The U.S. military used the toxic chemical Agent Orange during the Vietnam War as a tactical defoliant. The U.S. military sprayed this deadly toxin on trees, vegetation, plants, and crops, so the Viet Cong and Vietnamese were unable to use the thick foliage as cover.

If you served in Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange, there are important facts to know about Agent Orange, as well as new information about qualifying for disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

facts to know about agent orange for Vietnam war veteransImportant Facts About Agent Orange

Exposure to Agent Orange left many Vietnam veterans with debilitating medical conditions. Here's information you should know if you served in Vietnam and believe you encountered this deadly toxin:

  • By the end of 1971, the U.S. military sprayed approximately 12 percent of South Vietnam with Agent Orange. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this was 13 times more than the recommended limit. Not only were millions of acres of land completely destroyed, but the soil also became extremely toxic.
  • The authorities told U.S. soldiers that Agent Orange wasn’t harmful to humans. However, later the VA reported that exposure to even minimal doses of Agent Orange could pose serious health risks. American soldiers and military personnel who loaded this chemical onto helicopters, airplanes, and trucks are believed to have been at the greatest risk for exposure. 
  • Many returning veterans exposed to Agent Orange reported significant health problems after their tour in Vietnam. Agent Orange contained a toxic chemical called “dioxin” now associated with cancer, type 2 diabetes, nerve disorders, and heart disease. 
  • Soldiers who had “boots on the ground” in Vietnam were eligible for VA disability benefits when they returned home and could prove they’d been exposed to Agent Orange. However, sailors in the “Blue Water” Navy were denied VA benefits because they had not set foot on Vietnam soil.
  • In 2019, over 90,000 Blue Water Navy vets became eligible for benefits following a federal court ruling. This ruling acknowledged these vets sailed in Vietnam’s territorial waters and also docked in Vietnam harbors and thus, exposed to Agent Orange.

Our Veterans Affairs Lawyers Can Help You Qualify for VA Benefits If You Were Exposed to Agent Orange

If you’re a Vietnam veteran and believe your medical condition is associated with exposure to Agent Orange, contact our Veterans Affairs lawyers. Having legal representation and an advocate on your side can provide invaluable assistance with your disability claim. Our VA disability attorneys know the medical conditions linked to Agent Orange exposure and can help prove that yours is a presumptive disease that will qualify for disability compensation.

Call Cuddigan Law to get help with your VA disability application today. 


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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