Frank (VT) has sent us a link to the article Vietnam Vets Push VA to Link Bladder Cancer to Agent Orange (LINK). It concerns the newest update on the government research series called, “Veterans and Agent Orange.” The 1000-page book can be read online or can be downloaded for free (LINK); over 2,700 DLs so far. This is the “tenth and last congressionally mandated biennial update.” As such, it behooves us to be aware of its existence and how its conclusions may effect veterans’ claims going forward.
(A 2014 study (LINK) linking AO to bladder cancer (and other diseases) in Korean veterans was influential in the judgement of these researchers.)
“Based on the entire body of evidence, the committee Update 2014 changed the categories of association with exposure to the herbicides sprayed in Vietnam for three health effects. Bladder cancer and hypothyroidism were moved from “inadequate or insufficient” evidence of association up to “limited or suggestive” evidence of association, while the birth defect spina bifida in the offspring of Vietnam veterans was demoted from “limited/suggestive” down to “inadequate/insufficient.”
The committee clarified that Vietnam veterans with “Parkinson-like symptoms,” but without a formal diagnosis of Parkinson disease, should be considered eligible under the presumption that Parkinson’s disease and the veterans’ service are connected. For this last volume in the Veterans and Agent Orange series of reports, the committee distilled “lessons learned” into recommendations for the continued monitoring of the health of Vietnam veterans.”
A Google Agent Orange image search displays heartbreaking images of bodily malformations these toxic chemicals have caused in populations that have been constantly exposed to them since the 1960s. This cannot be the end of research and our duty to deal with the harm done by AO.
A recent Military.com article (LINK) provides these figures but how many Vietnam veterans have already died from AO diseases?
Roughly 1 million Vietnam veterans are enrolled in the VA health system, according to the department. Based on a review of data for one year, 5,484 of these veterans have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, 15,983 suffer from hypothyroidism and an estimated 1,833 have Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
Hmmm. It’s going to take the VA two years to read the report?