Toxic Exposure Research Act introduced for veteran families

U.S. Rep. Dr. Dan Benishek (R-MI)
U.S. Rep. Dr. Dan Benishek (R-MI) | Courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI) joined three other lawmakers on Tuesday in introducing the bicameral, bipartisan Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015, which supports research of health conditions inherited from a family member who served in the military.

Benishek was joined by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), and Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in sponsoring the bill. 

"When servicemembers raise their right hand, they willingly risk life and limb to defend their country," Blumenthal said. "However, few probably ever contemplate that this noble action would have serious and sometimes grave consequences for their children and grandchildren. These children and grandchildren did not sign up, but they may bear the wounds of war. Declassifying documents and disclosure are critical, and the least the government owes our veterans so they can better understand the impact these indirect exposures have to guarantee their children and grandchildren receive appropriate treatment. The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015 will ensure this. We as a nation have just as much of a responsibility to the families as to those who actually wear the uniform."

Certain cancers and increased levels of contracting the disease have been reported in family members of those who served in the military. Banishek's office said children and grandchildren with these symptoms are increasing, and this growing trend stresses the need for this kind of research.
"Having served veterans as a surgeon at the Iron Mountain VA for over 20 years, I have seen far too many patients who suffer from unexplained, service-connected ailments," Benishek said. "These conditions can even be passed down to their children. We owe it to our vets to find answers to illnesses caused by toxic exposure, and this bill will be a strong start to that process."