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Agent Orange and Related Issues
Operation Ranch Hand
Herbicides Sprayed in 9th ID AO
THE VIETNAM CONFLICT
An estimated 3.1 million veterans served in the Southeast Asia Theater
(Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, flight crews based in Thailand, and sailors in the
South China Sea).
An estimated 2.6 million personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam
and in adjacent waters.
Orange was a herbicide used in Vietnam to defoliate trees and remove cover for
the enemy. Agent Orange spraying
missions were flown in Vietnam between January 1965 and April 1970.
Shipped in orange-striped barrels, it was a reddish-brown liquid
containing four herbicides: 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic
acid (2,4-D), cacodylic acid and picloram.
history of herbicides for military use dates to World War II.
During the early part of the war, interest arose in chemicals that
could be used for crop destruction. Two chemicals were developed as a result
of those early efforts -- 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Although neither chemical was
used in World War II, the value of their use in weed and brush programs was
recognized, and both chemicals have been used widely throughout the world
since the 1940s by farmers, foresters and homeowners.
SERVICES FOR VIETNAM VETERANS
Free Medical Care: VA has
offered special access to health services and studies since 1978, when it
initiated a medical surveillance program for Vietnam veterans with health
concerns. By 1981, VA offered
priority medical care to Vietnam veterans with any health problems which may
have resulted from Agent Orange exposure.
That program continues today.
VA RESPONSE TO CONCERNS
ABOUT AGENT ORANGE
• VA developed the Agent Orange Registry Examination Program in 1978
to identify Vietnam veterans concerned about Agent Orange exposure.
Nearly 300,000 Vietnam veterans have been provided examinations under
the Registry program as of December 1999.
VA maintains a computerized registry of data from these examinations.
Registrants receive periodic updates on studies and policy.
• VA's Advisory Committee on Health-Related Effects of Herbicides was
established in 1979 to examine issues surrounding the possible health effects
of herbicides on Vietnam veterans. VA
also established the Veterans' Advisory Committee on Environmental Hazards,
consisting of non-VA experts in dioxin and radiation exposure as well as
several lay members, to advise the Secretary on the results of Agent
Orange-related research, and regulatory, administrative and legislative
initiatives. Since passage of a
1991 law (PL102-4), which directs VA to request that the National Academy of
Sciences (NAS) review diseases associated with herbicide exposure, the
committee's work has been superseded by the NAS review.
• The NAS reviews and evaluates scientific literature about Agent
Orange. NAS reviewed more than
6,000 abstracts of scientific or medical articles and analyzed 230
epidemiological studies before its initial July 1993 report, which led to the
inclusion of additional diseases on the list for presumptive
service-connection. The NAS review has been continuing, with acute and subacute
peripheral neuropathy and prostate cancer added to VA's presumptive list after
the NAS issued an updated report in March 1996. Also based on that report's findings of new "limited or
suggestive evidence" of an association between herbicides and spina
bifida in the children of Vietnam veterans, VA proposed legislation to aid
children of Vietnam veterans who suffer from that disorder, and established a
reproductive outcomes research center to investigate potential environmental
hazards of military service. The
latest NAS update, released in February 1999, contained no major changes in
its classifications of diseases. (The
executive summary of that report is available on the Institute of Medicine's
National Academy Press web site at http://books.nap.edu/html/update98/.)
The next major update is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2000.
a separate VA study led Secretary of Veterans Affairs Togo D. West Jr. to call
for legislation to benefit children who suffer from birth defects that may
have been caused by their mothers' Vietnam service, not necessarily by
herbicide exposure. Secretary
West also asked NAS to further review a study by the National Institute of
Occupational Safety and Health of dioxin-exposed production workers at two
U.S. plants that revealed elevated rates of diabetes among workers.
A decision whether to establish a presumption of service-connection for
diabetes will be made once the additional review is completed, which is
expected in May 2000.
Operation Ranch Hand
"Ranch Hand" was the USAF Herbicide Spraying Program
All vets should check out the VA web site, http://www.va.gov/
especially the publication site listed at the bottom of this article.
Web site for Air Force "Ranch Hand Study"
Check out this VA web site on Diabetes:
also this agent orange site: http://goiv.com/ao/
All Viet Nam Veterans should have an "Agent Orange Registry Examination"
.... A local service officer can help you arrange, if you haven't
already had one.
Some info is at this VA web site:
Most VA publications and manuals are at this site:
Herbicide Sprayed in 9th ID Area of Operation
Amounts of herbicide sprayed in IV Corps
USAF HERBICIDE TOTALS
(from Aug. 1965 onward)
The following totals represent the USAF Ranch Hand sprayings ONLY
They do not include the US Army helicopter or ground
applications, any form of the Insecticide programs by GVN
or other US Military. Areas specified below are either cities or
US military bases.
The amount (in gallons) represents what was sprayed
within 8 km radius of the specified area.
(Thus, each area shown below is 9.6 miles in diameter.)
Orange White Blue
Vinh Long 8360 9755 890
Vinh Loi 30010 ---- ----
Tra Vinh 9885 8000 ----
Tieu Con 8700 ---- ----
Tan An 89550 36450 ----
Soc Trang 3410 2391 1280
Seafloat 4700 ---- ----
Phu Quoc 19000 ---- ----
Phnom ---- 184 ----
Rach Gia ---- 2155 ----
Nam Can 150345 64295 ----
My Tho 13320 7316 965
Firebase Moore 9820 ---- ----
Moc Hoa 12400 6590 ----
Ham Long 3275 1620 ----
Ben Luc 45900 14838 ----
Ben Tre 24800 24750 ----
Can Tho 15160 13915 11685
Cao Lanh 1875 2935 830
Dong Tam 5870 605 ----
Firebase Grand Can(yon?) ---- 154 ----