No. 047-00  
      IMMEDIATE RELEASE                      September 6, 2000                           (301) 585-4000


VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA COMMENDS USA TODAY’S INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING ON TOXIC ENVIRONMENTS AND FEDERAL COVER-UPS


WASHINGTON, DC - Vietnam Veterans of America National President George C. Duggins praised the investigative reporting front lined in USA Today.  Duggins said, “The excellent report, ‘Toxic Exposure Kept Secret – Poisoned Workers and Poisoned Places,’ by Peter Eisler, brought to light several familiar and profoundly disturbing issues.  His investigations into recently declassified government documents concerning harmful exposure to radioactive and other toxic materials by civilian employees reflect Cold War era tactics and cover-ups.  It is tragic that these documents are now being declassified and released with information that might have prolonged the life of Lewis Malcolm and thousands of others referred to in the article.  The government has demonstrated the same reluctance in responding to toxic exposures experienced by Vietnam and Gulf War veterans.”

Duggins continued, “We find it intolerable that once again the government has withheld information that has shortened the lives of those serving their country.  In this instance, the government appears to have been hiding from culpability more so than protecting national security.  To the former employees that were kept ignorant of the health hazards that they were exposed to, this must be a shocking revelation.  Despite the government’s awareness of the potential adverse health effects on these workers, no meaningful health care was provided, or, scientific research conducted to determine the long term consequences of these exposures.”

Duggins concluded, “VVA intends to aggressively continue its efforts to research and identify toxic exposures in both the Vietnam and Gulf War eras.  We applaud Mr.Eisler and USA Today for focusing on toxic exposures and the lack of government response that has had such a devastating effect on the lives of people in both the civilian and military sectors”

VVA’s point of contact for additional information is Scott D. Campbell at (301) 585-4000, Ext. 158. 

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is  "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."   

 

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