New act would recognize nine more diseases caused by Agent Orange

A new legislation that was introduced would add nine more diseases to a list of illnesses assumed to be caused by Agent Orange, giving veterans who suffer from these conditions a fast-track to disability benefits and health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to an article published by Stripes.com, the Keeping Our Promises Act that was introduced at the beginning of this month will add “prostate cancer, bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension, stroke, early-onset peripheral neuropathy, AL amyoloidosis, ischemic heart disease and Parkinson-like syndromes to a list of diseases presumed to be caused by Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War.”

Last year researchers at National Academy of Medicine released findings that determined that there was “suggestive” evidence that eight of the diseases were caused by Agent Orange. The research also concluded that “sufficient” evidence exists for hypertension.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., a supporter of the new legislation said, “American heroes affected by Agent Orange deserve the peace of mind knowing that the federal government recognizes the existing link between their exposure and illness,”.

VA experts have begun an official review of the National Academy of Medicine’s recent report which is expected to be complete in the summer. Once complete, the agency will make recommendations about presumptive conditions.

Although the new act has received a lot of support, it is believed that the bill is likely to face an uphill battle in Congress. Attempts failed in Congress last year due to the VA citing high costs and insufficient scientific evidence. The agency has not yet issued an opinion on the Keeping Our Promises Act.

To learn more about the Keeping Our Promises Act, click here.