Seeking Justice for Generations Affected by Herbicide Exposure

For decades, the Department of Veterans Affairs collected reams of data on the children of Vietnam War vets. 

The research shows that endocrine-disrupting chemicals like dioxin can alter genes and impact multiple generations. The VA recognizes these effects and provides benefits for children of Vietnam War veterans.

Birth Defects

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange over dense jungle foliage to kill weeds and remove places for the enemy to hide. This toxic defoliant is now linked to a variety of health issues, including congenital disabilities like cleft lip and palate and spina bifida.

A new study by experts finds that the offspring of male veterans who handled or sprayed Agent Orange had a higher rate of congenital disabilities than did the offspring of those who did not take or spray this herbicide. This finding contradicts previous studies by the Air Force, where researchers found no link between Agent Orange and congenital disabilities.

Epigenetics advances could explain this discrepancy, demonstrating that exposure to chemicals can alter genetic expression, potentially passing mutations down through multiple generations. This is especially true for fetuses, as dioxin, stored in fatty cells, can affect the reproductive system by modifying DNA.


When Vietnam veterans started returning home from the war, they noticed that some of their children had unusual diseases or defects like missing limbs and extra limbs. This was because of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange. 

Furthermore, the Agent Orange offspring lawsuit seeks justice and compensation for the children of veterans who were exposed to the harmful effects of the herbicide during the Vietnam War.

A dangerous chemical called 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (better known as dioxin) is found in Agent Orange and other defoliants the military sprayed in Vietnam. Numerous illnesses and conditions, including cancers that affect the reproductive system, can be brought on by this substance.

Studies show that those who were exposed to Agent Orange have a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer. It also causes other diseases that affect the nervous, immune and digestive systems. Experts say that over 40 percent of all cancers affecting the male organs and genitals are linked to exposure to Agent Orange. This is because of the high level of dioxin in the herbicides. Those who served in the military and have these types of cancers may be entitled to compensation for their illnesses.

Mental Health Issues

In addition to the physical damage caused by exposure to Agent Orange, many veterans have suffered from mental health issues as well. The VA lists these conditions as presumptive for Service Connection, meaning they can be compensated.

During the Vietnam War, the military sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange over dense jungle foliage to destroy food plants and eliminate hiding places for enemy soldiers. Many of these chemical herbicides were later found to be toxic to humans.

Researchers in the burgeoning field of epigenetics have recently discovered that chemicals like Agent Orange can alter genes and lead to problems for offspring generations later. Parents can pass these changes on to their offspring and grandchildren.

Studies have shown that male veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange had a higher chance of fathering children with spina bifida or other congenital disabilities. This is because the herbicides harmed the parent’s reproductive organs and cells.


Those who served during the war can seek disability compensation for diseases associated with Agent Orange through direct service connection or presumptive service connection. Veterans who have children with congenital disabilities related to exposure to the herbicide can also seek benefits.

For example, studies have shown that veterans who handled, sprayed or were directly exposed to Agent Orange are more likely to father children with congenital disabilities. These include spina bifida, cleft palate and cleft lip, hip dislocations, heart defects and hypospadias.

Other structural congenital disabilities such as extra limbs, hip problems and spinal cord defects have also been linked to paternal exposure to dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange. The VA recognizes these congenital disabilities as presumptive service-connected conditions and can provide disability compensation, medical treatment, housing assistance, rehabilitation and home improvements, life insurance and education assistance for affected children. The spouses and dependent children of Vietnam Veterans can also seek benefits through survivor benefits. To qualify, a Veteran must meet specific requirements regarding time of service and other factors.

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