***Please read note at end of text of Tonko's Bill!***
TONKO BILL TO TRACK VETS EXPOSED TO TOXINS AT FORT MCCLELLAN06/02/11
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Paul Tonko has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that will help track the health problems of thousands of veterans who were stationed at Ft. McClellan in Alabama, and who were exposed to dangerous levels of PCBs and other toxins. The Fort McClellan Health Registry Act (H.R. 2052) requires the Veterans Administration to set up a health registry for vets who served at Fort McClellan between 1935 and 1999, in order to track their medical history to establish a firm connection between their service at the base and medical conditions related toexposure to toxic substances. Congressman Tonko first authored the bill in the last session of Congress, following meetings with local veterans who were stationed at Fort McClellan and are suffering with numerous health problems.
“The veterans who served at Fort McClellan deserve answers – we must investigate the link between the toxic exposure at the base and significant health problems those veterans are experiencing,” said Congressman Tonko. “My bill will start the process of tracking health issues with those veterans so we can finally establish a link and get our veterans the care they deserve.”
Fort McClellan is located in Anniston, Alabama, and served thousands of Army Veterans during the Vietnam era up until its closure in 1999. Many of those veterans were unaware that the base and the surrounding town were contaminated with PCBs, cyanide, nerve gas, lead, pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Fort McClellan was home to the Army’s Chemical Corps and ran experiments on chemicals such as Agent Orange. The town of Anniston was home to a large factory owned by Monsanto that manufactured PCBs. Anniston is widely regarded by scientists as the most polluted area in the nation.
Many veterans who spent time at the base have experienced a number of significant health problems – such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, heart disease, and issues affecting the reproductive, autoimmune and neurological systems. Many Fort McClellan veterans are women, because the Women’s Army Corps was headquartered at the base. While there have been many efforts to better document and understand cases of toxic exposure impacting primarily male service members, Fort McClellan, with its unusually large population of female soldiers, has been overlooked for too long.
In addition to creating the registry, the Fort McClellan Health Registry Act also requires the VA to notify the veterans listed on the registry about the consequences of toxic exposure at the base and let them know about their options.
“We can no longer ignore the veterans who became sick as after serving at Fort McClellan,” added Congressman Tonko. “We must take action – they deserve better.”
The bill has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Okay kids, this is where we stand so far...
I called my congressman's office and the nice lady Kerry (who may or may not have read some not so nice letters to her employer mysteriously posted from MY email somehow, ?grudgingly? gave me some good advice anyway) so here goes. As you read above, this is in its infancy and could drag on for years. This is good news and bad news. Good if we survive, bad if we don't...unless we are married in which case it it still good for our spouses, BECAUSE our compensation from VA, regardless of whether or not we are receiving Social Security and Medicare and/or Pension benefits already, accrues from the DATE WE FIRST APPLY if we reach that golden promised land of VA proof and approval of our illnesses and passes to our spouses if we don't...make it.
So my advice to you is MAKE YOUR APPOINTMENTS NOW! Even if you don't have all your ducks in a row, they have the burden of requesting the medical proofs from your various doctors and specialists! That is the straight poop from the VA this AM. So get in there and get your claim made and worry about proving your case as things develop, and claim as many of the mentioned disorders as you legitimately can. Cover every possible one that you can realistically link to your chemical exposure. I'm also thinking, as plan B, if VA won't give over, we could maybe go class action against Monsanto unless they've already got some sweetheart immunity deal, which also wouldn't surprise me. NOTHING about the military and human experimentation will EVER surprise me again. And to think, a few short years...well okay a decade and a half ago, I was in a TIZZY because someone I "think" was a Marine (an online person, what can I say?) Jet Jock was having unpleasant side effects from his immunizations. Poor effing baby. I'm sure the officers got the pure stuff, it's the people who work for a living who get to eat pesticides and neurotoxins.
Good luck, all. Until further notice, CE, OUT.