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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

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Readers Blog: I Bet You Never Thought About It That Way Before - But You Will Now!

Military Toxic Exposure Prevention

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The Honorable Gwen Moore
House of Representatives
1239 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4904

Re: Support HR 2419 - Military Personnel War Zone Toxic Exposure Prevention Act


Dear Representative Moore:

I urge your support and co-sponsorship of HR 2419, "Military Personnel War Zone Toxic Exposure Prevention Act" introduced by Rep. Timothy Bishop.

HR 2419 would require the Secretary of Defense to establish and administer a system to identify members of the Armed Forces who were potentially exposed to a hazardous disposal site, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as any negative health effects that may be related to such exposure. HR 2419 would prohibit the disposal of waste by the Armed Forces in a manner that would produce dangerous levels of toxins.


For the past century, in nearly every war that America has asked her sons and daughters to fight, there have been dangers on the battlefield that went beyond injuries resulting from direct combat, that have left their disabling mark on hundreds of thousands of veterans. Whether from the mustard gas fields of World War I, to frostbite and radiological diseases in World War II and Korea, or to the relentless spraying of dioxin containing herbicides in Vietnam; the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan appear to be shaping up no differently. However, in each previous conflict, the Government took decades before recognizing such dangers; you now have a chance to stop this cycle of disregard.


In short, HR 2419 would require the Secretary to: (1) administer the system using existing medical surveillance systems; (2) notify a member and the commanding officer of a potential exposure; (3) for each member notified, collect information for purposes of the system; (4) for each member notified, annually provide a complete physical examination and related consultation and counseling; and (5) determine, and report to Congress on, whether existing surveillance systems are sufficient to identify all potential negative health effects resulting from such exposure.

If passed, H.R. 2419 would ensure the government lives up to its responsibility of finding those exposed, investigating current and future illness in those exposed, and preventing further illness by putting an end to these careless and irresponsible procedures.

Again, I urge your support of HR 2419. Please advise me of your intentions.


Respectfully,

Don "Boots" Jensen
Sergeant United States Marine Corps 1973-79

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