Agent Orange was one of the weed-killing chemicals used by the U.S. military in the Vietnam War. It was sprayed to remove leaves from trees that enemy troops hid behind. Agent Orange and similar chemicals were known as “herbicides.” Agent Orange was applied by airplanes, helicopters, trucks and backpack sprayers.
In the 1970’s some veterans became concerned that exposure to Agent Orange might cause delayed health effects. One of the chemicals in Agent Orange contained small amounts of dioxin (also known as “TCDD”), which had been found to cause a variety of illnesses in laboratory animals. More recent studies have suggested that dioxin may be related to several types of cancer and other disorders.
VA pays disability compensation to Vietnam veterans with injuries or diseases that began in, or were aggravated by, their military service. These disabilities are called "service-related" or "service-connected."
For the purposes of disability compensation, VA presumes that Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides if they served:
- In Vietnam anytime between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 (includes service aboard a ship that operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam or visits ashore). Check VA's list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships that operated in Vietnam. In or near the Korean demilitarized zone anytime between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971
- These Veterans do not need to prove that they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides to qualify for disability compensation.
- Apply for disability compensation online
VA provides health care, monthly disability compensation, and vocational rehabilitation to the children of Vietnam veterans suffering from the serious birth defect spina bifida, which has been linked to the veterans' exposure to Agent Orange