The United States in 1991 established that Agent Orange was responsible for a number of medical conditions found in Vietnam veterans.
These veterans now want the government to fund research on how their children and grandchildren have been affected.
“What they’re trying to find is something out of the ordinary that is more prevalent in the children and grandchildren of vets than the general public,” said Anoka resident Richard Bergling, 69, who founded the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 470 group in 1989.
In April, a bipartisan bill, The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015, was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. If passed into law, the Veterans Administration would select a VA medical center to serve as the national research center to investigate how veterans’ exposure to toxic substances could affect their descendants.
This bill isn’t only about Agent Orange and other chemicals used in South Vietnam,” said Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan. “It’s about exposures to chemical agents for all who have served in our Armed Forces, including those exposed to the toxic fumes released by the U.S. Demolition Operations at the Khamisyah Pit and those exposed to the toxic fumes from burn pits across Afghanistan and Iraq during operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.”
The VA officially recognizes 50 diseases connected to Agent Orange exposure. Some examples include Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease and 38 forms of cancer.
The VA has also acknowledged that Agent Orange exposure could cause spina bifida in Vietnam veterans and their children. This is the only birth defect that the VA says can be connected to both male and female Vietnam veterans. But it lists 18 other birth defects for children born to female Vietnam veterans.
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