During Agent Orange Awareness Month, which is recognized yearly in October, Assemblywoman and Chair of the Assembly Military & Veterans Affairs Committee Cleopatra Tucker is working to raise awareness about the topic.
‘Agent Orange’ was an herbicide used by the United States during the Vietnam War to destroy cover provided by dense plants. It was later revealed that one of the chemicals used in Agent Orange can cause both immediate and long-term health problems in those exposed to it.
Unfortunately, many veterans of the Vietnam War experienced an array of medical issues as a result of their exposure, including rashes, psychological symptoms, Type 2 diabetes and cancer, as well as miscarriages and birth defects in their children.
In response to the problems reported by veterans, those who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are eligible for compensation related to their ailments. This now includes veterans who served in the offshore waters of Vietnam during that time period as well, due to the recent Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.
To help raise awareness about the issue and share resources with veterans and their families, Assemblywoman Tucker (D-Essex) issued the following statement:
“It is tragic that so many Vietnam veterans have suffered health problems because of their exposure to this herbicide. Before Agent Orange Awareness Month ends, I want to spread the word about available resources that can help vets deal with the effects of this known carcinogen.
“Veterans who fit the existing service criteria – which now includes Navy members who served offshore – do not have to prove their exposure to the herbicide; exposure is automatically presumed.
“If you are a vet who is experiencing one or more of over a dozen ailments associated with Agent Orange, I encourage you to get in touch with your local Veterans Affairs office to discuss how to access the benefits you are eligible to receive. This may also apply to your children if they have been affected as a result of your exposure.
“The clear message I want to send to Vietnam vets throughout our state is; you are not alone in your fight. This country owes you our assistance in dealing with any health problems you are facing because of your service, so please make sure to utilize the resources available to you.”