Tester praises VA for expanding treatment to Agent Orange victims

VA to consider Parkinson’s Disease and ischemic heart disease illnesses caused by herbicide exposure

(ANACONDA, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement in response to the Veterans’ Administration expanding its list of diseases presumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War:

“I applaud the VA for taking the next step to acknowledge that thousands of Vietnam veterans are still suffering the painful wounds of Agent Orange exposure.  When it comes to doing right by our Vietnam veterans, we’re far from finished.  But this is a good step forward and I encourage all of Montana’s Vietnam veterans who think they may be eligible for assistance to contact their veteran service organizations, the VA or my office for more information.”

When the new rule goes into effect in 60 days, the VA will consider Parkinson’s Disease, ischemic heart disease and chronic B-cell leukemias (such as hairy cell leukemia) as illnesses caused by Agent Orange, a powerful chemical herbicide.

The new rule means Vietnam veterans who suffer from those diseases may be eligible for benefits.  Veterans who served in Vietnam anytime between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.

Tester encouraged all interested Montana veterans and their families to find more information online at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/AO/claimherbicide.htm, or by calling his office toll-free at 866-554-4403.