up to 1 million people are disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange, according to a 2012 report by CCN.
A 50:50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, it was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical.
The 2,4,5-T used to produce Agent Orange was later discovered to be contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), an extremely toxic dioxin compound.
___ (c)2013 the Clay Center Dispatch (Clay Center, Kan.) Visit the Clay Center
Dispatch (Clay Center, Kan.) at

Thursday, March 21, 2013

US Government released “Investigations into Allegations of Herbicide Orange on Okinawa, Japan”
At the request of journalists, on March 9, the US Government released a report “Investigations into Allegations of Herbicide Orange on Okinawa, Japan” (embedded below) about which Jon Mitchell wrote in The Japan Times on February 15  It appears that the US Government wants to bring a closure to the issues of Agent Orange on Okinawa by providing the report, together with the Japanese Government. 
The report concludes that “there were no documents found that validated the allegations that Herbicide Orange was involved in any of these events, nor were there records to validate that Herbicide Orange was shipped to or through, unloaded, used or buried on Okinawa”.

According to the author of the report, Dr. Alvin Yong it took 9 months to carry out the investigation through “an in-depth search of historical records and information”.  However, the report is only 29 pages long. No interview with veterans who bravely testified about their exposure to Agent Orange during their service on Okinawa was conduced for the investigation.

The report also casts doubt on whether the Japanese Government honestly requested the US Government to carry out a thorough investigation with its aim of seeking the truth.
Local people have already taken action. Dr. Masami Kawamura, Director, Environmental Policy and Justice of Citizens’ Network for Biodiversity in Okinawa (Okinawa BD), has submitted a petition to the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, requesting the prefecture to examine and analyze the report for themselves.  Okinawa BD itself has started reviewing the report and has been convinced that this report is one more reason why the investigation on the issues of Agent Orange on Okinawa must go on.

Project Report # 5 - Danang Airport Remediation - February, 2013
from Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk

Agent Orange resolution passes Senate committee
The SCR 17 resolution from state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, asks the U.S. Congress to broaden recognition of effects of the herbicide called Agent Orange to veterans on the inland waterways, in the territorial waters and in the airspace of Vietnam, and to civilians exposed at workplaces.
Steve Maher has fought to have the connection recognized since the death of his father, who serviced Vietnam War helicopters at the Corpus Christi Army Depot, Maher was expected to testify but did not and couldn’t be reached for comment after the hearing.
Robert Floyd, chairman of the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument committee, testified and said he didn’t know whether his fight with cancer and the death of one of his children was connected to exposure to Agent Orange.
Still, he said the chemical “has left a terrible legacy.” 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Town hall meeting about Agent Orange discusses genetic legacy of chemical
FAYETTEVILLE - About 180 people attended a town hall meeting in Fayetteville about Agent Orange and how it effects not only veterans, but their children and grandchildren.
"Agent orange is probably one of the most toxic chemicals that exists," explained Mokie Porter of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). "Its health impact on the veterans and their families is tremendous."
Porter said VVA is hosting town hall meetings across the country to spread this message. "We're trying to do this in an effort to get a grassroots movement to get our government to take action and provide assistance, medical care, research and treatment for these children - some of whom are now adults - and their children and their children's children."
Vice President of VVA Fred Elliott said he believes his grandson's Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, is associated with Elliott's exposure to Agent Orange. "It upsets me greatly that I am in some way responsible for my grandson's condition because I was exposed to these substances without knowing what the health effects would be," he said.
Porter said many Vietnam veterans do not realize the health issues they and their families may face could be related to Agent Orange. Vietnam Veteran Terry Copenhaver of Fayetteville agrees. "I worked all my life and then all of a sudden, I got sick," he said. "I'm not blaming it on Agent Orange, but most likely that's a lot of the contributing factor now."
Vietnam-era Veteran Stephen House said Agent Orange is not a dead issue. He said the government needs to accept this and expand treatment to those affected by the chemical. "There is no reversal for dioxins," he explained. "They can't incinerate it, they can't dump it at sea. And it's going to come back to haunt {the government} and they know it."


Agent Orange Education Campaign

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Our latest video: What do you know about Agent Orange?

Vietnam: The Secret Agent: Award Winning Documentary about Agent Orange

VVA Self-Help Guide to Service-Connected Disability Compensation for Exposure to
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The Faces of Agent Orange Stories

Maine Army Guard troops haunted by Agent Orange

Soldiers who trained at a Canadian base blame their lasting health problems on exposure to herbicides. 
WASHINGTON - Two weeks a year for six years, Carroll Jandreau stepped away from life in far northern Maine to dig, crawl and sleep in the dirt of a massive military training base in neighboring Canada.
"When we would go there, they would say, 'Make sure not to bathe in the pools of water, not to drink the water and not to eat the vegetation,"' Jandreau said. "But we couldn't eat the vegetation because the leaves were all brown and crisp."
Jandreau, a member of the Maine Army National Guard, would learn decades later why the grass and shrubs covering the training grounds at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown appeared burnt.


