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April 16, 2014

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Agent Orange and Hypertension - Vietnam vets urged to file claim

Last updated: 5:05 PM, 08/03/2009

Source: The Rogersville Review

By Joel Spears
Features Editor| (

ROGERSVILLE - A report which states Vietnam veterans could be at risk for hypertension after exposure to the chemical Agent Orange, has Veterans Service Officer Danny Breeding encouraging Hawkins County veterans to file a claim if they have developed high blood pressure, or developed the disease in conjunction with diabetes Type II.

"Hopefully Vietnam veterans in the county will respond because unless they are looking for this information they don't know it exists," Breeding said. "A lot of Vietnam veterans don't realize diabetes Type II is one of the presumptive diseases and they are encouraged to file a claim for Service Connected Compensation. Hypertension may be related as secondary to Type II Diabetes, or as a claim because of Agent Orange exposure," he continued.

In a report labeled "Veterans and Agent Orange" from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), mandated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, there is "limited or suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to Agent Orange and the subsequent development of hypertension."

Because the findings are "limited" this does not mean claims will be validated.

The report states, "should the Veterans Administration decide to establish a presumption" on the issue "it may still be another 6-12 months after that date before VA can decide [a veteran's] claim."

If a Vietnam veteran is already service connected for diabetes and is newly diagnosed with hypertension, the claim should be filed secondary to diabetes.

According to information about the report published by the Internet magazine Science Daily, hypertension is defined as "blood pressure exceeding 140/90" and it affects "more than 70 million adults" in the United States. Hypertension is also known to increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular illnesses.

Cornell University's Online glossary of medical terms states that Agent Orange is "a chemical mixture of two synthetic herbicides, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T."

The mixture was used from 1962 until 1970 as a chemical agent to remove leaves from plants in the Vietnamese jungle and surrounding areas affected by the Vietnam War. Large-scale sprays were conducted by airplane and helicopter, as well as boats and vehicles. Gear worn by soldiers was also used to dispense the chemical.

The university's definition also states "one of the chemicals in Agent Orange, 2,4,5-T has the potential to cause cancer and other harmful effects" and "the use of 2,4,5-T was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1983" while "2,4-D is a weed killer ... still manufactured and used in the U.S."

If you are a Vietnam veteran who would like to learn more about filing a hypertension or diabetes claim for potential treatment, call the Hawkins County Veterans Service Office, located at Hawkins County Courthouse, at (423) 272-5077, or E-mail (

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