Birth Defect Research for Children has worked with Vietnam veterans’ families since 1986 when the first Agent Orange Class Assistance Programs were funded. Although BDRC did not have AOCAP funding, we worked with the University of South Carolina in case work that involved counseling with veterans’ families and creating a series of fact sheets on the disabilities they were reporting in their children. During this time BDRC also began the first initiative to set up the National Birth Defect Registry, partly to collect the information being reported by the veterans.
BDRC worked with the New Jersey Agent Orange Commission to develop the Vietnam veterans’ exposure section of the registry questionnaire. BDRC has collected information from thousands of families of Vietnam veterans and has found a consistent pattern of disabilities in their children. These data have been presented to the National Academy of Sciences, congressional committees, the Veterans’ Administration and in national media forums.
Just a year after veterans starting returning from the first Gulf War, BDRC started receiving case reports in their children. The registry’s scientific advisory board recommended designing a special section of the National Birth Defect Registry to collect data on these cases.