Agent Orange & Other Toxic Exposures

Helicopter spreading herbicide

In some cases, veterans who develop Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service.

Agent Orange

The U.S. military used the powerful herbicide known as Agent Orange as a tactic to defoliate trees in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975. Its name comes from the orange band that was used around the storage barrel. The main chemical in the herbicide is called dioxin, which has been associated with diseases and disabilities among those who may have been exposed to them.

Veterans who were in Vietnam, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, on Thai Air Force bases, who flew on or worked on C-123 Aircraft or were stationed at locations where herbicides were tested or stored outside Vietnam may have been exposed to Agent Orange. These Veterans may be eligible for a free Agent Orange registry exam, disability compensation and other U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits.

To learn more visit the VA page on eligibility and hazardous materials or call the Agent Orange Helpline at 1-800-749-8387.

To view the list of potential exposure locations, visit the VA page on Exposure to Agent Orange by Location.

Other Exposure Locations

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veteran Act

As of January 1, 2020, a new law titled the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veteran Act of 2019 allows Blue Water Navy Veterans to apply for Agent Orange exposure claims. Blue Water Navy Veterans are those who served offshore on a Blue Water Navy vessel or another U.S. Navy or Coast Guard vessel off the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.

Korean Demilitarized Zone

Veterans who served in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971 and who have a disease the VA recognizes as associated with Agent Orange exposure are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides. These veterans do not have to show they were exposed to Agent Orange to be eligible for disability compensation.

C-123 Aircraft

Air Force and Air Force reserve personnel who, between 1969 and 1986, regularly maintained, or served onboard the same C-123 aircraft that were used to spray herbicides during the Vietnam may be eligible for expanded disability benefits.

Thailand Military Bases

The VA considers on a case-by-case basis, disability benefits claims based on exposure to herbicides on a U.S. military base in Thailand or Royal Thai Air Force base between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.

Herbicide Tests and Storage Outside Vietnam

Agent Orange and other herbicides used in Vietnam were tested or stored elsewhere, including military installations in the United States and in countries outside the United States.

Other Causes

Camp Lejeune

Veterans with Parkinson’s who were stationed at Camp Lejeune for no less than 30 days between Aug 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987 may be eligible for additional benefits. Learn more on the VA webpage: Camp Lejeune: Past Water Contamination.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Veterans with Parkinson’s diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) may be eligible for additional disability benefits. In December 2013, the VA released final regulation recognizing Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonism as a secondary condition to service-connected moderate or severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Learn more on the VA webpage: VA to Expand Benefits for Traumatic Brain Injury.

To apply for service-connected disabilities visit the eBenefits page on Disability Compensation or call Veteran Benefits Administration at 1-800-827-1000.


For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Veterans Day Bonus Episode”.


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