Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1051 held a town hall meeting in London, Ky., recently, to discuss the health problems related to Agent Orange exposure that can affect veterans and their families. Chapter President David Cowherd and Mokie Pratt Porter, VVA’s national communications director, appeared.
Cowherd and Porter outlined a range of diseases that have been diagnosed in Vietnam veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange, as well as those diagnosed in their biological children. “You don’t die from Agent Orange,” Cowherd told the crowd. “You die from exposure to it. Your death certificate will say cancer of some kind.”
Agent Orange and related defoliants were used heavily in Vietnam, and stored at American bases such as Fort Knox in Kentucky. Those exposed have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy and other physical disorders. The Department of Veterans Affairs created an Agent Orange Registry in 1978 to address health concerns resulting from exposure.
“A lot of people say they were just there for a couple of months or weren’t in combat,” Cowherd said. “But if you had your feet on the ground in Vietnam, you were exposed to Agent Orange.”