Agent Orange Information

The name “Agent Orange” came from the orange stripe on the 55‐gallon drums in which it was stored. Other herbicides, including Agent White and Agent Blue, were also used in Vietnam to a much lesser extent. Agent Orange was an herbicide used in Vietnam to kill unwanted plants and to remove leaves from trees that otherwise provided cover for the enemy.

Between 1961 and 1971, the US military in South Vietnam used more than 19 million gallons of herbicides for defoliation and crop destruction. Spraying occurred in all 4 military zones of Vietnam.

Heavily sprayed areas included inland forests near the demarcation zone; inland forests at the junction of the borders of Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam; inland forests north and northwest of Saigon; mangrove forests on the southernmost peninsula of Vietnam; and mangrove forests along the major shipping channels southeast of Saigon.

In 1978, the Veterans Administration set up the Agent Orange Registry health examination program for Vietnam veterans concerned with the possible long‐term medical effects of exposure to Agent Orange. Vietnam veterans who are interested in participating in this program should contact the nearest VA medical center for an examination. More than 315,000 Vietnam Veterans have completed this examination.

Listed below are the 15 diseases:

  • Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It is characterized by the body not producing enough insulin or the cells ignoring the insulin. As a result, cells may be starved for energy, or high glucose levels may damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart.
  • Hodgkin’s disease is characterized by swollen but painless lymph nodes often occurring in the neck, but also in the chest.
  • Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer of plasma cells, which are immune system cells in bone marrow that produce antibodies. Symptoms vary greatly.
  • Non‐Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a group of cancers arising from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. It may develop in any organ associated with the lymphatic system (example: spleen, lymph nodes, or tonsils)
  • Acute & subacute peripheral neuropathy is nerve disorders. Common symptoms include numbness, a tingling or prickly feeling, pain, a burning sensation, inability to feel intense heat or cold, cramps, extreme sensitivity to touch, loss of coordination, weakness and loss of reflexes. (Must occur within 1 year of exposure to Agent Orange)
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda results from low levels of the enzyme responsible for production of hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen in the blood. Symptoms include skin sensitivity to sunlight, blistering, scarring, changes in pigmentation, and increased hair growth. (Must occur within 1 year of exposure to Agent Orange)
  • Prostate cancer develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. It can cause pain, difficulty in urinating, erectile dysfunction and other symptoms.
  • Respiratory Cancers occur in the lung, bronchus, larynx or trachea. Symptoms may be very subtle or not occur and include pain, a scratchy sensation, and alteration of tolerance for hot or cold foods, a tendency to aspirate liquids, airway alteration or a slight change in the voice or several weeks.
  • Soft‐tissue sarcoma is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that develops in mesenchymal tissue, which encompasses all the muscle, connective tissues and bones of the body. The first noticeable symptom is usually a painless lump or swelling. As the tumor grows, it may cause other symptoms, such as pain or soreness, as it presses against nearby nerves and muscles.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a type of leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells. CLL results in swollen lymph nodes, spleen, and liver and eventually anemia and infections.
  • AL Amyloidisis is a disease in which abnormal protein is deposited in organs interfering with the structure and function of the organ. The cause is unknown and the disease can progress rapidly and is often far advanced by the time it is diagnosed.
  • B Cell Leukemia's (such as hairy cell leukemia) describes several different types of lymphoid leukemia which affect B cells. These are white blood cells that make antibodies and are an important part of the immune system. B lymphocytes come from bone marrow.
  • Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease occurring most often after the age of 50, associated with the destruction of brain cells that produce dopamine and characterized by muscular tremor, slowing of movement, partial facial paralysis, peculiarity of gait and posture and weakness.
  • Ischemic Heart Disease (also called ischemic cardiomyopathy) is a term that doctors use to describe patients who have congestive heart failure due to coronary artery disease. This condition results when the arteries that bring blood and oxygen to the heart are blocked. Patients with this condition may at one time have had a heart attack, angina, or unstable angina. A few patients may not have noticed any previous symptoms.
  • Parkinsonism
  • Hypertension
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Monoclonal Gammopathy