More than a dozen veterans advocacy groups will join forces to track and highlight toxic exposure illnesses among former military members in an attempt to push for quicker action on what they see as a looming health crisis.
The Toxic Exposures in the American Military coalition, announced this week, will coordinate efforts from groups like Wounded Warrior Project, Vietnam Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veteran Warriors Inc., and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
The focus will be on issues related to exposures in the recent wars, although the groups have also advocated on illnesses related to chemical poisoning in the ranks from earlier periods.
“We must do more to address the illnesses we are seeing in America's service members and veterans as a result of toxic exposures,” said WWP CEO Mike Linnington said in a statement. “We must honor the service and sacrifice of our nation's warriors by working with Congress to provide the necessary care and resources to help those suffering.”
The move comes the same week Department of Justice officials announced they will not appeal a federal court ruling which awarded presumptive disability benefit status to about 90,000 “blue water” Vietnam veterans who served in ships at sea during the war there.