Read the full article by Garret Ellison (MLive)
“Veterans exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals while serving in the military would receive presumptive health care benefits under legislation introduced in Congress this week for the fourth time in six years.
On Wednesday, June 21, Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint reintroduced the Veterans Exposed to Toxic PFAS Act (VET PFAS Act), which would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover treatment of certain health conditions linked to PFAS exposure.
Illnesses associated with PFAS exposure such as high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, kidney and testicular cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension would be considered ‘service-connected’ injuries.
A ‘service-connected’ presumption makes veterans and their families eligible for disability payments and medical treatment from the VA without an onerous process to prove a connection between their symptoms and exposure to contaminants.
Although PFAS is a known contaminant at hundreds of U.S. military sites around the world, the VA doesn’t recognize associated illnesses as service-related and the Department of Defense denies that that some veterans were highly exposed, even in the face of compelling evidence.
Kildee, a Democrat who co-chairs the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, introduced the legislation in March 2022. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., introduced a companion bill in the Senate. Neither bill moved out of committee last session.
Kildee also introduced the bill in 2018 and 2019. Kildee previously represented Iosco County, home to the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, before Michigan’s redistricting. U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, represents the area now.
‘We made a promise to those who signed up to serve our country that we’d take care of them and their families. This bill makes good on that promise by ensuring that all service members exposed to toxic chemicals as a part of their military service get the health care they need,’ said Kildee.
The legislation is supported by veteran advocacy groups such as Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America and the American Legion. Environmental groups such as the Environmental Working Group and the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network also support the legislation.”…