Kuster Helps Introduce Legislation to Help Veterans & Military Families Exposed to PFAS Obtain Healthcare
(Washington, DC) - Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), a member of the bipartisan PFAS Task Force, joined Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) and House and Senate colleagues to introduce the Veterans Exposed to Toxic PFAS Act (VET PFAS Act). The legislation will help veterans and families exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at military installations obtain the health care services and benefits they need through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“Our veterans have put themselves on the line for our nation and sadly many of our men and women in uniform and their families have been exposed to dangerous chemicals during their service,” said Kuster. “After bravely serving our country, veterans and their families should not face obstacles in receiving the healthcare they need for PFAS-related conditions. We’ve seen the impact of PFAS contamination in communities both military and civilian in New Hampshire and we must make sure families aren’t exposed to these chemicals and that everyone has access to clean drinking water. Ensuring that our veterans and their families are cared for is an important step toward tackling the issue of contaminated drinking water for all Americans.”
“When someone signs up to serve in the military to defend our country, we make a promise to take care of them when they come home,” Congressman Kildee said. “This bill makes good on that promise, making sure that all service members exposed to harmful PFAS chemicals get the health care and support they need. I am proud to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate as we fight to clean-up PFAS chemical contamination at military bases and get veterans the health care they have earned.”
Under the VET PFAS Act, the VA would be required to cover treatment of any health conditions caused because of exposure to PFAS chemicals. These illnesses will also be considered a service-connected disability, making veterans and their families exposed to PFAS eligible for disability payments and medical treatment from the VA.
Kuster has been vocal about the need to address PFAS and other water contaminants in New Hampshire. Kuster questioned Susan Bodine, the Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) about the EPA’s PFAS action plan and expressed her concern about the EPA’s response to this crisis. She has joined with the New Hampshire delegation to call for more research into the connection between pediatric cancer and PFAS exposure. Last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) increased funding for the study of PFAS as requested by Kuster. She has also called on the Trump Administration to immediately release a toxicology report about widespread water contamination from perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).