Sampling expected to yield answers on Budd Inlet dioxin levels
Some time this summer, we should have a detailed picture of dioxin contamination in the lower Budd Inlet marine sediments.
Part of me wants to say: “What’s taken so long?” Widespread dioxin contamination was first discovered on the Olympia waterfront a full six years ago during sediment sampling conducted by the Port of Olympia in advance of a scheduled dredging project for the navigation channel and marine terminal shipping berths at the port docks.
Another part of me wants to say: “Finally, some progress toward the eventual cleanup of dioxin-tainted sediments.”
Read more here:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Support Care and Medical Treatment for the Children of Vietnam Veterans

To: United States Veterans Administration

Since 1991, Birth Defect Research for Children has received calls from thousands of Vietnam veterans who have children with birth defects and other disabilities.“Ilost my husband from a cancerous brain tumor 13 months ago. My son has many disabilities, including Tourette’s syndrome, mental...
If 2,000 of us get 10 friends to sign, we'll reach our goal of 25,000. 
Birth Defect Research for Children wants you to join us in raising public awareness about the continuing effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam Veterans' children! There is power in numbers. The more signatures we receive, the more our voices will be heard. Signing this petition will help thousands of Vietnam Veterans' children that are in dire need of specific medical treatment related to Agent Orange exposure. Be a supporter and sign the petition on the behalf of ALL veterans!

National Resource Directory

The National Resource Directory ( is a federal government website that connects wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, families and caregivers to thousands of services and programs at the national, state and local levels that support them during recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. Visitors to the website can find information on topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder, military and Veterans’ benefits, health care, educational opportunities, homeless assistance, employment and much more.

Throughout the past few months, more than 60 new resources have been added to the NRD, bringing the total number of resources that can be accessed from the site to nearly 15,000.

Bulletins will be distributed as new content is added and will correspond to the major subject areas on the NRD. You can subscribe to any or all of the following subject area(s) to receive updates about:

  • All Subjects

As you are using the NRD if you do not see your favorite resource request to have it added by using the Suggest a Resource page. Before being listed on the NRD, all suggested resources are validated to ensure they meet the criteria outlined in the NRD Participation Policy.
We appreciate your continued support of the NRD, and we hope these new features will help you stay connected as we all work together to improve the lives of our wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, military families and caregivers. If you have any questions about these new bulletins or about any other feature of the NRD, please contact us at

Report says NC base toxic water may date to 1948
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Drinking water contamination at North Carolina's sprawling Camp Lejeune military base could date to 1948, five years earlier than researchers had reported previously, a federal report indicates.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry plans to release a report Friday on the contamination that has led to a long-running dispute between former residents and the Marines Corps.
TCE, an industrial solvent now known as a human carcinogen, likely first exceeded the maximum contaminant level in August 1953, but evidence shows its presence in the water supply might date as far back as November 1948, the report states. A copy of the report was obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
"Basically, it's vindication and confirmation for what I've been saying for nearly 16 years," said retired Marine Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, a leader in a protracted fight for information about the contamination. "The truth is finally coming out."
Ensminger blames the contamination for the leukemia that killed his 9-year-old daughter, Janey, in 1985. Marines and family members have blamed the contamination for many kinds of cancers, including breast cancer in men and women, bladder cancer and liver cancer.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Has Binghamton’s water already been affected by Fracking?

People in NY think they are safe from the harms of fracking. But are they?
My friend Bret Jennings is a councilor for Great Bend Borough, PA.
(Contact: Bret Jennings )

He recently told me that some residents on private wells have had their water turn black. Fracking operations are going on ~4000 feet away.
 ...Massive wide-spread defoliation with undisclosed industrial chemicals . . . does that sound familiar ? It does if you are of a certain age. That’s what the US Army did to the Vietnamese and our own soldiers in Viet Nam: poisoned them with herbicides that just happened to have some rather nasty side effects on people. Do yourself a favor and don’t read up on what Agent Orange did to the unborn. Think Thalidomide. Which, for all we know, could be an ingredient in frack water. Something really nasty is for damn sure in the stuff: ...
This is a serious problem because these people are on city sewer, but may get cut off, as the chemicals in frack fluids destroy the beneficial bacteria necessary for sewer plants to operate.
I note the the water from Great Bend flows towards NY and Binghamton. Also, I note the City of Binghamton (as Bret tells me) has at least one water source which draws directly from the Susquehanna.
So I started wondering, how many fracked wells exist now in the watershed with drains into the Susquehanna and ultimately provides Binghamton’s water?

