Department of Veterans Services

Agent Orange InformationPatriot Flag

What is Agent Orange?

Agent  Orange was the code name for a herbicide that was used during the Vietnam conflict, between 1962 and 1971. The name Agent Orange was a military code name that described the orange-striped 55-gallon drums that the herbicide was shipped in.  The purpose of agent orange was to deny enemy cover and concealment in dense terrain by defoliating trees and shrubbery where the enemy could hide. 

How many people were exposed?

An estimated 2.4 million Americans (in addition to allied forces and the Vietnamese people) were exposed in various ways to herbicides.

The project code-name for the Agent Orange application during the Vietnam conflict was Operation Ranchhand.  It  successfully removed vegetation from an area about the size of the state of Massachussetts. 

More than 10 million gallons of herbicide was sprayed by the United States in South Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict. Herbicides were sprayed from aircraft, watercraft, trucks, and backpack sprayers. The herbicide flowed into rivers and streams when it rained, and was on the ground and vegetation when troops moved through an area. 

What's the Problem?

The Agent Orange used in Vietnam was later found to be extremely contaminated with a dioxin.  The dioxin found in Agent Orange is thought to be harmful to humans, and it has been determined that it may pose health problems. Although, there has been a great deal of debate over the risks of dioxin exposure, many believe that it is dangerous to humans. Veterans-related service organizations and advocacy groups, the media, the scientific community, the U.S. Government, and even individual veterans claim a host of health conditions are the result of exposure to Agent Orange.

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What ten Conditions are associated with Agent Orange exposure?

As the result of research and several U.S. Court decisions, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has rewritten their regulations governing Agent Orange exposure claims. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, after much research and litigation has acknowledged TEN conditions that can be associated herbicide exposure in the veteran and one condition in the children of an exposed veteran. These conditions are:


Condition                                              Description
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) - Describes a group of malignant tumors that effect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue.
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT) - A liver dysfunction characterized by thinning and blistering of the skin particularly in sun-exposed areas of the body.  
Chloracne - Skin condition that looks like common forms of acne that affects teenagers. Chloracne may result in flaking or peeling skin. In severe cases it may result in open sores and permanent scars. Chloracne may be difficult to distinguish  from common forms of acne.
Multiple Myeloma - Cancer of the bone marrow, which is also known as plasma cell myeloma.
Respiratory Cancer - (lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea)

Cancers of the Respiratory system
Hodgkin's Disease - Malignant lymphoma (tumor of the lymphatic tissue) characterized by progressive anemia and enlargement of the lymph nodes.
Soft Tissue Sarcomas (STS) - A group of  25 different types of tumors that are found in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood, lymph vessels, and connective tissues.
Peripheral Neuropathy (Acute or Subacute) - Degenerative condition of the peripheral nervous system (approved  November 1996).
Prostate Cancer - Cancer of the prostate gland (approved November 1996).
Diabetes Mellitus (Type II) - Characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body's inability to process the hormone insulin.
Spina Bifida - (disabled children of Agent Orange exposed veterans.)
 A very serious condition of the nervous system in which the vertebral column of a developing fetus fails to close. (This is the only condition the VA pays compensation for a child of a veteran).
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - Results from an acquired injury to the DNA of a single cell, a lymphocyte, in the marrow.

Is there Compensation or Medical Care? 

Yes, compensation is available from the VA for any of the conditions shown above. You may also be eligible for health care for conditions not currently associated with herbicide exposure if you had Vietnam service. 

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How do I get Help or More Information?

One of our Veterans Service Representatives is available to discuss Agent Orange claims or any veterans' related issue with you.  

Jeanne Thick, Director
Department of Veteran Services
1101 Beach St.
Flint, MI  48502
(810) 257-3068

Hours:  Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am - 11:45 am
 and 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm