Monday, October 30, 2017

Stuck for a Halloween costume?

Go as a JACKASS!

Dr. Alvin Young, calls himself a "respected scientist", and is an honorably retired US Air Force veteran. He has spent his career attempting to prove Agent Orange does not affect the health of those exposed. Here is his latest attempt to prove to all of you who are sick, your illnesses are not caused by Agent Orange.

Study: Tests For DNA Damage May Help Veterans Prove Gulf War Illness

A new study found the “first biological evidence” that veterans with Gulf War Illness have unique DNA damage found in blood tests.
The studies show veterans with Gulf War Illness (GWI) have 20 percent greater DNA damage than a control group. Blood tests showed veterans with GWI had greater lesions and more mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The mtDNA are extra copies of genes. Greater lesion frequency shows the extent of DNA damage. Higher numbers of mtDNA show the response level necessary for the body to respond to the damage.
Basically, more lesions result in more mtDNA to respond to the DNA damage.
“Mitochondrial dysfunction among Veterans with GWI may help explain, in part, the persistence of this illness for over 25 years,” the researchers wrote. “For example, chemical and environmental exposures during deployment may have provided the initial [harm] to mtDNA and accumulation of damage.”
The extent of the damage depends in large part on the toxins the veteran was exposed to during the Gulf War.
Given VA’s huge push for genomic data, how long do you think the agency will take to develop testing models to help veterans with GWI prove their disability?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Toxic chemicals found near US base in Bupyeong

Highly toxic chemicals, including dioxins and benzene, were found in soil and water near a U.S. military base in Bupyeong, Incheon, the Ministry of Environment said Friday.
According to a joint statement by the Korean and U.S. governments, Korean investigators found that soil and groundwater at Camp Market, an installation of the U.S. Army, contained various harmful chemicals.
However, the documents do not say why the chemicals, including dioxins, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), trichloroethylene (TCE), heavy metals, benzene and tetrachloroethylene (TCE), ended up there and who is responsible for them.
After the issue came to the fore a few years ago, environmental groups accused the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) of dumping them there.
Investigators conducted an environmental field survey on Camp Market from July 2015 to March 2016. They looked deeper into the area to better understand the extent and level of contamination from June to September 2016.
The government did not immediately disclose the results of the investigation for diplomatic and security reasons, which later faced criticism from environmental groups.
"The soil from 33 sampling points in Parcel A of Camp Market were tested for dioxins. The results show that samples from seven points contained dioxins above 1,000 pg-TEQ/g. The highest dioxin concentration found was 10,347 pg-TEQ/g," the Korea-U.S. joint committee said in a statement.
Dioxins, which can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, take a long time to break down once they are in the environment.

Extension of the Presumptive Period for Compensation for Gulf War Veterans

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 204 (Tuesday, October 24, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 49121-49123]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2017-22970]
38 CFR Part 3
RIN 2900-AP84
Extension of the Presumptive Period for Compensation for Gulf War Veterans
AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is issuing this final rule to affirm its adjudication regulations regarding compensation for disabilities resulting from undiagnosed illnesses suffered by veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War. This amendment is necessary to extend the period during which disabilities associated with undiagnosed illnesses and medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illnesses
must become manifest in order for a Veteran to be eligible for compensation. The intended effect of this amendment is to provide consistency in VA adjudication policy, preserve certain rights afforded to Persian Gulf War (GW) veterans, and ensure fairness for current and future GW veterans.
DATES: This final rule is effective October 24, 2017.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janel Keyes, Policy Analyst, Regulations Staff (211D), Compensation Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, [email protected], (202) 461-9700. (This is not a toll-free telephone number.)

Vets May Now Be Able To Get Higher Disability Ratings For Service-Connected Injuries

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims issued a decision last month that could make it easier for veterans with injuries to the back, neck, and joints to obtain higher disability ratings, even in cases where veterans are already receiving disability benefits for such injuries.
The recent case, called Sharp v. Shulkin, reviewed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ current system for assessing the origin and extent of a veteran’s disability and clarified the responsibilities of Compensation and Pension examiners and the Board of Veterans Appeals when it comes to giving an opinion on pain flare-ups caused by musculoskeletal disabilities. The court ultimately ruled that the system was inadequate, because not all C&P examiners consider flare-ups and pain when determining what disability rating a veteran should receive.
Bobby P. Sharp, an Army Korean War veteran who suffers from numerous musculoskeletal injuries, argued that VA medical examinations he received were inadequate because the examiner failed to “ascertain adequate information — i.e., frequency, duration, characteristics, severity, or functional loss — regarding his flares by alternative means,” according to court documents. Sharp contended that the 10% disability rating he received for his injuries was insufficient because his “September 2015 evaluation was inadequate for evaluation purposes and the Board’s finding to the contrary was clearly erroneous.” In September 2017, the claims court agreed.    
The court’s decision means that the VA must now enact measures to ensure that C&P examiners do not overlook flare-ups and pain when assessing a disabled veteran. The VA must attempt to schedule a C&P examination when the veteran is experiencing a flare-up, but if it can’t the practitioner is still expected to offer a professional opinion on how the veteran could be “functionally limited during a flare-up,” notes Military1.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

FREE legal help with our USAF C-123 Agent Orange claims

from Wes Carter, Chair
A C-123 veteran who won his appeal to backdate a claim four years, was represented by a law firm willing to represent all others whose claims were submitted before June 2015, and denied, or were paid instead only from June 2015 forward, instead of per the date first submitted.  
Totally free, and you keep the entire amount recovered. They want to manage us as a group, not one at a time. Coordination is via the National Veterans Legal Services Project and the C-123 Veterans Association.
Reminder: If you are retired military, Agent Orange qualifies for Combat Related Special Compensation

No evidence of dioxins leaking from San Jacinto Waste Pits, companies say

The EPA announced Thursday that it has approved a plan to stabilize the riverbed near the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site to address the hazards of a 20,000-square foot area where Hurricane Harvey gouged a pit about 12' feet deep next to the pits.
But at the same time, the EPA and companies responsible for the clean-up say further inspection and tests indicate that a temporary concrete cap appeared to have held during the storm and therefore a major leak of cancer-causing dioxins was averted.
The San Jacinto Waste Pits is the one of 43 Superfund sites in the coastal areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. But it's the only site that required additional follow-up and repairs, the EPA says. The pits were entirely submerged when a wall of water as high as 18' above normal levels flooded the river area.
On Sept. 29, the EPA ordered further testing at the Superfund site after a government dive team collected one sediment sample at the pits that tested at 70,000 micrograms per kilogram - 2,000 times higher than the EPA recommended clean-up level of 30 micrograms per kilogram.
But the preliminary results of six additional sediment samples collected from the northwest corner of the site show far lower concentrations, ranging from only .02 micrograms per kilogram to 38.9 micrograms per kilogram, according to information provided Thursday to the Chronicle by companies handling the clean-up.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:

October 26, 2017
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Contact: 928-716-3001
November 4, 2017
Sturgis, South Dakota
Contact John Price

November 4, 2017
Salem, Massachusetts
Contact: (978) 745-0883

November 9, 2017
Carthage, North Carolina
Contact: Rossie Nance

The VA Just Dropped More Details About The New Veteran ID Cards

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been playing coy since it first announced that new veterans identification cards — wallet-sized IDs that allow people to prove their military service without a copy of their DD214 — will become available to former service members beginning in November, revealing details about the application process in piecemeal. Now the department has graced us with a little more information., which first broke the news of the new veteran IDs earlier this month, now reports that vets who want one of the new cards must first register online with, a website that authenticates users through the system. Officials originally told that veterans would be able to apply for the cards online, but provided few specifics; they were no less taciturn with Task & Purpose.
We did confirm, however, that veterans will not be able to use the cards as proof of age when shopping for adult commodities like cigarettes and beer, because they are not official government-issued IDs — which, as a notes, also means they can’t be used for things like air travel.
Unfortunately, we still don’t know what the cards will look like.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:

November 4, 2017
Sturgis, South Dakota
Contact John Price

November 4, 2017
Salem, Massachusetts
VVA Massachusetts State Council
Contact: (978) 745-0883

November 9, 2017
Carthage, North Carolina
Contact: Rossie Nance

VA Photo ID Cards for All Veterans Coming in November

All honorably discharged veterans of every era will be able to get a photo identification card from the Department of Veterans Affairs starting in November due to a law passed in 2015.
The law, known as the Veterans Identification Card Act 2015, orders the VA to issue a hard-copy photo ID to any honorably discharged veteran who applies. The card must contain the veteran's name, photo and a non-Social Security identification number, the law states.
A VA official on Wednesday confirmed the cards are on track to be available nationwide starting in November. Veterans may apply for the card online, but a timeline for how long it will take to receive a card after application has not been finalized, the official said.
No details were released on when that application process will open, what information veterans will need when applying or the web address they will use.
Although the law states that the VA may charge a fee for the card, the official said no fee is planned.

Following Obama-Era Guidance, EPA Orders San Jacinto Waste Pits Removed

Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has made good on his word.
With three days to go before the football game between Oklahoma University and University of Texas, the deadline Pruitt set when he visited the San Jacinto Waste Pits and other Houston-area sites after Hurricane Harvey rolled through town last month, the EPA has indeed made a decision on the fate of the pits.
The dioxin-packed, partially submerged pits tucked along the lip of the San Jacinto River will be removed.
"Today, we are announcing our decision to ensure the San Jacinto site is cleaned up for the benefit of the entire community," Pruitt, the EPA administrator, said in a press release. "As exemplified today, EPA is prioritizing Superfund clean-up by making decisions in a decisive, timely manner."
So a decision has officially been made. 
It's been a long time coming. The San Jacinto Waste Pits were packed full of toxic sludge, including dioxin, a known carcinogen, from the runoff from a paper mill in the 1960s. The pits were full by the end of the decade and were then largely forgotten over the following years — U.S.Representative Gene Green noted that there were higher levels of dioxin in the area going back to the 1980s, although nobody knew for sure where the dioxin was coming from.
And then, after decades of being forgotten, the waste pits were "discovered" by the EPA in 2005 and the spot was turned into a Superfund site, designated for cleanup, by 2008.
In 2011 the companies on the hook for polluting the site, Champion Paper, McGinnis Industrial Maintenance and Waste Management Inc., placed a temporary $9 million cap on the pits. Before the cap was even completed, company officials were already hoping to talk the EPA into allowing them to simply make the cap permanent by reinforcing it and putting more rock on top.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Call in day supporting passage of H.R. 299 and S.422, October 12 at 9:00 am.

