Agent Orange & Radiation Exposure
Environmental Registries and Exams
The VA maintains environmental registries for veterans who may have been exposed to hazardous environments or materials. To be placed on a registry, an environmental exam is generally required to establish a veterans baseline health status. These exams are free and no not replace compensation and pension exams. Veterans do not have to file a disability compensation claim to receive the exam. Contact your local VA environmental Health Coordinator about getting your exam.
Agent Orange Registration
Agent Orange refers to a blend if herbicides the U.S. forces sprayed to destroy plants in Vietnam which provided enemy cover. The name Agent Orange came from the orange identifying stripe around the drums in which it was stored.
Herbicides were sprayed in all 4 military zones of Vietnam, most heavily in inland forests near the demarcation zone, at the junction of borders of Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam,north and northwest of Saigon as well as Mangrove forests on the southernmost peninsula of Vietnam along major shipping channels southeast of Saigon. For Veterans possibly exposed to dioxin or other toxic substances or herbicides used during the Vietnam War between 1962-1975, regardless of length of service; exposure on land in Vietnam or on a ship on the inland waterway of Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975; service along the demilitarized zone in Korea between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971; Thailand between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975; or other locations.
You will need a copy of your DD214 and VA form 10-9009. Call 1-800-749-8387 or the VA Medical Center at 303-399-8020.
Many conditions considered presumptive due to Agent Orange Exposure include:
- AL Amyloidosis
A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs
- Chronic B-cell Leukemia
A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
- Chloracne (or similar acne-form 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, Acute and Subacute
A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Currently, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure and resolve within two years. VA proposed on Aug. 10, 2012, to replace “acute and subacute” with “early-onset” and eliminate the requirement that symptoms resolve within two years.
- 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.
Presumptive diseases related to ionizing radiation
For Veterans who participated in a radiation-risk activity during service (including “Atomic Veterans”), VA assumes that certain cancers are related to their exposure. These are called “presumptive diseases”:
- Cancers of the bile ducts, bone, brain, breast, colon, esophagus, gall bladder, liver (primary site, but not if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated), lung (including bronchiolo-alveolar cancer), pancreas, pharynx, ovary, salivary gland, small intestine, stomach, thyroid, urinary tract (kidney/renal, pelvis, urinary bladder, and urethra)
- Leukemia (except chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
- Lymphomas (except Hodgkin’s disease)
- Cancer of plasma cells
These Veterans don’t have to prove a connection between these diseases and their service to be eligible for disability compensation.
Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who participated in a radiation-risk activity and died as the result of one of these diseases may be eligible for survivors’ benefits.
Other diseases associated with radiation exposure
If a Veteran who was exposed to radiation during military service (including “Atomic Veterans”) develops one of the diseases listed below and meets other requirements, disability compensation may be provided on a case-by-case basis:
- All cancers
- Non-malignant thyroid nodular disease
- Parathyroid adenoma
- Posterior subcapsular cataracts
- Tumors of the brain and central nervous system
Eligibility depends on how much radiation the Veteran received and other factors, such as the period of time between exposure to radiation and the development of the disease.
Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to radiation during military service and died as the result of one of these diseases may be eligible for survivors’ benefits.
VA also will consider the possibility that other diseases not listed above were caused by radiation, if supported by medical or scientific evidence. To be eligible for compensation, VA must be able to establish that it is at least as likely as not that a Veteran’s disease was caused by his/her radiation exposure during service.