WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Paralyzed Veterans of America Executive Director Carl Blake released the following statement today in response to final passage of the “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022,” also known as the PACT Act. Championed as the most comprehensive toxic exposure legislation in U.S. history, PACT expands both VA health care eligibility and presumptions to exposure to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxins. It also creates a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure, as well as bolsters toxic exposure resources and strengthens research.
PACT was named after Sergeant First Class Robinson, an Ohio National Guard who died in 2000 of lung cancer following prolonged smoke exposure from burning pits during his deployment in Iraq. He left behind a daughter and wife, who now advocate for burn pit victims.
“Paralyzed Veterans of America commends Congress for finally doing the right thing and advancing this groundbreaking legislation that makes veteran care a priority. Our service members are consistently exposed to dangerous environments with exposure to harmful contaminants and toxins. When PACT is signed into law, toxic-exposed veterans from the past, present, and future, will receive their long overdue VA health care, compensation benefits, and justice. They will also no longer have to wait for the vital studies, research, and science they so desperately need today.”
Millions of active-duty service members have been exposed to environmental, toxic, and airborne hazards throughout history. These exposures include mustard gas during WWI and WWII, tropical diseases during WWII, extremely cold temperatures in Korea, Agent Orange in Vietnam, contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, as well as burn pits and other hazards in Southwest Asia during the Persian Gulf War and after 9/11. Many of the illnesses and diseases are not identified for years, even decades, after completing their service. PACT will help these veterans by adding new presumptive conditions to VA’s list of presumptive illnesses and creating a pathway for the addition of new conditions.
For more than 75 years, PVA, the nation’s premier nonprofit of choice for disabled veterans, their families, and caregivers, has advocated for paralyzed veterans, to include those with diseases such as MS and ALS. It remains committed to continuing to fight for the highest quality in VA healthcare impacting these veterans and others like them, as well as their families and caregivers.
About Paralyzed Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or diseases. The organization ensures veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitors their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funds research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.
As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, PVA also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families, and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Learn more at PVA.org.
Contact: S. Oname Thompson
(703) 864-5980 cell
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SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America
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