In November 2012, we published a short article entitled Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions – A Nation’s Belated Acknowledgement to Vietnam-Era Veterans. As the above article documents, while respiratory cancers are considered presumptively service connected to herbicide exposure, restrictive lung diseases (such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)) are not. But cf. Combee v. Brown, 34 F.3d 1039 (Fed. Cir. 1994) (the Veterans’ Dioxin and Radiation Exposure Compensation Standards (Radiation Compensation) Act, does not preclude establishing entitlement to service connection with proof of actual direct causation).
Establishing direct service connection for restrictive lung diseases, such as COPD, will be difficult absent a solid medical nexus statement from the veteran’s physician. That said, there is significant medical and scientific research analyzing the correlation between dioxin exposure and conditions such as COPD. For those veterans seeking compensation for such conditions, I have provided citations and links to some of the operative studies on the issue:
1. Chiba, Takahito, et al., Role of the Arylhydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) in the Pathology of Asthma and COPD, Journal of Allergy, Vol. 2012 (2012)), at http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ja/2012/372384/
2. Cypel Y., and Kang H., Mortality patterns of Army Chemical Corps veterans who were occupationally exposed to herbicides in Vietnam, Ann. Epidemiol.; Vol. 20:339-346 (2010), at http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1167&context=publichealthresources
3. Bertazzi, Peter A., et al., The Seveso Studies on Earl and Long-Term Effects of Dioxin Exposure: A Review, Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 106, Supp. 2 (April 1998), at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1533388/
If you are confused about how to advocate of your VA disability compensation or pension claim, please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation at sdirector@FRE-L.com or (732) 382-6070.