Many vets unaware of compensation for Agent Orange-related disabilities

By Tammy Walters
Oneida County Veterans Service Officer

Agent Orange is the name given to a blend of herbicides the U.S. military sprayed from 1961 to 1971 to remove plants and leaves from foliage in Vietnam that provided enemy cover. Agent Orange itself is not a disability and cannot be claimed as one but it can cause disabilities.

Veterans may be eligible for service-connected disability compensation for diseases the VA has recognized as associated with exposure to Agent Orange if they served in Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962–May 7, 1975; veterans who served in certain areas in Thailand between Feb. 28, 1961–May 7, 1975; veterans who served in or near the DMZ in Korea between 1968-1969, and “brown water” Navy veterans may also be eligible.

The presumed disabilities are:

•Acute and Sub-acute Peripheral Neuropathy
•B-Cell Leukemia
•Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
•Hodgkin’s disease
•Multiple Myeloma
•Parkinson’s disease
•Prostate cancer
•Soft-tissue sarcoma
•AL Amyloidosis
•Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2)
•Ischemic heart disease
•Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
•Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
•Respiratory cancers

Additionally, any secondary conditions that are caused by one of the aforementioned conditions can also be claimed as service-connected disabilities. For example, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 is a condition that has many other conditions attributed to it such as strokes, kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy, peripheral neuropathy, and erectile dysfunction. In order to claim these secondary conditions, they must be noted in your medical record and they must be diagnosed at the same time as diabetes or after that diagnosis.

There are still many Vietnam veterans who do not know this information. If you are a Vietnam veteran or know one who might have any of the above conditions, please share this information. It’s never too late to file a claim for a presumed disability.

If you are a widow of a Vietnam veteran who died of any of the conditions listed above, there may be survivor benefits for you even if the veteran wasn’t service connected at the time of his death. If in doubt, please call our office.

Tammy Walters can be reached at (715) 369-6127 or Jason Dailey, Assistant CVSO, can be reached at the same number or Or you can contact us via Facebook at


Editorial: Agent Orange still poisons many Vietnam War veterans

For many Americans, the enduring memory of the Vietnam War is of the protests that defined a generation and shattered the illusion of America’s purity on the world stage. But for the 3 million men and women who served in Southeast Asia in the 1960s and early 1970s, the memories are more visceral: the fog of combat, the stench of death, the sting of returning to a seemingly ungrateful nation.

For some veterans, there’s something else, and it’s no memory. Exposed to the toxin-laced Agent Orange a half-century ago, they are now suffering long-term effects including heart disease, Parkinson’s, type II diabetes, immune system disruption, and a variety of potentially lethal cancers. The time has come for them to get the moral and financial support that are our nation’s debt.

Robert Schmid of Leverett is one of those Vietnam vets. Schmid was a soldier on the ground when planes overhead showered down herbicide to kill jungle foliage and reveal enemy troops. Amid the gunfire, he paid it little heed. “There is so much activity,” he told reporter Lisa Spear, “that it is just another thing happening.”

Now 72, Schmid has suffered a heart attack and attributes his coronary heart disease to his time in-country. Donald F. Moulton, another Vietnam veteran, suffers from an aggressive form of leukemia. He told fellow veteran John Paradis that he was exposed to Agent Orange while a Navy Seabee clearing vegetation to build bases, hospitals and schools.

“We weren’t even using the words Agent Orange then and we just took it for granted,” Moulton said. “I can tell you this, we weren’t pulling any weeds over there — that stuff pretty much took care of everything.”

And no wonder. Agent Orange contained toxins including the now-infamous dioxin, and the U.S. military sprayed close to 11 million gallons of it in Vietnam. In the decades since, scientists have concluded beyond a doubt that the herbicide is to blame for health problems including the ones suffered by Schmid and Moulton — and the government has begun paying benefits to veterans who grapple with those issues.

Veterans collect monthly benefits ranging from modest to more substantial; veterans interviewed by Spear reported payments between $300 and $3,000 a month, depending on their debilitation. But many of those afflicted don’t know that they and their spouses are entitled to the help, despite the pain and expense associated with long-term ailments.

Too many veterans remain unaware of the benefits they might collect, says Timothy Niejadlik, director of the Upper Pioneer Valley Veterans’ Services office in Greenfield. To help spread the word, his organization recently held a town hall meeting at Greenfield Community College to provide information, health screenings and help in filing claims.

