Jan 30, 2010

AllGov -Senate VA Committee Approves Health Care for Camp Lejeune and Atsugi Toxic Exposure

AllGov - News - Senate VA Committee Approves Health Care for Camp Lejeune and Atsugi Toxic Exposure

Victims of toxic exposure at two U.S. military bases may receive health insurance from the federal government to help with their medical treatments. But even as Senate legislation granting the assistance moved forward on Thursday, one Republican senator continued to criticize the U.S. Navy for not being more proactive about the problem at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and the Atsugi Naval Air Facility in Japan.

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), ranking member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, wants the Navy or the Department of Defense to fund studies that will determine the extent of exposure and how many people have died from being at the facilities. He said the unwillingness of military officials to act was “unconscionable,” and vowed to block the nomination of all Navy Department appointees until the service takes action.

Military personnel and their families who were assigned to Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987 were exposed to toxic chemicals in the base’s drinking water. Similar exposure occurred from 1983 to 2001 at Atsugi Naval Air Facility as a result of incinerator emissions.

Last August, reports surfaced about abnormally high rates of breast cancer among men stationed at Camp Lejeune. Also, there have been hundreds of other cases of cancer reported among people who lived at the base.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

Lawmaker Threatens Navy Over Toxins (by Bryant Jordan,
20 From Camp Lejeune Marine Base Developed Male Breast Cancer, Blame Toxic Water (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Military Environmental Hazards Bill Faces Hurdles (read the whole story here)

Congressional jurisdictional issues and Defense Department resistance to accepting responsibility for harming veterans and dependents are major impediments to passing a final bill and ultimately providing medical care.

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - There’s a definite need for more “adult supervision” in Washington. Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs passed an original bill, “Examination of Exposures to Environmental Hazards During Military Service Act of 2010.” The vote was 9 to 5 along party lines. Nine democrats voted for the bill while 5 Republicans against it. Senator Jim Webb (D, VA), a Navy Cross Marine veteran, did not vote.


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