In an interview, Michael Skinner, a Washington State University professor of biological sciences and one of the leaders of the study of epigenetics, said he, too, wonders whether it makes sense to delve too deep into the question of Agent Orange and birth defects. For at least 34 years, the agency also Besides, he said, the epidemiology is always going to be complicated. Mike Ryan wasnt surprised. We dont have this in the family, she said. ProPublica looked for differences in birth defect rates among children of veterans who said they were exposed to Agent Orange compared to those who said they werent or werent sure. If you are a hard working Military Vet, and your doctor says you simply cant work anymore because of your Military Service, you are probably entitled to Veterans Disability benefits. Sign up to get ProPublicas major investigations delivered to your inbox. Cysts: Arm, Brain, Hand, Leg, Shoulder Blade, Thyroid, Arm, Ovaries & Wrists. One such substance that is a topic of much discussion is whether or not Agent Orange causes birth defects. Recent advances in science, especially in the burgeoning field of epigenetics, have shown that chemical exposure can affect multiple generations. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Agent Orange has caused many issues and controversies since it was first used in Vietnam. Shes had ongoing problems with cysts in her joints and now suffers from an immune system disorder. Agent Orange was an herbicide mixture used during the Vietnam War to kill plants and vegetation. The Ryans went public with their concerns at a press conference in 1978, drawing the nations attention to the children of Vietnam veterans. Fewer than 10 percent of veterans fit this criteria.

They found that, contrary to the main published findings, there is distinct evidence that the children of those who handled Agent Orange had more birth defects and developmental disabilities. agent orange birth defects guam issues okinawa poisons pacific zone retired sergeant force air The VA also collected information about children born before and after the vets service with spina bifida or other birth defects. However, the only compensation that they provide for children with birth defects is those who have spina bifida, in which the spinal cord does not develop properly, or children of a handful of female Vietnam Veterans who have birth defects. documenting health conditions and noting when and where they served. Vets from subsequent conflicts have similar concerns that their proximity to burn pits, depleted uranium and other toxins might be affecting their children. This is something that happened to you and your family., Matthew Penner, whose dad is an Army veteran, found Bowsers group and said reading others stories just blew my mind. has asked questions about their childrens birth defects, before and after the war. The most intensive study done on this issue is by ProPublica, which goes over the effects of Agent Orange. In the absence of new government research into Agent Orange and birth defects, advocates around the country have pursued their own strategies for drawing attention to the issue. Perhaps you did not supply enough evidence to make your claim firm. It also does not prove that Agent Orange caused the increased rate of birth defects, but it does raise important questions for future research, they said. makes payments only to those who have spina bifida, in which the spinal cord doesnt develop properly, and the children of a small number of female Vietnam vets with 18 other diseases. | The Aspen Institute, The Children of Agent Orange ProPublica, Dioxins, Furans and Dioxin-Like Polychlorinated Biphenyls Factsheet | National Biomonitoring Program | Center for Disease Control (CDC), Paternal military service in Vietnam and the risk of late adverse pregnancy outcomes | American Journal of Public Health. This isnt a conspiracy theory. Though there is no study directly linking Agent Orange and birth defects for children of Veterans, recent studies have shown that exposure to chemicals does affect ongoing generations. More than 12 million gallons were used across South Vietnam. Similar worries struck vet Mike Blackledge when staffers at a local Veterans Affairs hospital suggested his childrens diseases could be linked to his time in Vietnam. poison continues Finally, sometimes that medical opinion given by the VA doctor lacks the necessary legal language that the VA is looking for when giving a Veteran a rating. By 1978, Agent Orange and its potential effects had become a national controversy. She was born missing her right leg below the knee and several of her fingers. In an email last month, the VA said it would expect parents to accurately answer questions about whether their children have birth defects, since such defects affect about 3 percent of all births. It raises questions about whether they want to know the answer or are just hoping the problem will naturally go away as the veterans die off.. I think if we send young people to war, to defend us, our way of life, whatever, that we have a contract with them, said Mekdeci, who despite a lack of formal scientific training has presented her findings to Congress and the IOM. COSTS AND EXPENSES ARE CLAIMANTS RESPONSIBILITY. If you want to learn more about our No Fee Guarantee, please call us at (877) 777-4021.

If you were exposed to Agent Orange, you could connect the birth defect to exposure, even without a definite study. Theyve held more than 250 town hall meetings across the U.S., urging veterans to share their families stories. Maybe its not the answer that people want, but at least it would be an answer.. A disease linked to the exposure of Agent Orange. Mike Ryans mother, the head obstetrician at a Long Island hospital, delivered baby Kerry and knew immediately something was terribly wrong. After Veterans returned, they noticed that some of their children were born after their exposure had birth defects. The airplanes returning from short missions would often dump Agent Orange in the river alongside his base, he told her.

