(Washington, DC) – “It’s bad enough that veterans have had to bear the cross of exposure to toxic agents during our military service,” said Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan. “It is worse to see our children and grandchildren afflicted with health conditions we suspect have derived from our exposure, and to think we are the cause of their hurt and pain. Today, however, we see real light at the end of a long, grim tunnel with the introduction of the ‘Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015.’ This legislation, when enacted, will establish within the Department of Veterans Affairs a national center for research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of the descendants of veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service,” Rowan said
“VVA is gratified that this is a bipartisan effort in both houses of Congress,” Rowan emphasized. “We applaud Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Dick Blumenthal (D-CT), and Representatives Dan Benishek (R-MI) and Mike Honda (D-CA) – and their energetic and committed staffs – for introducing S. 901 and H.R. 1769. We will pull out all the stops to work with them in seeking additional co-sponsors for this very necessary legislation. And we will work with our fellow veterans service organizations, military organizations and associations, and others to move these bills through the legislative process and into black-letter law.”
“This bill isn’t only about the herbicide Agent Orange and other chemicals used in South Vietnam,” Rowan pointed out, “It’s about exposures to chemical agents for all who have served in our Armed Forces, including those exposed to the toxic fumes released by the U.S. Demolition Operations at the Khamisiyah Pit and those exposed to the toxic fires from burn pits across Afghanistan and Iraq during Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.”
Rowan noted that a key part of this legislation is the establishment of an advisory board that will oversee and assess the work of the center, to determine health conditions in a veteran’s offspring that likely result from the veteran’s exposure, and to study and evaluate cases of exposure.