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Health Agencies Update
February 24, 2010

Agent Orange Effects

JAMA. 2010;303(8):722. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.165

Vietnam veterans who were exposed to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange and who have developed B cell leukemia, Parkinson disease, or ischemic heart disease may soon be able to receive medical care or disability compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

During the Vietnam conflict, an estimated 2.6 million service men and women were exposed to Agent Orange, which has been linked to a host of medical problems. Previously, the VA had presumed that Agent Orange had contributed to the development of acute and subacute transient peripheral neuropathy, chloracne, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, type 2 diabetes mellitus, Hodgkin disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, porphyria cutanea tarda, prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, and certain soft-tissue sarcomas in such individuals. This presumption made it easier for these individuals to apply for benefits. In October 2009, the VA announced that this presumption would be extended to B cell leukemia, Parkinson disease, and ischemic heart disease.

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