Although this article was originally published in January 2017, we still receive questions and are re-posting:
On Saturday (12/10/16), the Miller-Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Act, H.R. 6416 passed the senate. The bill passed both the House and the Senate by unanimous approval and is now on the way to the President's Desk for signature into law.
Included in the legislation are these provisions of the Toxic Exposure Research Act:
Subtitle C---Toxic Exposure:
Sec. 631. Definitions.
Sec. 632. National Academy of Medicine assessment on research relating to the descendants of individuals with toxic exposure.
Sec. 633. Advisory board on research relating to health conditions of descendants of veterans with toxic exposure while serving in the Armed Forces.
Sec. 634. Research relating to health conditions of descendants of veterans with toxic exposure while serving in the Armed Forces.
*For complete text go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr6416/text
The Toxic Exposure Research Act was first conceived during a telephone conference between members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Agent Orange Committee and Betty Mekdeci, Executive Director of Birth Defect Research for Children (BDRC) in 2009. BDRC had been collecting data on birth defects and disabilities in the children of Vietnam and later Gulf War veterans' children since 1990. There were clear patterns of increases in disabilities in both groups, but medical confirmation was needed to prove these connections.
Betty suggested that a special center should be created where experts on the research of environmental toxins and adverse reproduction outcomes could be brought together to look for medical markers that could define certain birth defects and disabilities that could be related to similar toxic exposures.
The VVA Committee agreed with this idea and spearheaded the seven-year process to turn this concept into law. Mokie Porter, VVA's Director of Communications (and BDRC board member) held 250 Town Hall meetings all over the country to promote the passage of this bill.
According to VVA President John Rowan, "This legislation, a necessary first step, will lay the groundwork for the research we need on the health of our children and grandchildren, whom we believe have been impacted by exposures during our military service-and in keeping with our founding principle, this legislation will ensure that our newer veterans will not have to wait 50 years for answers."
Birth Defect Research for Children
946 Lake Baldwin Lane
Orlando, Fl, 32814