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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 10, 2020 12:59 PM
From: Representative Robert F. Matzie
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution: Designating the Month of October 2020, “Agent Orange Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania
I will be introducing a resolution that would designate October 2020, as “Agent Orange Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.

The Vietnam War was the longest conflict in American history, during which time the government of South Vietnam and its primary ally, the United States, fought against the communist government of North Vietnam and a South Vietnamese guerilla force, commonly known as the Viet Cong.

During the Vietnam War, American servicepersons displayed heroic courage and determination under some of the most difficult circumstances ever encountered in United States military history. Approximately 498,000 men and women from this Commonwealth served during the Vietnam War era, an estimated 172,000 of whom directly participated in the war.

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States military developed Agent Orange and other herbicide combinations for use in combat operations to remove trees and dense tropical foliage that provided enemy cover. The name Agent Orange comes from the orange identifying stripes that were used on the 55-gallon drums in which the herbicide was stored. Approximately 19 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides were used during the Vietnam War.

Thousands of Vietnam War veterans have died as a result of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides, and thousands more still suffer from cancer and other health disorders caused by exposure to Agent Orange. Veterans with Agent Orange-related health problems live with the knowledge that genetic damage resulting from exposure to Agent Orange may be handed down through generations.

I believe it is important to note that the federal government concluded that certain diseases are linked to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War. 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.

I hope you will join me in honoring those who bravely served our country in the Vietnam War and who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and other dangerous herbicides.

Introduced as HR1019