Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Registry would gather info on US vets exposed to toxins at Canadian base

FORT KENT, Maine — For decades members of the Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island National Guard and reserves trained at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, about 100 miles east of the Maine border.
In 2007 the Canadian government admitted to working with the United States military in testing the herbicides Agent Orange, Agent Purple, Agent White and other unregistered pesticides at locations around the base in the late 1960s and began paying one-time settlements to its own veterans who served on the base.
Last week Rep. Mike Michaud, ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, reintroduced a bill to help Maine veterans who trained at Gagetown after the testing period and may be concerned they were exposed to toxic levels of the herbicides.
To date, according to Michaud’s office, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not have comprehensive data on veterans looking for compensation based on chemical exposure at Gagetown.
Michaud’s bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree, would “establish a voluntary CFB Gagetown registry containing the names of veterans who apply for care or services from the VA based on a condition linked to their time at CFB Gagetown. The legislation would also provide a health exam to these veterans at their request. A registry would allow these veterans to officially list their possibly service-connected illnesses and increase opportunities for outreach and research,” according to a release from his office.
“No veteran should be denied the care they have earned. It’s extremely frustrating that the VA doesn’t track these concerns,” said Michaud. “This is not a new issue, and the VA must improve its ability to reach out to veterans who may face special challenges in establishing service-connection. A registry will provide us more information to get a better handle on the full scope of the problem, and I believe it’s a critical first step toward helping these veterans get the care they need.”
READ MORE: http://www.stripes.com/news/us/registry-would-gather-info-on-us-vets-exposed-to-toxins-at-canadian-base-1.214483

No comments:

Post a Comment