The next call in day on the hill supporting passage of H.R. 299 and S.422, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act 2017, is October 12 at 9:00 am.
304 House members have signed on to H.R. 299 and 43 Senators have signed on to the companion bill, S.422. If, your member has not signed on to these bills, please make the call on October 12 requesting they join their colleagues in support of our Navy Vietnam Veterans.

We need your voices to get these bills out of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees and to the floor of both chambers for passage.

EPA Soon to Announce Whether the San Jacinto Waste Pits Will Be Removed

When EPA administrator Scott Pruitt toured the San Jacinto Waste Pits site after Hurricane Harvey ripped through the area, he said the federal agency would make a decision by October 14 about whether to remove, dredge or permanently cap the waste pits.
In other words, the debate over what to do about the San Jacinto Waste Pits, the dioxin-filled kolache of a federal Superfund site nestled on the edge of the San Jacinto River, has been raging ever since the site was deemed toxic and given a temporary cap back in 2011. But now it's crunch time. 
The waste pits were created starting in the 1960s when International Paper's predecessor, Champion Paper, hired McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corporation to haul off the toxic sludge the paper mill was producing in Pasadena. McGinnis toted the toxic crud up the San Jacinto and tucked containers of waste into the pits until they were packed full and written off of the company's assets in 1968.  
Since then, the containers have remained at the site, but the paper mill byproducts saturated the ground around the area and over the years dioxin, a known carcinogen, has oozed out of the site, a situation that many residents say has caused all sorts of health problems, including cancer. After decades of being forgotten, the waste pits were "discovered" by the EPA in 2005 and the spot was turned into a Superfund site, designated for cleanup, by 2008. 
The companies on the hook for polluting the site had placed a temporary $9 million cap on the pits, and before the cap was even completed, company officials were already hoping to talk the EPA into allowing them to simply make the cap permanent by reinforcing it and putting more rock on top of it.

MSU research breakthrough could cleanse soil, sediment and water pollution

New research from Michigan State University has shown for the first time that activated carbon – a substance widely used in water purification – can help eliminate the health risks associated with soils, sediments and surface water polluted by highly toxic dioxins.
Stephen Boyd, a University Distinguished Professor in the plant, soil and microbial sciences department, led the study, which is published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The research looked specifically at soil and freshwater ecosystems that were contaminated mainly through the industrial manufacture of pesticides and other chemicals.
“The goal is to find and validate a new direction in the management and remediation of soils and sediments that are contaminated with industrial pollutants, like dioxin,” Boyd said. “We were finally able to achieve that goal with activated carbon.”
Activated carbon is produced when materials with high carbon concentrations, such as coal, wood, peat or even coconut shell, undergo special treatment processes that expose them to extremely high temperatures without burning them. The result is a porous, highly adsorptive substance that binds easily with organic toxins. When mixed into contaminated soil or sediment, the activated carbon draws dioxin to it and sequesters it.
Though the release of dioxins into the environment has been reduced by more than 90 percent since 1990, the toxins already released continue to persist in the environment, and can enter the food chain through fish and other organisms.
“There’s a general malaise of health issues associated with dioxin contamination,” said Brett Sallach, plant, soil and microbial sciences postdoctoral research associate, who worked on the project. “Hormone health complications, fertility issues, skin rashes, immunity problems, cancer: they all can stem from it. Most human exposure is linked to eating fish and shellfish that live in contaminated streams and riverbeds.”

Landmark decision by New Zealand Veterans’ Affairs

Veterans Affairs’ New Zealand has recognised that Parkinson’s is linked to a toxic solvent used within the Navy, both on ships and on shore, and will now be paying disability compensation.
The Royal New Zealand Navy used a number of chemical solvents on ships beginning in at least the 1950s. Among the chemical solvents was trichloroethylene (TCE), which is thought to be among the most damaging to human health, with links to a number of adverse health effects including Parkinson’s.
In the 1970s Parkinson’s New Zealand member George* (George’s name has been changed to protect his confidentiality) served on a Royal New Zealand Navy ship. Decades later, he is living with Parkinson’s, and Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand has recognised there is a connection.
In a landmark decision, Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand has agreed to provide George with an entitlement to disability compensation for Parkinson’s, a condition that is attributed to his operational service on a Royal New Zealand Navy ship during the Malayan Emergency.
The link between exposure to the chemical solvent TCE and Parkinson’s has been recognised by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, but George’s case is the only known case in which this link has been recognised.
The recognition from Veterans Affairs’ New Zealand that disabilities stemming from Parkinson’s can be attributed to exposures to TCE means that George will be entitled to receive disability compensation.