Agent Orange/Dioxin and Other Toxic Exposures Committee
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October Is Agent Orange Awareness Month
Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee Report, September/October 2014
Major Headway In Kansas
The wind blew the dust from the streets, and Dorothy clicked the heels of her ruby slippers. The temperature rose to nearly a hundred degrees one day, and terrible thunderstorms covered the plains. This was the setting for the VVA Leadership & Education Conference in Wichita, Kansas.
But this didn’t seem to bother anyone. Business was done and ideas passed around. It was a particularly busy conference for anyone involved with the Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee. First, we had a how-to session for putting on a town hall meeting. Almost every seat in the room was filled. The next day the Kansas State Council held a town hall meeting. Due to the high interest, we had to move the meeting to a larger room.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) discussed his recently introduced Toxic Exposure Research and Military Family Support Act (S-2738), which replaces the Blumenthal bill (S-1602). The main difference is that S-1602 provided compensation for veterans’ progeny, while S-2738 does not. S-2738 concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of all veterans exposed to toxins and their progeny. That means the generations of our children plagued by so many health issues will finally get some answers. The Moran bill provides for testing and treatment of conditions linked to veterans’ toxic exposure.
VVA President John Rowan spoke about the invisible wounds of war and how the symptoms may not manifest themselves for decades. He noted that children are the innocent victims of our military service. He explained that S-2738 calls for the establishment of an advisory board to oversee and assess the work of the VA Center for Research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of the descendants of veterans exposed to toxins during their service in the armed forces. This committee will report directly to the VA Secretary.
Vietnam veterans have long suspected that toxins (Agents Orange, Blue, Pink, White, Purple, and Green) have been killing us and are also harming our progeny. It has been our mission to prove this to the VA. Not only were we exposed in the jungles and rice paddies, but also on ships from the desalination plants on board. Our Navy slept, drank, washed, and bathed in this poison. Reports show that the concentration of toxins is intensified by the desalinization process. Little by little more ships are being added to the approved list for exposure to Agent Orange.
The problem is that while the VA investigates, many of our brothers and sisters—and their children and grandchildren—are dying. It’s not just about us. Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan veterans and their families also are affected by toxins. Our troops’ exposure to oil fires, burn pits, and uranium-depleted ammunition is causing a tremendous backlash at the VA. Because they are not up on the technology, they have been refusing these veterans and their offspring.
S-2738 is a bill that we should support. Thank your senators who have signed on to get this bill passed. Now we must get after all of the other senators and House members. The House needs a companion bill. Use your power of the vote. Use the power of being a veteran in this great country, and stand up for all of us and our families now.
FROM THE VVA
"The Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee shall accumulate and disseminate information regarding Agent Orange and Dioxin and actively pursue the recognition of presumptive disabilities from exposure to Agent Orange and Dioxin by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee shall provide assistance to State Councils, Chapters, and service programs in the handling of Agent Orange related problems. The Committee shall encourage and foster the sponsorship of legislation to help the victims of Agent Orange and Dioxin, and encourage scientific and medical research in the field of dioxin-related ailments."
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