OZARK, Mo. -- A woman whose husband died eight years ago from brain cancer has won an appeal at the U.S. Veterans Administration. Sheree Evans claimed his death resulted from Edward Evans' exposure to Agent Orange when he was a Marine in the Vietnam War. A law firm in the Washington, D.C., area says the ruling means Evans will receive widow's benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The law firm, Bergmann & Moore, says the ruling is the first time that the VA has admitted a link between Agent Orange exposure and glioblastoma multiforme, the brain cancer that killed Edward Evans in 2003. It says the ruling on Jan. 26 by the Court of Appeals for Veterans Appeals could mean other Vietnam War veterans with brain cancer and their survivors could also win VA benefits.
Agent Orange is a chemical that U.S. military officials used to kill foliage in the jungles of Vietnam to try to make it more difficult for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers to hide from and ambush U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers and Marines. Studies link exposure to dioxin TCDD, an ingredient in Agent Orange, to cancers in laboratory animals. Because of the studies and other human ailments linked to the chemical, Agent Orange is no longer used.