2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 24 Feb 2003 21:45:33 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] VA Boss: Monitor Health Risks to Troops
Posted on Mon, Feb. 24, 2003
VA Boss: Monitor Health Risks to Troops
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The head of the Veterans Affairs Department, hoping to
avoid health-care controversies that surrounded Persian Gulf War vets,
is asking the Defense Department to track troop exposure to toxins and
environmental hazards in any new war with Iraq and share the data.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, VA Secretary
Anthony Principi said data from tests of troops who may have been
exposed to chemical, biological or radiological warfare agents, and from
environmental monitoring, "could be critically important in our later
health assessment."

"Much of the controversy over health problems of veterans who fought in
the 1991 war with Iraq could have been avoided had more extensive
surveillance data been collected," Principi said in a letter to Rumsfeld
dated Feb. 14. "I want to ensure we apply this lesson if there is
another war with Iraq."

As tens of thousands of troops prepare for a possible repeat war, Gulf
War veterans continue to search for the cause of postwar illnesses that
range from chronic fatigue to Lou Gehrig's disease. The veterans have
been critical of the government's handling of their maladies, which at
first were attributed to stress.

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