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Capitol Health Call
June 9, 2010

Agent Orange

JAMA. 2010;303(22):2241. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.718

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needs to reverse its current policy and allow all veterans of the Vietnam War to be eligible for treatment from the effects of exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange, said the leaders of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

During a May 5 hearing, Committee Chair Rep Bob Filner (D, Calif), chastised the VA for dropping its commitment to assist all Vietnam veterans by presuming only those who had set foot in the country during their war service were potentially exposed to Agent Orange, a presumption that would exclude veterans who served on US vessels in Vietnam's territorial waters or had flown above it. In his opening statement, Filner cited several studies suggesting that those serving in Vietnam's territorial waters were exposed to Agent Orange.