The military has been poisoning many of its servicemen and servicewomen along with their families for decades. The practices of the DoD put our military at risk, often before they knew of the dangers. While many associate Agent Orange as the first toxic exposure it had gone on long before the Vietnam War. Service members that served during WWI and WWII were exposed to fuels that weren’t properly stored, radiation and other toxins.
Agent Orange was used from 1961 – 1972, during Vietnam, to remove leaves and dense foliage that provided enemy cover. Studies from as early as 1954 confirmed the toxicity of both herbicides used in Agent Orange. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were made aware of this in 1962, yet the DoD continued to use Agent Orange for another decade.
Recently toxic water on military bases has been brought to light due to the PACT Act of 2022 and the lawsuits surrounding Camp Lejeune. Camp Lejeune is just one of hundreds of current and former Military bases that were declared Superfund Sites by the EPA due to toxic water and other toxins found on them. The DoD knew about the risk of toxins in the early 1970’s when a study showed that the toxic runoff from NAS Alameda was killing the fish in the San Fransisco Bay, yet servicemen and servicewomen and their families were allowed to live in base housing there until the base closed in 1997, exposing them to toxins for another two and a half decades. An updated DoD report shows that up to 710 DoD sites have toxic water levels. They estimate the exposure to be more than 600,000 military personnel and veterans. This report does not consider their families.
The PACT Act also brings awareness to the toxic exposure of the Burn Pits used in Afghanistan and Iraq beginning in 2001. The burning of toxic waste can be attributed to multiple cancers and other health conditions. The PACT Act does not address the burning of waste that has gone on for decades prior to include Vietnam, Korea, WWI, WWII, or any other conflict.
The military has had a long-standing practice of vaccinating its members to prevent possible diseases with or without their consent. According to Armed Forces of the United States. Enlistment/Reenlistment Document. Department of Defense; DD Form 4/1. July 2007 the oath states “I understand that many laws, regulations, and military customs will govern my conduct and require me to do things under this agreement that a civilian does not have to do.”
Some of these include:
Gulf War Vaccines
Standard series of inoculations against infectious diseases provided to any U.S. citizen traveling to the Gulf (including yellow fever, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, meningitis, whooping cough, polio, tetanus)
Anthrax - about 150,000 troops
Botulinum toxoid - about 8,000 troops
Pyridostigmine Bromide and Gulf War Veterans
Anti-nerve agent pill used during the Gulf War as a pretreatment to protect military personnel from death in an attack with the nerve agent soman.
Supplied in the Gulf War as 21-tablet blister pack, with prescribed dosage as one 30-mg tablet every 8 hours. Veterans’ actual exposure is not known, because pills were self-administered and there are few examples in individual or unit health records from the Department of Defense.
Malaria is a serious infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Malaria is found in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many areas in Africa, South America, and Asia.
Mefloquine is a round, white tablet taken once a week that can help prevent malaria for travelers. It is administered to both military personnel, including those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and civilians, although it is used less than it has been in the past.
This drug was used by the US Military even though they had been made aware of the dangers of the drug.
Mefloquine has since been given a Black Box Warning by the FDA.
Many of the long-term side effects of these toxic exposures are finally being brought to light. The US Military and the DoD are slow to respond, even though in many cases they were made aware of these problems decades prior.
Veterans and their families are reportedly suffering from such illnesses as:
· Various types of cancer
· Organ failure
· Kidney and liver disease.
· Birth Defects
· Neurological disorders
· Behavioral Disorders that are often misdiagnosed as mental health conditions.
· Visual impairment
· Autoimmune disorders
· And more
The research is still lacking to the effects of these exposures on the veteran’s families. To stay up to date in these issues go to www.lovingmyveteran.com You can sign up for our newsletter for more information. Follow us on social media for Toxic Tuesdays, where we will provide more information on toxic exposure. You can also go to the VA website https://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/index.asp for more information.