I think theres kind of a paradigm shift thats been going on, said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health. To qualify for a presumptive service connection, you have to have the following: Exposure to Agent Orange can cause numerous effects. by Charles Ornstein and Hannah Fresques, ProPublica, and Mike Hixenbaugh for The Virginian-Pilot, (ProPublica analysis of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Agent Orange Registry data). To date there has been minimal investigation of whether paternal exposure poses a risk of adverse effects in their offspring, it said. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. His son has inflammatory bowel disease so advanced he wears a pouch to collect his waste, and his youngest daughter has neuropathy, spinal problems and gastrointestinal issues. SUBJECT TO THE WRITTEN RETAINER AGREEMENT, SERVICES MAY BE PERFORMED BY OTHERS. They will never admit it, he said, because if they do, then America is admitting to drafting the unborn.. Even though it is no longer used for war, Agent Orange still affects many people who were born from Veterans who served in Vietnam and Korea. Proof that you served in the military in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, to May 7, 1975, or that you were near the DMZ in Korea between September 1, 1967, to August 31, 1967. Mike Hixenbaugh is a former military reporter for The Virginian-Pilot and is now a medical reporter at the Houston Chronicle. Ear Infections, Problems, Surgeries, Tubes, Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), Follicular Lymphoma/Large B Cell Lymphoma, HAE Hereditary Angioedema (still being tested for verification), Heart Murmur (as a child) Heart Palpitations, Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT), Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension (IIH), Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) Platelet Disorder, Immune System Issues (Undefined & IVIG Infusions), Involuntary Muscle Spasm (Face) (EYE, LEGSSTOACH,ABDOMEN), Lipomas-(non-cancerous tumors throughout the body), Low vitamin D levelseven with sun and supplements, Methicillin Staphylococcus Resistant Aureus (MSRA), Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR), Migraine headaches ( Cluster, Basilar, and Hemiplegic Migraines), Multiple Reoccuring Undiagnosed Oozing Sores, Muscle Spasms, Pain, Numbness, (Undefined), Pain in chest, radiating up right side of neck, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (before hysterectomy), Phantom pains in random places in my body with no apparent cause, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Pseudo Obstruction (Intestinal, Neurological), Shingles: Ears, Mouth, Opthamalic, Throat, Squamous Papilloma (Benign Polyp in Mouth), Tachycardia (Unknown, Due to WPW Syndrome), Tooth Formation Absence (Adult Teeth Never Came In), Unexplained Tingling (Right Side Of Body). She has 22 birth defects, and they want to pay only for spina bifida? The VA This leaves out many Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and have children with birth defects. Schwartzs role at the VA doesnt put her in charge of such studies. WE ARE VETERANS ADVOCATES AND WORK WITH DISABILITY HELP GROUP (DHG) WHEN HELPING VETERANS WITH DENIED DISABILITY CLAIMS AND THEY WILL RESPOND TO CONTACTS FROM OUR WEBSITE.

Meanwhile, two major studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that there was little connection between exposure to herbicides and birth defects. His oldest daughter the one born before he went to fight in Vietnam is fine. I knew we had no shot, he said. Porter is the director of communications for the Vietnam Veterans of America, based in Silver Spring, Maryland. At Berry Law, we have a team of experienced attorneys to help. Can you imagine the trauma of it? he said. Today the registry is primarily used to keep track of vets contact information. He remembered drinking rainwater collected from the tops of tents in Vietnam, not realizing it may have been contaminated with chemicals sprayed from above. In the 1980s, he and his team found a higher rate of post-war birth defects in the children of veterans who handled Agent Orange than in the children of those who didnt, but they later concluded that herbicide exposure was not the cause. Its the acknowledgement that a parent suffered, we suffered, and something needs to be acknowledged. Mike Ryan said it was never about the money; it was about recognition of the debt he believes his country owes his daughter. Principal Office The reports did suggest a possible association between herbicide exposure among vets and spina bifida in their kids. Its medical staff has physically examined more than 668,000 Vietnam veterans possibly exposed to Agent Orange, Another reason why the VA might have denied your claim is that you did not link it to your time in the service. Such sentiments dont sit well with veterans or their children.

