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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

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,


Wayne Rubio 9 years ago
Give Us Our V.A. Disability Ratings. Or Give Us A Reasonable Settlement. Semper Fi. It Is Getting Very Hard To Remain Always Fathful.
Mike Partain 10 years ago
I am one of the 55 men diagnosed with male breast cancer from Camp Lejeune. Last October, I testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee about Camp Lejeune and the 500,000 to 1,000,000 Marines and their families exposed to the toxic drinking water at the base. The bill approved by the SVAC on Thursday is nothing more than an attempt by the SVAC to punt this issue away. It will now head over to the SASC where both the majority and minority lead counsels are former U.S. Navy Jag Corps Officers. The bill will more than likely be pigeon holed because DoD has no intention of recognizing any environmental exposure links at any of their sites. Furthermore, Akaka's last second proposal violates title 42 of the US Code. The bill calls for the creation of an advisory board (of which DoD will have a say in the composition) and circumnavigates the government agency tasked to determine health effects at NPL sites such as Camp Lejeune. After we heard the announcement of this counter bill to Burr's S-1518, we mounted an email campaign and sent over 400 emails to the committee all opposing Akaka's proposal before the vote took place on Thursday. These emails were ignored. The SVAC was also lobbied by services groups at the last minute to reject S-1518 because of the provision to provide care for dependents affected by the contamination. Senator Akaka and the SVAC let us down and in effect delivered us into the jaws of the beast we are fighting. Thanks....

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