“A lot of these diseases are equated to age, so (veterans) are just thinking that it’s part of their natural aging process,” said Niejadlik.

Says Schmid: “There are a lot of vets who don’t take advantage; either they don’t know about it or they are shy about asking for it — and I was like that, too.”

Happily, Schmid did ask and now receives a $300 monthly benefit that not only helps with his health-related expenses but also signals a recognition — long overdue — of the sacrifices he made in that distant land. Other vets deserve that same recognition and our nation’s thanks.


Monsanto and Bayer’s Chemical Romance: Heroin, Nerve Gas and Agent Orange

The proposed remarriage of two agrochemical giants with dark histories promises more bad things.

Fifty years ago, the Monsanto and Bayer corporations were forced to separate in order to avoid violating basic antitrust regulations. U.S. courts declared that the two chemical giants, when operating together under the name Mobay, stymied market competition and comprised a monopoly that could not stand.

But that was then. Today, under a much different regulatory climate that all but rubberstamps such corporate monopolies, the Germany-based Bayer’s $66 billion offer to purchase Monsanto is being fast-tracked by U.S. regulators. The proposed mega-merger, or re-marriage, will result in nearly 30 percent of all worldwide pesticide and seed sales being controlled by the new partnership.


VA Faces Tough Decisions About Agent Orange Benefits for Vietnam Veterans

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 7, 2017 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must tackle a long list of decisions about the effects of Agent Orange and veterans’ eligibility for benefits. A key issue is whether the department will add new conditions to its list of diseases and health problems presumed to be linked to the pesticide.

Agent Orange was sprayed to destroy vegetation used as cover by Vietnamese troops during the Vietnam War. ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot have joined forces to investigate the toxic chemical’s effects on Vietnam veterans and their families, as well as their struggles to obtain VA benefits.

“Rather than waiting for the problem to simply disappear, the VA should pay close attention to the vast research that has been conducted about the devastating effects of Agent Orange,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans attorney. “It is likely that the exposure could have also impacted the descendants of service members. Seeking benefits from the VA should not be this difficult for affected veterans and their families.”

Many Vietnam veterans are fighting the VA for compensation for medical conditions believed to be linked to Agent Orange exposure. However, proving exposure and harm has been challenging for veterans and their widows. Many widows do not have access to their husbands’ full service histories or experience dealing with the VA.

Currently, a veteran can gain eligibility for VA disability payments by proving their service in Vietnam and showing they have one of the 14 ailments linked to Agent Orange exposure, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. In March 2016, a panel of federal researchers claimed there is enough evidence to connect Agent Orange exposure to several conditions not on the VA’s list. These include hypothyroidism, stroke, bladder cancer, hypertension and other Parkinson’s Disease-like neurological diseases.

However, the VA may be reluctant to include the additional illnesses to its list of Agent Orange exposure-related medical conditions due to the potential expenses involved. For example, the chances of hypertension increase with age, and anyone with the ailment who entered Vietnam could become eligible for VA benefits.


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New data suggest Agent Orange causing horrific third generation birth defects Vietnam vets are passing to their grandkids

What’s the “Agent Orange curse?” 

True story: As veterans of the Vietnam war die off from cancer and other diseases and disorders they got from the incredibly toxic defoliant Agent Orange, the nightmare is not over, because research is revealing their children and grandchildren, who were never exposed to the pesticide, have birth defects that were passed on through their parents and grandparent’s affected genes. That’s the Agent Orange curse, and it can cause much more detriment than cancer, as if that weren’t enough, including heart disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, spinal problems, autism, and birth defects like missing limbs, extra limbs, malformed limbs, speech difficulties, cleft lip palate, crooked fingers and webbed toes. Sadly, the US government is trying to cover it all up, waiting for the vets to die off, thinking the whole chronic nightmare will fade away, but it’s not fading at all.

Vietnam vets believe billions of dollars lie at the heart of why their claims have gone unexamined by the US government and Veterans Affairs

First of all, compensating veterans for all their health problems inflicted by the haphazard spreading of and treading through toxic pesticides in Vietnam costs tens of billions of dollars a year, but now we’re talking about compensating the vets’ kids and grandkids, who are grown up or growing up with horrific medical conditions that aren’t going away or getting any better. If the link between Agent Orange and their children’s conditions is proven by science, we’re talking billions more.

