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.

LEARN MORE:
http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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

Three Agent Orange diseases under review for presumptive status

The Veterans Affairs Department is weighing whether to add several diseases to the list of health conditions presumed in Vietnam veterans to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

A VA working group is studying a report issued in March by the Institute of Medicine to determine whether bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson’s-like symptoms illnesses the IOM said may be more strongly linked to exposure than previously thought should automatically make a Vietnam veteran eligible for VA disability benefits and health care.

According to Dr. Ralph Erickson, VA’s chief consultant for post-deployment health services, the group will make  recommendations to VA Secretary Robert McDonald on whether the diseases should be added to a list of 15 already in place.

“We are in the midst of a deliberative process, carefully looking at all the IOM committee put in the report and additional information that has come out since,” Erickson said. “We will be putting tougher a VA response that will be brought before senior leaders and ultimately brought before the secretary.” The process could take up to two years, a VA spokeswoman added.

Roughly one million Vietnam veterans are enrolled in the VA health system, according to the department. Based on a review of data for one year, 5,484 of these veterans have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, 15,983 suffer from hypothyroidism and an estimated 1,833 have Parkinson’s-like symptoms. The working group also is looking into the role, if any, Agent Orange exposure has played in the development of hypertension in Vietnam veterans. According to VA, 307,324 Vietnam veterans in the Veterans Health Administration have high blood pressure. “Hypertension has been a question that has been asked,” Erickson said. “The cohort of men and women who heroically served their country in uniform and went to Vietnam are in their 60s, 70s and 80s, and these individuals, merely because of their age, are starting to accrue chronic diseases that come with aging. It’s a delicate matter to tease out whether someone has hypertension because of their age or whether it would be related to an exposure to Agent Orange.”

VA began recognizing diseases associated with herbicide exposure in Vietnam beginning in 1991, naming 15 diseases as presumed to be related, including Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, early-onset peripheral neuropathy, porphyria cutanea tarda, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, soft-tissue sarcoma, chloracne, type-two diabetes mellitus, light chain amyloidosis, ischemic heart disease, chronic B-cell leukemias, Parkinson’s disease and spina bifida in offspring of veterans. The most recent IOM report actually downgraded spina bifida in the children of Vietnam veterans, saying research does not support a previously held belief that the disease occurred in offspring of exposed veterans at higher rates. But the change of spina bifida from “limited or suggestive evidence” it is related to exposure to “inadequate or insufficient” evidence should not affect disability payments to the 1,153 descendants of Vietnam veterans who receive them, Veterans Benefits Administration senior adviser for compensation services Brad Flohr said.

VA recommends that veterans who have an illness they believe is related to Agent Orange exposure file a claim; they are considered on a case-by-case basis if the illness is not on the presumptive condition list. Should new diseases be added to the list, the regulation would go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. If a veteran dies of a condition determined to be a presumptive condition after the veteran’s death, VA will provide dependency and indemnity compensation benefits to eligible spouses, children and parents of that veteran. [Military Times, Patricia Kime — April 8, 2016]

LINK

What did VA, DoD Cover Up with incomplete Thailand Agent Orange Report?

CAUGHT ‘EM – VA.gov linked to a declassified DoD report on use of Agent Orange in Thailand. Upon closer examination, we learned that 25% of the report was deleted. Luckily, we just found those pages and explain what it may mean here.

The original turned up on a DoD website after a lot of digging, and I think I have a theory as to why they did it. This MMQB covers what I found and why it could impact your disability claim.

Hi and welcome to another edition of the Monday Morning Quarterback for Veterans. I am your host, Benjamin Krause.

This week, I am writing about my research into the USAF’s use of herbicides in Thailand and what it could mean for veterans fighting with VA to prove exposure.

From what I can tell, there may be a coverup regarding the documentation VA has provided to veterans. The information was supposedly given to help prove disability claims. Meanwhile, the documentation is incomplete and leads any casual reader away from potentially better resources to prove their claim.

Here is what I’ll cover today:

*Fed admits to Agent Orange use in Thailand
*VA’s Thailand fails the smell test
*Index of missing files
*Where to find records about Agent Orange usage
*What it could mean for your disability claim

JUMP for Much More

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 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, Early-Onset
A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.

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

LIVE HEALTHY

There are steps Veterans can take to help prevent heart disease, cancer, and other common diseases of aging. Get the recommended health screenings, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and don’t smoke. Learn more about healthy living.

Children with birth defects

VA presumes certain birth defects in children of Vietnam and Korea Veterans are 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.

LINKS HERE