Finally in 1988, under pressure from members of Congress, the study Albanese had worked on was released, but with only his name on it. She had no big toe on her left foot, and the remaining toes were webbed. OUR NO FEE GUARANTEE

Experts, too, have seen their calls for more research die without explanation. You see parallel patterns of what we saw back then, said Michalek, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Our stories are very similar very similar birth defects, very similar health issues later, she said. The No Fee Guarantee is subject to and conditioned by the written retainer entered into and will or may require that you remain responsible for costs and disbursements related to the claim. Here is a list of illnesses that the VA does presume was caused by Agent Orange exposure if you served in Vietnam: Sometimes, the VA will deny your claim, even for disabilities connected to Agent Orange exposure. Instead, in the years that followed, the Reagan administration worked to undermine the Ryans cause in court as the couple served as one of the lead plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the chemical companies that made Agent Orange. Slightly more than 13 percent of veterans who sprayed, handled or were sprayed with Agent Orange reported having a child with birth defects born during or after the war, compared to nearly 10 percent of veterans who were not exposed or were unsure. Neural tube defects, shortened limbs, webbed toes, missing limbs, extra vertebrae, missing vertebrae, autoimmune disorders. A 2012 study, for example, showed that gestating female rats exposed to dioxin, a byproduct found in Agent Orange, passed mutations to future generations. Everybody in the room was surprised that they werent alone.. In its written response, the VA said it has already requested a related report from the National Academy of Medicine. There had been no history of birth defects on either side of the family. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Watch the videos. People could have been exposed to dioxin in a variety of ways because the chemical was prevalent in urban areas in the U.S. until the late 1970s. In 2007, a panel of the prestigious Institute of Medicine said the VA should review all the possible cognitive and developmental effects in offspring of veterans. The analysis showed that both groups saw a substantial increase in birth defects among their children born after the war, but the rate was higher for those who were exposed.

The questionnaire didnt define what constitutes a birth defect, leaving it to each vet to do so. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals. Dioxin exposure is linked to various forms of cancer, birth defects, and more. They presented the work at a 2003 international dioxin meeting, but their manuscript was not accepted for publication in a scientific journal. A lot of people probably dont think about it because a lot of people dont want to think about it, said Ralph Thornburgh, an Army vet whose two daughters born after Vietnam have had health problems, including one with leukemia. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. VA has taken a very cautious approach in the use of the registry data, but is currently exploring ways to better utilize this resource for research using administrative records or supporting research recruitment, the agency said. The 1992 report looked at the data in a different way. The analysis has its limitations, including the self-selected nature of the veterans who took part in the registry and the self-reported information they provided. Mike Ryan, now 71, said he hadnt kept up with scientific advancements that potentially confirm what hes spent years arguing that a fathers exposure to toxins can cause health problems in offspring. When this happens, you can appeal the denial. However, Agent Orange was extremely toxic, and the lives of many were affected by inhaling the fumes.

It could even be that your time in the service worsened a pre-service disability, which would qualify as a service-connected disability. Agent Orange/Dioxin and Other Toxic Substances Committee. Vietnam Veterans Of America, n.d. Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. A year later, the Ryans pushed Kerry into a congressional hearing in a wheelchair to testify about her struggles, prompting then Rep. Al Gore, D-Tennessee, to ask, I wonder what the reaction of the VA would be if the enemy had used Agent Orange? In the fall of 1980, President-elect Ronald Reagan arranged a meeting to learn about their struggle and concerns about the herbicide. Quite honestly, its not the monetary payoff. When certain genes change in parents due to exposure, they are passed down. All rights reserved. In a report this year, an IOM panel said the military and the VA should set their sights on forward-looking projects, like tracking which chemicals soldiers are exposed to in real time. Because Veterans noticed these conditions in their children, the VA began making payments for compensation. Even so, experts said the results should prompt the VA to take the issue seriously. Our No Fee Guarantee means that unless we are successful with your claim you dont pay for our advocates services. The data has some caveats. Usually, the VA will deny your claim for a few reasons. At one point in the mid-1980s, the VA also saw the research value of its registry, namely to provide a means of detecting clues or suggestions that specific health problems or unexpected health trends are showing up in this group of veterans, according to a fact sheet prepared at the time. What is Agent Orange? VA believes that research to understand the relationship between exposure and intergenerational transmission of disease, if conducted, should be done where scientists with expertise in the relevant fields of inquiry can provide leadership., The VA said it should play an ancillary role.. This article will go over Agent Orange and whether it is connected to birth defects in the children of Veterans. Some government studies were done, including Michaleks, but they generally dismissed an association. While there, Porters daughter befriended the grandson of a Vietnam veteran who also was sick. After that, she helped launch the VVA project Faces of Agent Orange. Whether or not Agent Orange is the direct cause of birth defects remains controversial, but some studies indicate it is. Some who try to make a direct service connection are not successful. They concluded that the few links between dioxin and birth defects were generally weak, inconsistent or biologically implausible and the data provided no support for such a connection. While I used to be pretty skeptical about reports, especially related to Agent Orange exposures of predominantly male soldiers we had at the time, Im not as skeptical as I was.. Weinstein, whod expressed doubt that veterans had been harmed, was even more skeptical about their children, writing, however slight the suggestion of a causal connection between the veterans medical problems and Agent Orange exposure, even less evidence supports the existence of an association between birth defects and exposure of the father to Agent Orange.. Last week, after repeated recommendations by federal scientific advisory panels, Congress The analysis focused on a group of 37,535 veterans who had children born before their service in the war as well as during or after, in part because many of the factors relevant to birth defects wouldnt change, including the veterans genetic makeup. Due to the number of people exposed to Agent Orange, it has indirectly affected many in the United States, including the children of Veterans. People were deathly afraid that the Vietnamese would then lodge a horrendous lawsuit against the United States.. Were not going to be able to scientifically go back and reconstruct what could have happened 50 years ago.. document.getElementById( "ak_js" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ); Lawyers 6940 O St, Suite 400 Lincoln, NE 68510. THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT. Kerry was born in 1971 with a hole in her heart, no lower digestive system, dysfunctional kidneys, a deformed arm and fingers, spina bifida and more than a dozen other health problems. Schwartz said more needs to be done about Agent Orange and its impact on the children of veterans. The two groups had similar rates of birth defects among children born before the war, but the odds of having a child born during or after the war with birth defects was 30 percent higher for exposed veterans. The questionnaire collected detailed information about veterans service, health conditions and possible exposure to herbicides, asking vets whether they handled or sprayed Agent Orange, were directly sprayed with it, were in an area recently sprayed with it, ate or drank food that may have come in contact with it, or were exposed to other herbicides. My parents had no idea.

