Toxic exposures may cause or be associated with reproductive or generational health effects.
VA recognizes and offers some support for the children, with certain birth defects, of qualifying veterans affected by Agent Orange.
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has opined that, “there is inadequate or insufficient evidence to determine whether there is an association between parental exposure to the [chemicals of interest such as Agent Orange and other herbicides] and birth defects, childhood cancers, or disease in their children as they mature or in later generations.” [Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014]
Nevertheless, VA has recognized that certain birth defects among veterans’ children are associated with veterans’ qualifying service that presumes exposures to Agent Orange or other herbicides.
- Spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta), a defect in the developing fetus that results in incomplete closing of the spine, is associated with veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides.
- Birth defects in children of women Veterans are associated with their wartime military service in Vietnam but are not associated with herbicide exposure.
- VA: Benefits for Veterans’ Children with Birth Defects
- Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA): Has Your Child or Grandchild’s Health Been Affected by Your Military Service?
VA does not currently recognize or offer support for the children, with birth defects, of veterans affected by Gulf War exposures.
A 2018 report of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) evaluated “the scientific and medical literature on reproductive and developmental effects and health outcomes associated with Gulf War and Post-9/11 exposures, and designates research areas requiring further scientific study on potential health effects in the descendants of veterans of any era.”
The NASEM report, entitled “Gulf War and Health: Volume 11: Generational Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War,” had numerous findings regarding adverse reproductive and generational health outcomes relative to Gulf War and Post-9/11 veterans.
Those conclusions are summarized in the concise chart below, produced by Veterans for Common Sense from the NASEM report’s findings. You may also download the chart in PDF format.
VA has not yet recognized any birth defects among Gulf War veterans’ children as associated with veterans’ qualifying Gulf War service.
VA does not currently recognize or offer support for the children, with birth defects, of veterans affected by Camp Lejeune exposures.
Successive reports of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) evaluated the scientific and medical literature on health effects related to exposure to contaminants (solvents) in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune
The NASEM reports had numerous findings regarding adverse reproductive health outcomes and the potential for adverse health outcomes in infants and children exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated drinking water. The reports are as follows:
- NASEM 2009 – “Contaminated Water Supplies at Camp Lejeune: Assessing Potential Health Effects“
- NASEM 2015 – “Review of VA clinical guidance for the health conditions identified by the Camp Lejeune legislation“
VA has not yet recognized any birth defects among veterans’ children associated with veterans’ qualifying Camp Lejeune service.
VA does provide medical care to qualifying Camp Lejeune-exposed veterans, spouses, and children for 15 conditions:
Additionally, VA also has determined that 8 separate conditions are presumptive for VA service-connected disability claims for veterans.
- VA’s Public Health webpage on Camp Lejeune military exposures
- VA: Camp Lejeune Family Member Program webpage