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VA Does Not Support Blue Water Presumption

After careful review of the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, entitled, “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure,” the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has determined there is insufficient evidence to establish a presumption of exposure to herbicides for Vietnam veterans who served off the coast during the conflict.

FRA is frustrated by the decision to maintain the status quo regarding disability claims of these so-called “Blue Water” veterans and believes the IOM report validated the 2002 Royal Australian Navy study that confirmed the desalinization process used on Australian and U.S. Navy ships actually magnified the dioxin exposure.  The Association will continue to seek a legislative remedy to reverse the current VA policy so that Blue Water veterans and military retirees who have health problems commonly associated with herbicide exposure will be eligible for service-related VA medical and disability benefits.