The Good Life - Travel, Leisure & Fun for South Valley Adults

By Ken Cruickshank
Veterans Services Officer for Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency 

Agent Orange

 


Between 1962 and 1972, about 20 million gallons of herbicides were utilized in Vietnam. The primary ingredient in these defoliants was dioxin, which is now a known carcinogen.

Agent Orange (AO) exposure itself is not a disability, however, it has been linked to certain disabilities. In other words, if you were exposed to AO and have any of the diseases listed below, the VA may presume it's due to your exposure. The diseases currently recognized as presumptive to exposure are:

• Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

• Some soft tissue sarcomas

• Hodgkin's disease

• Multiple myeloma

• Respiratory cancers, including lung, larynx, trachea and bronchus

• Prostate cancer

• Diabetes Mellitus Type 2

• Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

• AL amyloidosis

• Parkinson's disease

• B-cell leukemia (hairy cell)

• Ischemic heart disease (heart disease caused by blockage or reduced blood flow; does not include hypertension)

If you have been diagnosed with any of the above diseases and can prove that you served as "boots on the ground" in Vietnam, even if only for one day, then you should file a claim. If you served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, the VA must verify your exposure.

Veterans commonly suffer from three quite common disabilities/diseases: diabetes, ischemic heart disease and prostate cancer. If you have a stent, angioplasty or have had a bypass procedure, you may have ischemic heart disease. If you are the widow of a veteran who died as a result of any of the listed presumptive diseases, you may qualify for benefits. Please call our office for more information.

AO was also used in Thailand and Korea in specific areas, units and times. You can check the following website for this: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/militaryexposure.asp. For further information, please contact my office.

Ken Cruickshank, the Veterans Services Officer for Tulare County, is a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. Contact him at the Veterans Services Office at 3350 W. Mineral King Ave., Visalia; by phone at (559) 713-2880; or by email at KCruicks@tularehhsa.org.

 

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