Veterans Exposed to PFAS to be Provided with Health care Under New Bill
In Michigan, congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) introduced a new bill to protect veterans and their families from toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at military installations through the Veterans Administration (VA).
Kildee, Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and co-chair of a bipartisan Congressional task force on PFAS, says the Veterans Exposed to Toxic PFAS Act (VET PFAS Act) requires VA to pay for treatments caused by PFAS exposure.
Veterans and their families could access disability checks and VA care by classifying PFAS-related illnesses as service-connected disabilities.
PFAS exposure has been linked to higher cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and possibly other health issues.
There are estimated to be PFAS contaminations on 700 or more American military bases worldwide.
We told our veterans who serve this country we'd take care of them and their families. These bills ensure that all service members exposed to toxic chemicals throughout their military service receive the healthcare they require," said Kildee at a March 15 press conference regarding the legislation. The resources veterans and their families deserve. I'm proud to support the effort to clean up chemical contamination at military bases.
In the past, PFAS was used in firefighting foam on military bases like the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda. These chemicals have been found to be hazardous to human health, and many veterans who served have been exposed to these substances.
Further, PFAS chemicals have seeped into groundwater around many military bases, making the water unsafe for nearby residents.
Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters will introduce companion legislation in the House.
Veteran of Foreign War Michigan, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Need Our Water Oscoda support the bill.
By incorporating a nationwide health study in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, Kildee was able to obtain federal support for the VET PFAS Act. Any health conditions linked to PFAS will have to be covered by the VA once the study is over.
Additionally, the VET PFAS Act covers the following conditions as demonstrated by a study of 68,000 people in West Virginia: high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.