1. How can you classify someone as having Agent Orange?
Vietnam veterans who served boots on the ground are assumed to be exposed to Agent Orange if they contract one of the illnesses on the presumptive list of diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp. There are some Blue Water Navy veterans that also qualify for disability compensation but it is based upon which ships have been approved by the VA: http://www.bluewaternavy.org/. Veterans who served along the Korean DMZ during the Vietnam war who were exposed to Agent Orange also qualify for disability. I think you can find info at the above link. There are several groups of veterans all fighting for recognition of their exposure to Agent Orange. They include the following groups: Okinawa, Guam, Phillipines, Fort McClellan, C-123 Aircrew, Blue Water Navy, several bases state side. There are civilians who also were exposed fighting for health care and benefits: CCAD is one group and they worked on the helicopters at Corpus Christie Air Depot in Texas. What we are fighting for are the children/grandchildren and future generations of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange/Dioxin; although we do care about all military exposures. The only children of male Vietnam veterans eligible for benefits are those born with spina bifida. The children of women Vietnam veterans are eligible for a number of birth defects. You can learn more here: http://agentorangelegacy.com/va-benefits/. I hope this answers your question.
2. Is there a way of testing someone who may have medical problems due to exposure to Agent Orange? Yes I do believe there is a genetic test that can be done but I do not have any information except to say that I understand that it costs a lot of money. Some of our members who have been diagnosed with rare diseases or diseases that do not run in their family have had genetic testing. In all the cases I am aware of they found a mutated gene. I have been informed that it is possible to link environmental exposures to mutated genes. I don’t know how that is done or how much it costs. I imagine it is costly. Finally, I understand that there is what is called ‘body burden’ testing. This is the most inexpensive option. Here is a link where you can learn more: http://agentorangelegacy.com/find-help/ao-genetics/. Finally it is my belief that the children/grandchildren and successive generations will not benefit form the body burden testing except to determine if they have had subsequent exposures. I do not believe it will show their exposure which was passed to them genetically; it would show up as a mutated gene.
3. Are there treatment facilities that those who are found to have Agent Orange?
There are no treatment facilities for the children and grandchildren. The VA medical centers are available to our veterans. There is a VA medical center in each state of our Union: http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/allstate.asp. Although they do specialize in many different types of medicine which relates to the care of our soldiers they really are not a specialized facility just for the treatment of people exposed to Agent Orange. Although I think since the Vietnam war they have much more knowledge than they did have with all the additional military exposures they have had to contend with since the 1960s. At the link above you will learn that at one time there was a program for the children at a University which is no longer funded. There is a facility but I do not know if it is still open and operating or not and it is very difficult for veterans to make the trip due to their health and also financially: http://veteransinfo.tripod.com/aopressrelease.pdf. This is a link to a video of my daughter talking about how the children could use a treatment facility etc.: http://youtu.be/PiQTmPJdMUM.
4. Do you know any of the history of Agent Orange?
Yes I am aware of the history of Agent Orange and it is extensive. Here is a very good link where you can learn what you need to know about the history: http://www.agentorangerecord.com/agent_orange_history/.
5. How can Agent Orange be passed down through generations?
This is a topic which is still being debated. The families are the ones that believe that it is possible but we still don’t have the science to prove it. There is a great deal of information that has been gathered over the years but I think that I will share with you the most promising study that was recently published. I also want to point out that it is a result of a very new science called epigenetics. Here is a link to this study: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0046249. Also here a link to a radio show with Dr. Skinner speaking about the study and it might be easier to understand: http://www.superhumanradio.com/shr-1061-wsu-study-finds-dioxin-causes-disease-and-reproductive-problems-across-generations.html. As you can see I commented on the radio show as well with my issues. Here is a blog article I wrote about this study and correspondence I had with Dr. Skinner: http://agentorangelegacy.blogspot.com/2012/10/study-pregnant-rats-pass-down-effects.html.
6. Is there any way to tell on your own if you have Agent Orange?
Well no one gets Agent Orange. People are exposed to it in the environment. During the Vietnam war it was sprayed to kill the trees and other plants in the jungle so our soldiers could see the enemy. When the chemical companies made Agent Orange they sped up the progress and this is how it became toxic because it created dioxin. Dioxin is the most dangerous and deadly carcinogen known to mankind. Here is a link where you can learn more about Dioxin but I suspect is you read about the history of Agent Orange you will learn more about Dioxin: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/dioxins/index.cfm.
7. What possible affects can Agent Orange have on the body?
This is not an easy question to answer because not all who are exposed to dioxin are exposed at the extremely high concentrations that our veterans were when they served in Vietnam. Although I guess the effects are probably similar. I believe that they are more severe depending up how long you were exposed and how high the concentration. The other variable is the persons genetic make-up. Here is a link that lists the illnesses that are recognized by the VA and qualifies a veteran for disability compensation: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp. The only birth defect recognized in the children of male Vietnam veterans is spina bifida and here is a link where you can see the list of birth defects recognized for the children of women Vietnam veterans: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/birth_defects.asp.
8. How many known cases are there of Agent Orange?
I understand that the Vietnamese believe that 4 million of there people have been affected by Agent Orange which was sprayed on their country during the war. I am not sure that I have ever heard a number for our veterans and I know we don’t know how many children and grandchildren are affected because no one is keeping track. We are fighting to get help. Also veterans affected in other countries who served during the war and were our allies like Australia and New Zealand. Agent Orange was tested in Canada and troops were trained so civilians and troops were exposed. There were employees at the chemical companies who were also exposed. I don’t have that information because my focus is the veterans and their children.
9. Is there medications that can prevent anyone from getting it passed down through generations
No I am not aware of any medication.
10. If you have Agent Orange, are there any benefits you can get or help provided for you?
Yes for veterans who had boots on the ground and for some blue water navy veterans. Most veterans who were exposed in other places have to prove they were exposed. The children of male Vietnam vets are eligible for benefits for spina bifida. As I stated above the children of women Vietnam veterans can receive benefits for a much longer list of birth defects. The Vietnamese get some monies from their own government. Way back in the 1980s the veterans took the chemical companies to court and received an out of court settlement. Unfortunately at the time it wasn’t enough money and many veterans like my husband who wasn’t sick at that time did not get any money at all. Then the Vietnamese tried to sue the chemical companies of which there were 37 in all that produced the ‘Rainbow Herbicides’ but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the chemical companies and because they were contracted with the government they are protected from being sued.
11. Are they any organizations that study fields where Agent Orange was sprayed?
Yes there is actually; Hatfield Consultants. They have done a great deal of work in Vietnam. Here is a link to their website: http://www.hatfieldgroup.com/services/contaminantagentorange.aspx.
12. Is there a test that someone can take to know if they are affected by Agent Orange?
I think this question is similar to an earlier question you asked. There is a recent poisoning of the former president of the Ukarine you might find it interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yushchenko