WASHINGTON (CN) – Two years after the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine reported a connection between the disease AL amyloidosis and the herbicide known as “Agent Orange,” the Department of Veterans Affairs has begun to allow treatment and disability benefits for it without a showing that military service caused the condition, according to a new regulation.
The presumption applies to pending applications and new claims, and in certain cases claims that have been denied.
Agent Orange or other herbicides were used to knock back jungle underbrush hiding the enemy during the Vietnam War. Veterans who served in Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to it for the purposes of this rule.
AL amyloidosis, also known as systemic amyloidosis, is a rare condition that can cause serious changes in nearly any organ of the body. Chemotherapy is used to treat it, but it often can cause serious damage before it is diagnosed.
Certain symptoms of AL amyloidosis must disable a Veteran to a degree of 10 percent within a year of the last exposure to the toxin for the presumption to be triggered.
Conditions that are presumed to be service connected if they cause a degree of disability of 10 percent at any time after exposure are: acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy, porphyria cutanea tarda, Chloracne, prostate cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx and trachea), Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myleoma, acute soft-tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Type II diabetes mellitus.