(Washington, D.C.) – After reviewing scientific studies of the past few years, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has determined there is “limited or suggestive evidence” of an association between Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease with exposure to Agent Orange.
“We thank the IOM for their efforts and applaud them for their conclusions,” said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). “Now, we urge the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to immediately make Vietnam veterans with either of these conditions eligible for disability compensation as well as health care, and we will petition him to do precisely this.
“We also urge the Secretary to reconsider hypertension, which the IOM, in its 2006 report concerning Vietnam veterans and Agent Orange, also found elevated evidence of an association,” Rowan said.
“We do believe that the IOM must focus on what we consider to be the very real association between a veteran’s exposure while serving in Southeast Asia and the birth defects, learning disabilities, and cancers, not only in his children but in his grandchildren as well,” Rowan said. “We continue to get far too many calls from the children of veterans who wonder if their father’s experiences in Vietnam–and along the demilitarized zone in Korea in 1968 and 1969–has any connection with their health issues and now those of their children.
“Let’s not wait for an army to die, and for our children to be forgotten,” Rowan said. “The time for real action is now.”