Dioxin checks - BEC offers blood tests for POPI neighbors

The Butte Environmental Council (Butte County California) has received $11,000 in two grants that it will use to give blood tests to five people who lived close to the Covanta-owned cogeneration plant Pacific Oroville Power Inc.

The ash from the plant, which created energy by burning wood as well as ag and “urban” waste, tested high in dioxins. There is concern that the exhaust from the burners may have contaminated the air for those who lived close to the plant.

BEC’s Mark Stemen said the organization is still figuring out how to offer the tests to those who may be affected. The tests will be analyzed by a lab in Germany, Stemen said. The grants came from the Patagonia outdoor clothing company and Clif Bar organic food makers. Both companies’ websites mention their respective environmental activism.

VVA town meeting on generational effects of Agent Orange/Dioxin

West Virginia State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America will hold a town hall meeting to address the birth defects, diseases and learning disabilities affecting children and grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans. The forum will be Sunday, March 17, 2 p.m. at the Fayetteville Memorial Building.
“We cannot be silent about the effects of our battlefield exposures on our children in the face of overwhelming evidence connecting many diseases and birth defects to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam,” said Bill McDonald, Agent Orange Chair for the West Virginia State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America.
“We encourage all Veterans with children and/or grandchildren suffering from illnesses, learning disabilities or physical disabilities to come share their stories. We will explore issues surrounding Agent Orange exposure, including scientific information, health effects and methods for educating the public and elected representatives about the issues of Vietnam Veterans, their children and their families,” McDonald said.

The goal of the town meeting is to bring attention to the hidden cost of our service and to encourage the government to create and maintain a registry of these birth defects, as well as assist our doctors in finding ways to diagnose and treat these birth defects. Veterans of all wars are subject to many contaminates and most were not aware of what was being used or what effects most would have on their health.
“Our children are innocent victims of our war and need the help of our government to cope with these problems. We worry, who will be there to take care of them when we are gone?” McDonald said.
In keeping with the VVA founding principle, “Never again will one generation of Veterans abandon another.”
For local information contact Dave Simmons or Connie Jones at

Friday, March 8, 2013

Birth Defect Research for Children videos

National Birth Defect Registry
Veterans’ Research
Parent Services
Healthy Baby Resource
Betty Mekdeci
Executive Director
Birth Defect Research for Children
976 Lake Baldwin Lane, Suite 104
Orlando FL 32814

Thursday, March 7, 2013

San Bernardino Veterans Affairs office seeks Agent Orange beneficiaries

The San Bernardino County Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to find Vietnam veterans and their survivors who are unaware they are eligible for benefits related to Agent Orange exposure.
In 2010, the U.S. government began paying benefits to Vietnam veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange and later developed certain heart ailments, B-cell leukemia and Parkinson’s disease, said Bill Moseley, director of the county’s veterans’ services office.
But he isn’t sure everyone got the word. He is particularly concerned about veterans who may have died from heart attacks before those changes were made. His office sent out a notice encouraging any Vietnam veterans who had ischemic heart disease — hardening of the arteries — or their survivors to inquire about possible benefits.
“My concern is if a veteran died from a heart attack 10 years ago, the widow may not be aware that she is entitled to survivor benefits,” Moseley said. “My heart tells me that there are some widows out there.”
The outreach is not part of a coordinated effort with other agencies, he said. It’s just something that has been nagging him for awhile, so he decided to put the word out.
Surviving veterans could be eligible for disability payments, he said. The payments would vary depending upon the severity of the illness.
Benefits for survivors are fixed, Moseley said. Widows or widowers of service members would receive $1,215 per month. Surviving dependent children are eligible for $301 per month. Survivors also might qualify for education benefits.
If a surviving family member applied for benefits before the federal VA recognized that Agent Orange exposure could have contributed to heart disease, and was denied, they may qualify for benefits retroactive to that filing date, Moseley said.
He said the heart-related benefits are specific to ischemic heart disease. Ailments such as hypertension, peripheral vascular disease and stroke are not eligible.
Those interested should call 909-387-5516 or 866-472-8387.
Moseley said he wants to spur some interest.
“I’m hoping we get a tidal wave, frankly.”

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Herbicide Tests and Storage in the U.S.

Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam were tested or stored elsewhere, including many military bases in the United States. Below is information from the Department of Defense (DoD) on projects to test, dispose of, or store herbicides in the U.S. For projects outside the U.S., go to Herbicide Tests and Storage Outside the U.S.
View all as PDF: Herbicide Tests and Storage Outside of Vietnam