The analysis that followed was revealing: The odds of having a child born with birth defects during or after the war were more than a third higher for veterans who say they handled, sprayed or were directly sprayed with Agent Orange than for veterans who say they werent exposed or werent sure. This story was co-published with The Virginian-Pilot. The veterans would all say, You know its probably Agent Orange. Read the story. Appeals to the Board of Veterans Appeals, Appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Increase Veterans Affairs Disability Rating, Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU), VA Mental Health: Legal Help for Veterans, Veterans Affairs Compensation for Sleep Apnea, VA Rating for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), 2022 Veterans Affairs Disability Rates Increase. Concerns that Agent Orange was not just sickening vets but also causing birth defects in their children surfaced after troops returned from war four decades ago. But he said he hasnt found additional funds to continue the work in male rats. The attorneys at Berry Law Firm are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. The researchers wrote up the results in a report, but their superiors halted its release, saying more research was needed, including physically examining all the children to verify whether they had birth defects, Albanese recalled in a recent interview. Many, like Ryan, returned home, eager to put Vietnam behind them, starting new families or adding to ones they had. His base was less than 10 miles away from Bien Hoa Air Base, which served as the hub for the Air Force crew that sprayed Agent Orange across the country. If there indeed was an association, the researchers wrote, they would have expected to find that veterans with more dioxin lingering in their blood would have higher rates of birth defects in their children, but that wasnt the case. Its like a sign that says Dig Here and theyre not digging, said Dr. David Ozonoff, a professor of environmental health at Boston University and co-editor-in-chief of the online journal Environmental Health, after reviewing ProPublicas findings. Let us at least take a stab at this.. That, to me, is a signal.. Not only does Agent Orange affect the children of Veterans, but it affects Veterans too. But she said new technology could be used to answer at least some questions. From 1962 to 1971, the U.S. military sprayed millions of gallons of potent weed killers, including Agent Orange, over Vietnam to kill dense jungle foliage and eliminate places for the enemy to hide, exposing as many as 2.6 million service members in the process. We have a contract to take care of them if theyre injured, and if their children are injured because of their exposures, we have a contract to take care of them, too.. The study was extremely detailed, verifying what veterans said with a host of medical exams and biological specimens, including blood, semen and urine samples.

Due to the nature of Agent Orange, some things are easier to get recognized by the VA since they presume an in-service injury or a link between exposure and the disability. If so, you can review it with our attorneys to ensure that the documents you give to the VA contain the necessary language. Air Force researchers have denied that their findings were manipulated and said they needed the extra time to verify each birth defect against medical records to ensure it was correct. The information you obtain on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.

This year, yet another IOM panel weighed in, reporting no progress on the earlier recommendations and encouraging more research in animals. Then, four years later, the Air Force published a follow-up paper that claimed no evidence had been found linking Agent Orange exposure to birth defects in the mens children. Meanwhile, thousands of Vietnam vets have added information every year to the VAs growing body of data, deepening a potentially rich pool for researchers. In 1997, when the VA finally began offering compensation for children with spina bifida, the Ryans didnt bother applying. If a link to their children is proven, it could add billions more. The best thing for you to do is not go at it alone. She and a colleague, George Knafl, reassessed the findings of the Air Force study. Whether missing limbs, extra limbs, or diseases, Veterans noticed abnormal conditions not attributed to anything genetically.