What Is Chloracne?
Chloracne is a rare skin eruption of blackheads, cysts and nodules which has been linked directly to dioxin exposure, a key component of Agent Orange. Mild forms may resemble teenage acne, while more serious forms may cause permanent scarring or persist for years after the exposure period. Chloracne is the only skin disorder associated with Agent Orange and other similar herbicides, although not all people who are exposed to dioxin develop chloracne.
The most common symptoms of chloracne exposure include excessive oiliness of the skin, the appearance of numerous blackheads, and oftentimes the development of fluid-filled cysts and dark body hair. In mild cases, blackheads typically develop around the eyes and temples and are contained to those areas. In more severe cases, blackheads can develop on the cheekbones and other facial areas, as well as the neck and arms. Open sores and permanent scarring can result from severe cases.
Minor cases of chloracne tend to disappear over time, but the more severe cases may persist for years after exposure. Due to the connection between Agent Orange exposure and the development of chloracne, the VA allows veterans with chloracne to gain presumptive service connection for their condition, provided the chloracne appeared to a degree of 10 percent or more (see disability rating schedule below) within one year of exposure to the herbicide and the veteran served in an area of presumptive exposure during their time in the military.
How Does The VA Rate Chloracne?
Under 38 CFR § 4.118, the VA rates chloracne as follows:
Diagnostic Code 7829: Chloracne
- 30 – Deep acne (deep inflamed nodules and pus-filled cysts) affecting 40 percent or more of the face and neck
- 20 – Deep acne (deep inflamed nodules and pus-filled cysts) affecting the intertriginous areas (the axilla of the arm, the anogenital region, skin folds of the breasts, or between digits)
- 10 – Deep acne (deep inflamed nodules and pus-filled cysts) affecting less than 40 percent of the face and neck; or deep acne affecting non-intertriginous areas of the body (other than the face and neck)
- 0 – Superficial acne (comedones, papules, pustules) of any extent
Chloracne can be physically painful and also lead to associated psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other similar impairments. Due to these secondary conditions, some veterans with chloracne may be unable to work, even if their total schedular disability rating is still below 100 percent. Under these circumstances, veterans are eligible for a total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) rating, where they would receive compensation at the 100 percent rate as long as they are unable to follow a substantially gainful occupation.
Help With Your Chloracne VA Claim
If you are veteran with chloracne who has tried to get service connection for your condition due to Agent Orange exposure, but has been denied by the VA, or is applying for service connection for the first time, please contact our office today. Our experienced veterans disability lawyers are ready to help you get the compensation you are entitled to.