Sunday, September 22, 2013

Forgotten Victims of Agent Orange: Vietnamese-Americans
U.S. military veterans who fought in Vietnam decades ago are entitled today to government-paid disability benefits and health care if they suffer from exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide widely used during the conflict.
But the same coverage is not available to the Vietnamese enduring the same effects from Agent Orange after fighting alongside American soldiers, and who later immigrated to the U.S.
One study published 10 years ago estimated that as many as 4.8 million Vietnamese civilians were exposed to herbicides used to destroy the country’s jungles. Many of those Vietnamese fled their homeland after the U.S. pulled out, and settled in California.
Vietnamese-Americans in California, in fact, have been found to suffer higher rates than other Asians when it comes to cancer and other health problems linked to Agent Orange exposure.
For example, Vietnamese men had among the highest incidence of all cancers combined, at just over 375 new cases annually per 100,000 population.
Vietnamese women had the highest rate of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the highest death rate for this cancer.
Those who fought in the Vietnam War from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and South Korea have received Agent Orange disability benefits through their governments. In the U.S. alone, the Department of Veterans Affairs has allocated billions of dollars to cover disability benefits related to herbicide exposure.


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