(U.S. Senate) – Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are urging VA Secretary David Shulkin to expand the agency’s list of medical conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange.
In March 2016, the National Academy of Medicine recommended that the VA expand its list of medical conditions that are associated with presumed exposure to Agent Orange. The VA has yet to respond to its recommendations to include bladder cancer, hyperthyroidism and Parkinson-like conditions.
“The veterans suffering from these conditions are still in urgent need of critical health care and other benefits,” the Senators wrote. “The care owed to our servicemembers should not be delayed and denied any longer. They fought for our country, were exposed to a toxic chemical while carrying out their daily duties, and in return, we are failing to provide medical care and disability compensation.”
Under the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the VA was required to implement recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine within 60 days. While that law has expired, the VA has delayed its response several times over the course of the last 19 months.
Veterans who served in Vietnam are presumed to have been exposed to toxic chemicals like Agent Orange. The VA considers a number of medical conditions to have direct relation to a veteran’s presumed exposure to toxic chemicals and provides these veterans with health care and disability benefits.
The Senators’ letter can be found online HERE.