Agent Orange and other herbicides were used widely in Vietnam. Vietnam vets have complained often about the symptoms of exposure to these herbicides.

With federal legislation in 1991, the Department of Veterans Affairs has recognized certain diseases suffered by Vietnam veterans could have a direct relationship to dioxin exposure. That includes ischemic heart disease, adult onset diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, Hodgkins and non-Hodgkins Lymphomas and a number of types of leukemia and cancer, among other ailments.

But what about their children? Some have had health problems that could also be connected to their parents’ exposure to Agent Orange, including spina bifida, cleft lip and palate, webbed fingers and fused toes and some genital deformities.

A bill to fund research has been proposed to handle this legacy but with only two co-sponsors, there isn’t much chance to get it passed. It would pay for services if the bill passes. Support needs to come from proposed town meetings. Support may come from town-hall meetings.

Many Vietnam veterans were disengaged from the VA after returning home from the war, Porter said. While Many Vietnam veterans were exposed to Agent Orange but don’t their children could have been affected. Advocates urge veterans to file claims for compensation, even if a child’s problem has not yet established it is connected to Agent Orange exposure.

As scientific evidence accumulates, the VA has continues to add to the list of illnesses related to Agent Orange. If an award comes vets urge these children and grandchildren should receive some benefit.

Many vets feel mistreated by the VA system and never sought further help from the VA. With the recent exposure of intentional mishandling of health problems vets sought in Phoenix, and other cities now in the news, this issue will not go away and should open the door to a remedy.

Daniel C. Lavery (website)


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