01.13.15

Burr Releases Statement Following Report on Post-Vietnam Agent Orange Exposure in C-123 Aircraft

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) released the following statement after reviewing the report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which examined the potential that C-123 aircraft flown and maintained by Air Force Reserve crews from 1972 to 1982 were contaminated by Agent Orange residue from their service in Vietnam and that those crews and maintainers were likely exposed to unsafe levels of Agent Orange dioxin.

The IOM’s report concurs with earlier findings from the CDC, which found that the contamination during that ten year period would have posed a significantly higher health risk for Air Force Reserve personnel.

In 2012, Senator Burr asked the VA Inspector General to take a close look at whether or not VA had an unwritten policy of “blanket denial” for the C-123 veterans. The VA Secretary assured Senator Burr there was no such policy; however, with the exception of one veteran who was granted disability in 2013, no other veteran has been approved without their case being decided by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

“The VA's delay has gone on long enough. IOM’s report confirms what the VA already knew: C123K crewmembers were exposed to dangerous levels of Agent Orange. Instead of ignoring widely accepted science for three years and then commissioning an expensive study of that well founded science, the VA could have been caring for these veterans. They now have what they need to start helping these veterans,” said Senator Burr. “I know Chairman Isakson will continue to pursue this issue and ensure these post-Vietnam veterans are treated to the same standard as other veterans exposed to Agent Orange.”

Read IOM’s report here