Forum to focus on Agent Orange health issues for veterans

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Forty-five years after the U.S. military ceased using the chemical compound nicknamed “Agent Orange,” questions about its legacy remain.

The Tennessee State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America and VVA Chapter 1078 hope to offer some answers.

The organizations will cosponsor a program to explain Agent Orange’s history, its related diseases, its possible effects on children or grandchildren of veterans, and the claims and benefits that may be available to Vietnam veterans, dependents and their survivors.

The free meeting will be 6-9 p.m. Monday at Washington Pike United Methodist Church, 2241 Washington Pike.

The program will be followed by a question-answer period. Claims assistance will be available.

Although Agent Orange — a mixture of two herbicides used to kill crops — was used by the military during the Vietnam War, information for veterans of all conflicts will be available at the meeting.

Don Smith, president of Chapter 1078, will present “History, Diseases and Available VA Benefits.”

Tom Humphries, Knox County veterans services officer, will discuss the Gulf War and other issues.

Also present will be members of the Vietnam Veterans of America and officials of Knox County Veteran Services and the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services.

For information, call Smith at 931-335-0477.

Studies indicate various illnesses, diseases and serious health problems more common in veterans could be linked to Agent Orange. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has determined some veterans can file for compensation.

Learn more at http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/claims-postservice-agent_orange.asp.

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