October is Agent Orange Awareness Month; a time in which communities around the world can learn about the dangerous chemical Agent Orange and how it affected American veterans and Vietnamese civilians.
Diseases caused by Agent Orange - including Chronic B-Cell Leukemia, Hodgin’s Disease, and Prostate cancer - are common among many vets who have come in contact with the substance. Agent Orange was a deadly herbicide used by the United States military to destroy Vietnam crops, which were used for cover and vegetation during the Vietnam War from 1961 up until 1971. Many veterans and civilians still suffer from their exposure and are seeking medical treatment for Agent Orange presumptive diseases. The Department of Veterans Affairs urges veterans and their families to schedule an exam with a local VA Environmental Health Coordinator if they are concerned about Agent Orange illnesses.
August 10th, 1961 marks the first day the chemical was used in Vietnam. While Agent Orange may be a surprise to some, it’s been a never-ending nightmare to the ones who were exposed to it all those years ago. This type of trauma experienced by those who were affected can severely impact an individual’s mental health or lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a common mental disorder among veterans and active-duty members that facilitates the need for mental health treatment. During Agent Orange Awareness Month, we encourage veterans or those who suffered exposure to undergo Agent Orange testing to increase the likelihood of recovery. This is an essential time when families of veterans, as well as our community, can remember and pay tribute to vets who have all sacrificed so much to serve our country.