Agent Orange Has Been Linked to Hormonal Disruptions
In 2021, hypothyroidism was added to the list of presumptive diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure that can receive veteran disability benefits. The addition was the latest in the chemical’s enduring legacy of hormone disruption that still affects babies born in Vietnam. Agent Orange exposure is known to cause hormonal imbalances, specifically in the hormone DHEA, which supports the normal production of sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. As recently as 2017, babies born in parts of Vietnam that were most heavily contaminated with the herbicide have much higher DHEA levels than normal. Veterans and civilians directly exposed to Agent Orange have an increased risk of endocrine diseases, which affect hormone-producing glands like the pancreas and thyroid. For example, Vietnam veterans are at higher risk of a rare thyroid condition called Graves’ disease, which causes anxiety, tremors, weight fluctuations, and bulging, irritated eyes.