Denise Williams, The American Legion Assistant Director for Health Policy, recently attended a meeting hosted by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities. The focus of the meeting was discuss environmental hazards such as burn pits in Iraq with members of the veterans service organization community. The discussions also surrounded the Department of Veteran Affairs’ system in place to track, test and treat veterans that were exposed to these environmental hazards.
In addition, an overview was given of a Department of Energy program that was congressionally mandated to identify workers who were exposed to toxic fumes on the job. The program was presented as a potential model for VA to utilize in tracking and identifying veterans that were exposed.
The general consensus from the group was that it would be beneficial to request that the staff from VA’s Public Health and Environmental Hazards Office provide an update to the VSOs during their quarterly briefing. The American Legion will continue to advocate on behalf of veterans affected by this issue and to follow current initiatives that pertain to it as well.