The search for elevated rates of disease among soldiers exposed to Agent Orange is never-ending, and since diseases do not occur at a perfectly uniform rate throughout the population, occasionally there's bound to be a disease that's unusually common among the vets. (For more on the variation in disease rates, see ACSH's booklet on Cancer Clusters.)
Despite a lack of evidence that it was caused by Agent Orange, having the disease chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, is now grounds for Agent Orange-exposed vets to receive improved benefits, such as disability compensation and priority health care services, starting in about a year, according to a statement made Thursday by Secretary Anthony Principi of the Veterans Affairs Department, as reported by the Associated Press.
In the midst of the controversy, one undeniable epidemiological truth was uttered by a pro-veteran activist and is worth recording:
"At the rate we are going, little by little bit, we are all going to be dead."
Vietnam Veterans of America government relations director Rick Wiedman
For a look at other chemical controversies, check out ACSH's new book, Are Children More Vulnerable to Environmental Chemicals?