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Porphyria Cutanea Tarda and Agent Orange

VA presumes porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is related to Veterans' exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service when the disease appears within one year of exposure to Agent Orange to a degree of at least 10 percent disabling by VA's rating regulations.

About porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT)

Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is a disorder characterized by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas.

Symptoms are: blisters on areas of the skin exposed to the sun such as the face, arms, and hands followed by crusting and scarring; hyperpigmentation; increased hair growth on areas exposed to the sun; and liver damage.

Visit Medline Plus to learn about treatment of porphyria, the latest medical research and more from the National Institutes of Health.

VA benefits for porphyria cutanea tarda

Veterans with porphyria cutanea tarda that appeared within one year of exposure to Agent Orange to a degree of at least 10 percent disabling by VA's rating regulations may be eligible for disability compensation and health care.

Veterans who served in Vietnam, the Korean demilitarized zone or another area where Agent Orange was sprayed may be eligible for a free Agent Orange registry health exam.

Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to herbicides during military service and died as the result of porphyria cutanea tarda may be eligible for survivors' benefits.

Research on porphyria cutanea tarda and herbicides

The Health and Medicine Division (HMD) (formally known as the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded in its 1994 report on "Veterans and Agent Orange: Health Effects of Herbicides Used in Vietnam" that there was sufficient evidence of an association between exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam and PCT. However, in 1996, HMD reviewed new research and determined that there is only limited or suggestive evidence of an association.

The revised conclusion, however, did not change VA's decision that PCT in Veterans who were exposed to herbicides used in Vietnam was caused by their military service when porphyria cutanea tarda appears within one year of exposure to Agent Orange, and is at least 10 percent disabling.

View more research on health effects of Agent Orange.


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