VETERANS KEPT IN DARK ABOUT CHEMICAL EXPOSURES

VETERAN SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS NEED TO PASS ON CRITICAL HEALTH INFORMATION    

Updated November 4, 2010 

(WASHINGTON, DC) -DOD is the biggest owner of EPA Superfund sites. The contaminants and health effects of exposure are published on the EPA Superfund website. A simple website hyperlink to military installations on the National Priority List (EPA Superfund), identifying the contaminants and health effects can save lives, but no one seems interested in setting up this hyperlink.

Courtesy of CNN

Veterans of military installations currently on the National Priority List (EPA Superfund) need to know the contaminants of concern (COC) found on these sites and the health effects of exposure to receive proper medical treatment.

Exposure to COC’s can cause serious medical conditions, including cancer and death. Veterans with serious medical conditions who were stationed on an EPA Superfund installation need to share this information with their medical care provider.

This is not about collecting a VA disability compensation, but about helping veterans “connect the dots of serious illness” to military service and giving information to their health care providers that could save their lives.

Superfund is the environmental program established to address hazardous waste sites. It is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA statute, CERCLA overview). CERCLA was passed into law in the wake of the discovery of toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal and Times Beach in the 1970s, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

No one in their right mind would voluntarily live and work on a Superfund site. For the most part, veterans are not provided the choice of military assignments. Many of the installations on the NPL were constructed during WW II and experienced decades of environmental contamination.

DOD has spent and continues to spend millions in the clean-up of contaminated sites.

With exception of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, DOD has no means of readily contacting veterans separated from military service for years and even decades.

Congress mandated that the Navy and Marine Corps contact veterans of Camp Lejeune regarding the contamination of the base wells.

As it turns out, thousands of veterans and their dependents lived and worked on military installations that are now listed as EPA Superfund sites. No one has notified these men and women that they are at risk for possible exposure to contaminants.

EPA lists 130 military installations as Superfund sites, including the Contaminants of Concern (COC’s) with a hyperlink to the health effects of exposure.

According to EPA, “COC’s are the chemical substances found at the site that the EPA has determined pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.These are the substances that are addressed by cleanup actions at the site. Identifying COCs is a process where the EPA identifies people and ecological resources that could be exposed to contamination found at the site, determines the amount and type of contaminants present, and identifies the possible negative human health or ecological effects that could result from contact with the contaminants.”

Access to the COC’s and their health effects can easily be obtained from EPA’s Superfund website, if you know where to look and, if you know that you may have been exposed to one or more of the contaminants.

The first page of every EPA Superfund website contains a site progress profile, including important information on contamination.

Under the caption “Contamination,” a reader can quickly access all of the site’s COC’s with a hyperlink the health effects as determined by the Agency for Toxic Substances Health Registry (ATSDR), the Federal agency responsible for performing public health assessments of EPA Superfund sites.

The Veterans Administration and the Veterans Service Organizations (VSO’s) have the capability to establish a website hyperlink to the list of EPA Superfunds that are military installations.

Legislation may be needed to require the VA to establish a website hyperlink. The VA is not looking for more clients so I doubt if they would be interested in promulgating this information. On the other hand, VSO’s exist solely to service the needs of their membership or at least, that’s the theory. The VSO’s, many with excellent websites, could easily establish a hyperlink on their own authority.

Our review of the 45 VSO’s chartered by Congress or authorized by the VA to represent VA claimants showed that many have excellent website but NONE PROVIDED ACCESS TO THIS IMPORTANT HEALTH INFORMATION.

If you are a member of one of the following VSO’s chartered by Congress or recognized by the VA to represent VA claimants, take a few minutes to email your organization, asking them to help to save veterans’ lives by establishing a link to the military installations that are EPA Superfund sites. The life you save may literally be your own.

African Amer.Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Assoc.
Air Force Sergeants Association
American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor
American Ex-Prisoners of War
American GI Forum of the United States
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
American Legion
American Red Cross
American War Mothers
AMVETS
Armed Forces Services Corporation
Army and Navy Union, USA, Inc.
Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America
Blinded Veterans Association
Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc.
Catholic War Veterans, USA, Inc.
Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America
Disabled American Veterans
Fleet Reserve Association
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
Italian American War Veterans of the USA
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.
Legion of Valor of the USA, Inc.
Marine Corps League
Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America
Military Officers Association of America
Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., Inc.
Military Order of the World Wars
National Amputation Foundation, Inc.
National Association for Black Veterans, Inc.
National Association of County Veterans Service Officers, Inc.
National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA)
National Veterans Legal Services Program
National Veterans Organization of America (NOVA)
Navy Club of the United States of America
Navy Mutual Aid Association
Non Commissioned Officers Association
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Inc.
Polish Legion of American Veterans, USA
Reserve Officers Association of the United States
Swords to Plowshares: Veterans Rights Organization
The Retired Enlisted Association
United Spinal Association
United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.
US Submarine Veterans of World War II
Veterans Assistance Foundation, Inc.
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc./Vets. Coalition
Veterans of World War I of the USA, Inc.
Vietnam Veterans of America
Women`s Army Corps Veterans Association
Wounded Warrior Project

I’ve listed the military installations that are EPA Superfund sites by military service below. Please pass this information on to a veteran.

MILITARY BASES ON THE NPL (EPA SUPERFUNDS)

US Air Force

US Army

US Coast Guard

US Navy



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Posted by on November 1, 2010, With Reads Filed under Veterans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to "VETERANS KEPT IN DARK ABOUT CHEMICAL EXPOSURES"

  1. Bob  November 3, 2010 at 10:31 am

    There is a whole hell of a lot of information being kept from Veterans.
    I’ve spent 13 years passing on every piece of info I can find.
    I find way to many disabled Veterans don’t know what benefits they have.
    Veterans Today is a wonderful website.
    http://www.vetshome.com

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