Recently the VA just denied benefits to American Veterans, stationed on Navy Ships -- this excludes those stationed on harbors and inland rivers. Navy Vets claim the distilled water their ships sucked for showering, drinking, cooking, and laundry in were contaminated with Agent Orange. Experts have said the distillation process could have actually concentrated the Agent Orange, which contained the toxic chemical dioxin.
Last April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims struck down VA rules that denied compensation for sailors whose ships docked at certain harbors in South Vietnam, including Da Nang. Those ports, the court determined, could potentially have been in the Agent Orange spraying area. The court ordered the VA to review its policy. But on Friday, the VA largely stood by its old policy and once again asserted that there’s no scientific justification or legal requirement for covering veterans who served off the coast.
The Institute of Medicine report said there was no way to prove Blue Water vets were exposed to the chemicals, but it identified plausible routes that Agent Orange could have traveled out to sea and into a ship’s distillation system. Although military policy at the time recommended against distilling water closer than 10 miles to shore — where the chemical concentration would have been highest — veterans said doing so was often unavoidable, and their commanding officers routinely ordered it.
The VA said it is working with veterans groups to “initiate a groundbreaking study of Blue Water Navy Veterans health outcomes. We hope to have data gathered and analyses published in 2017.”
Listen to this brief but important segment in which an American Veteran talks about his exposure to dioxin and how it has effected his kids.