Matthew Hill: Hello, and welcome to another Hill and Ponton VA video blog. I’m Matthew Hill, here with Carol Ponton.
Matthew Hill: Today we want to talk to you about service-connecting Parkinson’s. As most people know already, the VA has admitted that exposure to Agent Orange, service in Vietnam, causes Parkinson’s disease. And they will give you a presumptive service connection for that, meaning you don’t have to fight to show that one is related to the other.
Matthew Hill: There are other areas… There are other things that veterans have been exposed to in service, that do cause Parkinson’s, and there is a link between them. Unfortunately, a lot of vets don’t know about.
Matthew Hill: What have you seen, Carol?
Carol Ponton: Well… welding. Welding causes Parkinson’s, or can cause Parkinson’s. There’s a high connection between being a welder and getting Parkinson’s. And also, one of my veterans wasn’t a welder, but he cleaned up the area in the welding. And we were able to get him service connection for Parkinson’s.
Carol Ponton: So being around those fumes from welding is a terrible thing, ultimately, and it could cause Parkinson’s. So if you have Parkinson’s, and you were a welder or you were around welding, then you need to file a claim for that.
Carol Ponton: And the other thing we found is solvents. TCE, PCE… If you’ve been exposed to that, that could also cause Parkinson’s.
Carol Ponton: So knowledge is power, and you need to figure out, “What happened to me in the service? If I have Parkinson’s, have I been exposed to either one of those things?”
Matthew Hill: And I’ll say with the solvents, a lot of veterans don’t even know that they were using them. If you were in any position where you were cleaning… you know, a jet mechanic… I can’t think of any other offhand, but-
Carol Ponton: Well sometimes the aviation… the tools…
Matthew Hill: The tools themselves.
Matthew Hill: I had a client who was developing photographs. And he was in a dark room, where there was no ventilation, and when he went to clean his camera, he used these solvents, TCE in particular. It was a case we had to take all the way to BVA, but we had a favorable opinion, saying basically this man was in this room for anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day, and he was using these solvents, and there was nowhere that it would escape.
Carol Ponton: Right.
Matthew Hill: And so… Again, it might not be something on your radar, because you might not have known what solvents you were using… de-greasers… in service, but those can cause huge problems later, particularly Parkinson’s disease.
Matthew Hill: Well thank you for joining us, and we look forward to talking to you soon on another VA video blog.