‘Agent Orange Awareness Month’ proclaimed by Matzie resolution

HARRISBURG, Oct. 2 – October will be “Agent Orange Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania, per a resolution from state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, that gained unanimous House approval today.

Matzie said his H.R. 508 serves as a reminder that approximately 19 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides were used during the Vietnam War, saddling thousands of veterans with exposure-related cancers, other health disorders and death.

“Veterans with Agent Orange-related health problems live with the knowledge that genetic damage resulting from their exposure may be handed down through generations,” Matzie said. “In fact, federal law provides for the presumption that certain diseases are a direct result of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War.”

Matzie said approximately 498,000 men and women from Pennsylvania served during the Vietnam War era, with an estimated 172,000 of them directly participating in the war.

“At the time, this was the longest conflict in American history, and American servicepersons displayed heroic courage and determination under some of the most difficult circumstances ever encountered by the U.S. military,” Matzie said. “Years after the conflict officially ended, many of them found out that they were also fighting a previously unseen enemy in the after-effects of Agent Orange.”

Matzie said his resolution also honors those who bravely served our country in Vietnam and who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and other dangerous herbicides.