Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The debilitating effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam Vets recognized

April 30, 1989

In San Francisco, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ordered the U.S. government to reconsider the Agent Orange health claims of more than 31,000 veterans because existing rules “sharply tipped the scales” against those exposed to the toxic defoliant. He struck down the Department of Veterans Affairs’ regulations that denied Agent Orange service-related benefits for cancers and all other diseases except one non-fatal skin condition.

In a ruling on a nationwide lawsuit brought on behalf of Agent Orange claimants, Henderson said the department was wrong to require direct proof that the dioxin-containing herbicide caused various diseases. The department, formerly known as the Veterans Administration, would give claimants the benefit of the doubt, Henderson said. Veterans’ advocates praised the decision.

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