29 January 2016

BVA Cites VA Consultant's Flawed Reports to Deny Veteran's Disability Claim

The Board of Veterans Appeals instructed the RO to refer the case to the JSRRC to corroborate the Veteran's claimed exposure. The list of DOD Agent Orange storage, transport and testing sites was compiled in 2006 by a consultant who disagrees with the harmful effects of Agent Orange exposure. The list is considered a DOD list because it is controlled by the Armed Forces Pest Management Board but mostly used by VA to confirm or deny veterans' claims for duty in such areas.

Problem: The list hasn't been updated in nine years and even the consultant in 2012 agreed it was obsolete and required extensive updating. VA is wrong to deny claims citing such an obsolete and unreliable document. VA must have agreed because in 2012 (a year BEFORE the claim below was denied) it provided a no-bid sole source $600,000 contract to the consultant for review of all such material.

"In March 2013, the RO also contacted the U.S. Army Garrison/Armed Forces Pest Management Board and requested that they verify the use of herbicides on or around bases in Okinawa, Japan, from February 1974 to May 1976 an April 2013 Memorandum, the Armed Forces Pest Management Board (U.S. Army Garrison Forest Glen) responded that a recently published report by Dr. Alvin Young titled "Investigations into Allegations of Herbicide Orange on Okinawa, Japan" provides the most complete data available on this subject. 
Dr. Young's findings were that there were no documents or records to validate that Herbicide Orange was shipped to or through, unloaded, used or buried on Okinawa. The internet link to the full report was provided. 
VA Compensation and Pension Service has reviewed a listing of herbicide use and test sites outside Vietnam provided to VA by the Department of Defense (DoD). This list contains 71 sites within the U.S. and in foreign countries where tactical herbicides, such as Agent Orange, were used, tested, or stored. Testing and evaluations of these tactical herbicides were conducted by or under the direction of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps, Fort Detrick, Maryland."

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