(Washington, D.C.) –
"Vietnam Veterans of America is gratified by the vote last week in the House
that would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide health
care for veterans who participated in the military's testing of chemical and
biological agents in the 1960s and early 1970s," said Thomas H. Corey, VVA
national president. "We applaud members of the House for doing the right
thing, and we urge members of the Senate to do so as well."
The bill would make veterans who
participated in tests conducted as part of the secret Project 112 eligible
for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for any illness,
notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that
such illness is attributable to such testing.
Project SHAD [Shipboard Hazard and
Defense] was part of Project 112, which also included land-based tests
conducted by the Department of Defense Deseret Test Center from 1962-73.
The original bill was introduced by Rep. Ciro Rodriguez.
As part of Project 112, sailors and
soldiers, many without their knowledge or consent, were exposed to a variety
of chemical and biological agents and simulants. Thus far, the Department
of Defense has identified some 5,843 veterans who participated in one or
more of 50 Project 112 tests.
"While VVA is pleased with the action
taken by the House, we will continue to push for a full accounting of the
facts surrounding Project 112," Corey said. Last fall, VVA established a
national task force to further investigate this issue.
Veterans who believe they might have
been exposed should visit
http://www.vva.org/shad, the VVA web site for information on Project
112/SHAD and potential exposure risks.