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The Nation

October 15, 1987

Legislation that would force the government to provide disability benefits to thousands of Vietnam War veterans suffering illnesses caused by the herbicide Agent Orange was introduced in both houses of Congress. The measure was offered in response to a Veterans Administration study that found considerably higher rates of cancer among Marines who served in Vietnam than those who did not. However, VA officials asserted the report did not explain the disparity. An estimated 29,000 servicemen have applied for disability, citing the effects of Agent Orange. Sponsors of the measure, which will be referred to the veterans committees in both chambers, could not estimate the costs of offering disability to individuals who qualify for assistance.

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