How does the VA ignore all these legitimate claims? Answer: the nefarious “Dr. Orange”

For decades now, the VA and the military have relied on one chemical-industry shill’s assessment of whether Agent Orange caused health detriment to our veterans. A man by the name of Alvin L. Young headed up a government sanctioned plan to destroy evidence of any connection between aircrafts that spread agent orange and veteran’s sicknesses, and to ward off journalists that ask questions through their investigations.

Young functions as a “consultant” and an “expert” on herbicides who guides the stance of the military and U.S. Department of Veterans in their mass denial of benefits and compensation to the thousands of suffering soldiers, and now their children and grandchildren too. Agent Orange herbicides were so destructive they could burn down brush and foliage where the enemy was hiding, and the U.S. even dumped the poison into rivers, streams, and waterways to infect the food and drinking water, knowing good and well the toxic effects of the orange nightmare that contains the lethal chemical dioxin. Young, nicknamed by Vietnam veterans as “Dr. Orange,” even developed a plan to destroy Agent Orange a decade later.

Young’s claim for decades? Few veterans were exposed and the doses were too small to harm them. He has said on record that some vets are just “freeloaders” who are making up ailments to “cash in” on the VA’s compensation program. The VA repeatedly cites Young’s work as if it is the “be-all end-all” scientific conclusion to every case brought to them, saving the government millions, if not billions of dollars, while all these soldiers, their kids, and their grandkids suffer and go broke trying to pay their medical care bills.

Now, frustrated veterans, top government officials and respected scientists contend that Young’s self-labeled “investigations” are without merit, omit key facts, and worse yet, were funded by none other than Monsanto Co. and Dow Chemical Co.–the actual manufacturers of agent orange. Alvin Young is nothing more than a huckster and a shill who’s regurgitating research lies to save corporations from getting sued. Even prominent experts on dioxin from NIH say his talk about dioxin is “in no way accurate.” Young is not even qualified to make conclusions about human health effects.

An emeritus professor at Columbia University and an Agent Orange researcher says Young and the VA repeatedly clash with any concerted effort to study health effects from agent orange exposure and they even try to keep studies from being conducted, and have been doing so ever since the sick and dying soldiers returned from the Vietnam War. The “color orange” runs through the veins of Vietnam Vets like poison. Veterans now believe that the birth defects can even skip a generation, passing over their children but then affecting their grandchildren.

Now, here comes the rub: What pesticide ingredients do you think are in conventional food today?

GMO food delivers a small amount of Agent Orange ingredients into your blood and mutates your cells over time. How long that mutation of cells takes to overwhelm one of your vital organs, or strangulate your lungs or your brain is just a matter of how much of it you eat, how often, and for how long. Glyphosate is now regularly sprayed on conventional crops like wheat and sugar cane as a drying agent. Glyphosate, which makes up about 50% of the Roundup herbicide, has been proven through vigorous laboratory research to cause horrific tumors and other cancers in laboratory animals.

Most genetically engineered foods like corn, soy, and canola contain some of the same herbicide ingredients as agent orange, namely glyphosate and dioxin. Do you and your children eat “agent orange” corn and soy? These popular GM foods are made and sprayed by Monsanto and Dow Chemical, don’t you know?

 Plenty of LINKS here


COEUR d’ALENE — The effects of war are far and wide. For veterans, that includes PTSD, depression, unemployment, and homelessness to name a few.

But one lasting effect is not so well-known, because, according to Richard Phenneger, the government doesn’t want it to be known.

Agent Orange, a dioxin chemical used in the Vietnam War, has been linked to the deformation of the children and grandchildren of those exposed to it.

“Our government has refused to acknowledge studies by independent scientists that say this is a problem,” Phenneger said. “Once someone is exposed to Agent Orange, there’s a very good chance it attaches to the DNA, which is then passed on to future generations.”

During North Idaho College’s recent Veterans Appreciation Week, Phenneger gave a presentation about his nonprofit, Orange Heart, and how Agent Orange affects Vietnam veterans and their families.

Phenneger, the founder and president of Veteran Services Transparency, told how he stumbled upon a study about the adverse effects of Agent Orange while he was doing another study about veterans coming back from the Gulf War.

The study he found struck a nerve in him, so he decided to do more digging. He said he found evidence the U.S. government knew that Agent Orange was harmful to humans and decided to spray it in Vietnam anyway.

To get an idea of how many veterans and veteran families Agent Orange affected, he conducted a survey with the help of some researchers who found his cause worthwhile.

