Agent Orange Linked to Risk of Parkinson's, Heart Disease

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2009 3:11 PM CDT
A wounded US paratrooper grimacing in pain while waiting for medical evacuation at base camp in the A Shau Valley near the Laos border in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Exposure to Agent Orange appears to increase the risk of developing heart disease and Parkinson’s, a congressionally mandated report says. The carcinogenic defoliant has not been definitively linked with the illnesses, but a professor who led the report says there is “limited or suggestive evidence of an association." More evidence of a link is likely to emerge as Vietnam veterans exposed to the chemical grow older, HealthDay News reports.

"The chemical exposure did some damage that starts to be expressed as our bodies become more fragile" with age, he explains. Another doc notes that herbicides in general have long been linked to Parkinson’s, but “these specific cast characters, I waffle about how strong that evidence is at this time.”