Agent Orange/Dioxin and Other Toxic Exposures Committee
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BY HERB WORTHINGTON, DIRECTOR
Puzzled by the headline? We have introduced the Exposure to Toxic Substances bill three or four times, only to make slight adjustments in the wording. The overall premise is the same: Any veteran who was exposed to toxins can be examined and treated by the VA. And their children and grandchildren can be examined. If offspring have conditions that are the result of a parent’s exposure, they, too, can be treated by the VA at no cost to their families.
But first the bill must get passed.
At this point, H.R.5484 again is having its language tweaked to satisfy someone else. Then it will come out with yet another number to the new Congress. Once again, this is where we will need every one of you, plus your friends and families, to call their representatives and push them to vote yes on the bill. The bill’s new number will be posted on the Agent Orange page of the VVA website. Without your help, our children will not be taken care of, and we will only have ourselves to blame. I know you have heard it over and over, but you can make a difference.
Last issue I mentioned bladder cancer possibly being linked to exposure to Agent Blue. I need to thank all of you who have written to me who either have or know someone who has bladder cancer. I also want to thank all of you who have done research on the subject. Veterans Health Council Director Tom Berger will make a presentation to the Institute of Medicine on the relationship between bladder cancer and defoliants used in Vietnam. If you know of supporting studies, please send the information to me.
Lastly, I need your help on another front. Many of you know celebrities, yet are afraid to ask for their help. We need a nationally known figure to be a spokesperson for the Toxic Research Program for our children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, and younger veterans and their offspring. You can contact me with names at firstname.lastname@example.org
House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health holds hearing on H.R. 5484, The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014
On Wednesday, November 19, 2014, Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan will present testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health regarding H.R. 5484, The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014 introduced by Representative Dan Benishek, (MI-1).
The hearing will be televised on the committees website at http://veterans.house.gov/ and begins at 2:00pm.
We urge you to go to our Legislative Action Center site at http://capwiz.com/vva/home/ and Take Action NOW by entering your zip code and sending the prepared letter to your U.S. Representative, asking them to join their colleagues--Brownley (CA-26): Conyers, (MI-13); Honda (CA-17); Higgings (NY-26); Rahall (WV-3); LoBiondo (NJ-2); Wallberg (MI-7); Jones, (NC-3); Latta, (OH-5); and Ruppersberger (MD-2)--and sign on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 5484, the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014.
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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