Of the 119 Vietnam War veterans in Kootenai County that took Phenneger’s survey, 20 percent had deformed children.

“You’d be surprised at the emotion that came out of that,” Phenneger said. “It took me a while to absorb it.”

During the presentation, Veteran Services Transparency board member Amina Fields spoke about her experiences regarding the issue.

The Vietnam refugee and American veteran echoed the idea that more studies need to be done regarding the effects of Agent Orange. She said the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs does give out compensation for certain disabilities and health issues suffered by veterans and their families because of Agent Orange, but only for certain types of disabilities.

“We believe there are more disabilities and health issues than identified by the VA,” she said. “UNICEF did a study in 2008 that found that out of the 30.5 million children under 18 in Vietnam, 1.2 million have disabilities, and that is considered a disproportionately large amount.”

Lori Adler, a student at the Lewis Clark State College satellite campus and volunteer with the NIC Veterans Resource Center, attended the presentation and was surprised at how big of an issue Agent Orange still is.

“I came to get more education and I have a friend who served in Vietnam who is affected by Agent Orange,” she said. “I’ve been planning on talking with a senator, and now that I have found this horrific information, I’m going to bring this to him and hopefully get a change.”

Moving forward, Orange Heart and Veteran Services Transparency’s goals are to continue to bring awareness to what has been happening and continue researching.

The group wants to raise money to conduct surveys in Vietnam to show the effects of Agent Orange there, where more people were exposed to it. Phenneger guesses the organization will need to raise about $10 million to do this.

“I am confident we will be able to fix the problem,” he said.

Vietnam veterans speak about effects of Agent Orange

KENILWORTH, NJ — The New Jersey State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America met on Sunday, Sept. 18 at Kenilworth Veterans Center to raise awareness about the long-lasting impact of toxic exposure. The focus was on the effects that chemicals have had on veterans’ offspring and the illnesses and defects that many have endured. This was the sixth meeting held concentrating on this topic.

This presentation was called “The Faces of Agent Orange and Our Toxicity Legacy.” Members of Vietnam Veterans of America spoke about their experiences during a panel discussion, which included a question and answer session. An introduction was given by past State Council President of Vietnam Veterans of America John LeGates.

“The VA stands for ‘Veteran’s Adversary,’” LeGates said. “They’re not your friend.”

Veterans have submitted claims reporting medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer, all which can be traced to exposure to dioxins, particularly Agent Orange. Many claims are completely dismissed. However, the effects of this chemical continue to affect generations even today.

“Herbicide orange is used by the United States military as part of the herbicidal warfare program,” Dioxin Committee Chairman Mike Eckstein told LocalSource. “The United States sprayed 20 million-plus gallons of herbicides and dioxins during Vietnam.”

A veteran from Pennsylvania spoke about his experience with cancer that resulted from exposure to the toxin. When his left leg swelled twice its normal size, his doctor discovered that he had a tumor in his abdomen. There was no genetic predisposition to cancer in his family, and the only cause found was exposure to Agent Orange. His daughter is afraid to marry and have a family due to the fear that this chemical will have an impact on her unborn fetus. The veteran’s grandson was born with attention deficit disorder and anger management issues. The VVA’s goal is to pass a bill that would ban the government from using this lethal chemical.

“The chemical was sprayed along mangroves to open the field of fire in order to discover where the enemy was hiding,” Eckstein told LocalSource.

Paul Sutton, of the Dioxin Committee, further explained the history of Agent Orange. It was invented in 1922 and sprayed on the ground and in the air from 1961 to1971. Three billion veterans in Vietnam were exposed to it, as well as the civilian population.

“The chemical was tested between 1940 to 1960,” Sutton said. “The government wanted a certain amount of it sprayed in San Francisco and heated up the process to meet the requirements. This was when the chemical became its most lethal. People could be exposed just by spending time in an area where it was once sprayed. Twelve to fourteen different dioxins can be found in industrial areas such as New Jersey. Years after being exposed, it can still be detected in the blood stream.”

Sutton conducted a question-and-answer session, which included questions about the Blue Water Navy and their exposure to the chemical. There was also information given about how to submit a claim regarding medical issues related to exposure.

“It’s important to make sure that anyone who sees a doctor for an illness related to exposure of this dioxin tell the doctor to make note of it,” said State Service Officer Margaret Wojciechowicz. “This note can then be submitted to the government by a state service officer such as myself,”