AO-1 Research on Agent Orange/Dioxin Effects: The final update of Vietnam and Agent Orange, 2014 , is anticipated. VVA continues to gain cosponsors for H.R.1769 and S.901, the Toxic Exposure Research Act, which directs the VA secretary to select one VA Medical Center to serve as the national center for the research, diagnosis, and treatment of health conditions of descendants of those exposed to toxic substances while in the armed forces.
AO-2 Agent Orange/Dioxin Children’s Registry; Recognizing the Connection Between Dioxin and Learning Disabled Children: VVA continues to work closely with Birth Defect Research for Children (BDRC), the only toxic substances birth defects registry, to track information on military exposures in Vietnam and during the Gulf War. At Agent Orange town hall meetings, veterans are encouraged to register their children and grandchildren with BDRC. This registry will play a critical role when the Toxic Research Act of 2015 is enacted, providing expert testimony and toxic exposure birth defect data.
AO-4 VVA Agent Orange/Dioxin Guide: Since August 2012 VVA has distributed 115, 000 Agent Orange guides. The highly regarded guide has undergone three revisions and continues to provide timely and accurate information on Agent Orange presumptive conditions and benefits.
AO-5 Assure Proper Implementation of the Agent Orange Act of 1991: The authority to enter into agreement with the National Academy of Sciences regarding associations between diseases and exposure to dioxin and other chemical compounds was extended through December 31, 2016, so the work on Vietnam and Agent Orange Update, 2014 could be completed. The Agent Orange Extension Act, H.R.3423, was introduced in the 114th Congress and, when passed, will extend and expand the 1991 Act. We need to encourage all members of Congress to reinstate it, as it is the foundation for all other Agent Orange and toxic substances programs and research.
AO-7 Children’s Health Care: VVA chapters and state councils have convened more than two hundred Faces of Agent Orange town halls. As a result of this grassroots effort, the Toxic Research Act is before Congress. If enacted, this bill will provide for research and treatment for those offspring with birth defects and health issues associated with their parents’ exposure to toxic chemicals while in military service.
AO-8 Agent Orange/Dioxin Network: The Agent Orange network is ever-expanding. Town hall meetings continue to engage veterans in their communities; the number of followers is growing on the Faces of Agent Orange Facebook page and YouTube channel; and we are receiving an increasing number of inquiries regarding Agent Orange health effects and benefits.
AO-10 Ban the Manufacturing/Sale and Use of 2, 4-D: We continue to educate veterans and the public on the dangers of 2, 4-D.
AO-13 Agent Orange/Dioxin Awareness Month : VVA observes October as Agent Orange Awareness Month.
AO-14 Hearing Loss Added to the List of Birth Defects Due to Exposure to Agent Orange: The Toxic Exposure Research Act, when enacted, will address hearing loss and other Agent Orange-related birth defects.
AO-15 Government’s Responsibility for Veterans’ Right to Know: VVA had a recent victory in the Edgewood Chem/Bio Testing Appeal (see article, page 32), when the court affirmed an injunction ordering the U.S. Army to provide all former test subjects with any newly acquired information about the substances to which they were exposed.
AO-16 Blue Water Veterans’ Exposure During the Vietnam War: The VA has ruled on some disappointing changes in the areas that give the sailors service connection. The Blue Water Association continues to work on this issue through litigation. VVA continues to support Vietnam veterans who served in Southeast Asia in the Navy. VVA will continue to advocate for early passage of S.681 and H.R.969.
No action was taken on AO-6, AO-7, AO-9, and AO-12.
Maynard Kaderlik, Chair