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Agent Orange Question(S)


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Hey, all. Not new here, but can't remember my log-in information, so I am ashamedly starting over. :)

I have a question or two related to Agent Orange exposure, disability, etc. If there's a place where I can read up on it, please direct me so I don't have to waste anyone's time, but y'all have been so helpful before.

OK, my husband is disabled. His paperwork says 50% but he's rated at 60%. I don't understand how that works, but he said it's a VA thing, and not supposed to make sense.

Reading here, and online, we got a little information regarding his exposure. He was never in Vietnam, but was Vietnam era. He was working at several Army bases as an MP, where AO was sprayed as a defoliant. Many of those Army bases are now considered "superfund" sites by the EPA because of the toxicity levels.

He has heart disease, type 2 diabetes, emphysema and a myriad of other conditions. The only one, at this time, considered service connected, is his heart. He had a heart attack when he was stationed in California, and this was about 10 years after his exposure to AO. This is all in his records, and he has no history of heart disease, himself or family.

We got notification yesterday of other documents needed, such as proving how AO resulted in heart disease, etc. I was wondering if anyone had any idea of how I would go about doing that? I'm not sure what my next step should be.

We are a little confused on how we are supposed to proceed. There were no tests done on him while he was in the military for anything - he said in the entire 20 years he was in the military, never once does he remember his finger being pricked or being checked for sugar. He remembers being in Ft. Carson, CO, and they were going to have to ship him to another base because he was having so much trouble breathing - he couldn't acclimate to the higher climate.

He was stationed at 5 different sites which are now considered EPA superfund sites, and especially remembers AO being sprayed along the fenceline, regularly, at Seneca Army Depot, also a superfund site. He said they sprayed it regularly, because it was a nuke depot, and they had to keep the weeds away from the fenceline.

Anyway, any help would be appreciated on how to proceed.

Thanks in advance. :)

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First thing here is the link to the VA math that is actually on the home page. http://www.hadit.com/service_connected_disabilities_rating_calculator.php

Can you tell us what he is currently rated for? Since he had an HA on active duty is that what he is rated for.

The biggest problem is being able to prove he was exposed to AO. Does he have all of his personnel file? It will show where and when he was stationed and for how long. You will definitely need this to prove his exposure. Does he stay in contact with any of the people he was stationed with that may have any AO diseases or has been rated with one. You need to prove a link between where he was stationed and when the AO was sprayed. There is also a link on the site for AO, check it also you may find some good info there as well. Hope this helps.GOOD LUCK

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Thanks for the info Boomer.

I checked that last link, and it didn't say anything about Seneca Army Depot. That's really weird, because when they asked what was being sprayed along the fenceline, the CO told them that it was AO. But if it's not on the VA list, then I don't see how it could be proven.

He is rated:

30% for heart disease

10% for left knee tendonitis

10% for right knee tendonitis

10% for tinnitus

Many other disabilities, such as hearing loss that occured in the military, he isn't rated for at all.

We do have his personnel file that lets us know where he was stationed. He was stationed at 4 different places (not 5, my bad) that are on the Superfund site - Ft. Dix, Ft. Ord, Seneca Army Depot and Toelle Army Depot.

Looking through his medical files, he has issues with breathing, heart problems and many other things, all the way back to the early 80s, when he was in his mid-30s.

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The VA has been very "sticky" when it comes to non vietnam A/O exposure. The EPA superfund site information (Web searches) may be the best place to start. Then, you would have to convince the VA that actual exposure occurred. Finally, An independent medical opinion (IMO) would be needed to associate the A/O exposure with the appropriate medical conditions.

An example of a superfund site is the closed navy base at Treasure Island CA.

The fire fighting school used oil and other inflammable liquids to generate fire and smoke, and the fire fighting trainees then went through the smoke, sometimes in enclosed spaces, and put the fires out. Due to dioxin contamination in the oil and flammable liquids, the fire fighting school site is listed as having been contaminated by dioxin.

The VA will fight "tooth and nail" to avoid service connecting A/O presumptives based upon exposure at treasure island.

Why?

For one thing, over 50% of the "nonrated" sailors going to the far east were sent through the school, so the potential liability is extreme, and extends to those that never set foot in Vietnam.

Next, the VA traditionally has fought cases involving A/O use and exposure in countries/locations other than Vietnam.

Edited by Chuck75
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Thanks, Chuck, and hey from a fellow Georgian! :)

I've been looking all day. I think what I am going to do is send in the stuff that I found right away - things that I believe he should have been rated for a long time ago - and then I will work on the AO stuff after I get that submitted. I have a feeling the AO is going to be time consuming, because, as y'all have said, I have to "connect the dots" and prove that (for example) yes, he was in Tooele, and yes Tooele is like one gigantic toxic waste dump now, and yes he did this, this and this at Tooele, and this is why he should be rated for "this".

Not something that is going to happen overnight, because it looks like I am going to have to take each individual toxin or chemical, and research it and find out what it does, and see if it can be attributed to his disabilities.

I've also read that most people don't know this - that the VA isn't going to do the work for you, and the military isn't going to do the work for you - that if you want to prove that something made you sick, you have to do the legwork and prove how you are sick as a result of this chemical, or that toxin.

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Hate to tell you this but, you have some research to do. I would go to the superfund site and look up all of the bases where he was stationed and cross reference the chemicals that were found on each base to see if any of them were used on all of the bases where he was at. Then you can look up the health effects for each and find out if any of those cause any of the diseases your husband currently has. I know I read a report about AO that was very specific about when it was started and where it was used. I think it was on this site or VAWatchdog.org Unfortunately, it looks like you have some computer work to do. If I find anything on the AO I'll post for you.

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