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White House orders VA to examine links between military toxin exposure, cancers

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White House orders VA to examine links between military toxin exposure, cancers
Officials said although exposure to contaminants and environmental hazards poses a major health concern for veterans, there are still gaps and delays in gathering scientific evidence and proving conclusive links. File Photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The Veteran Affairs Department will examine research into numerous rare cancers to determine whether they could have come from exposure to toxins during military service, the White House announced Thursday.

Officials said the White House is giving the department 90 days to come up with recommendations after their research, which could lead to healthcare compensation for veterans who came into contact with dangerous toxins.

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Officials said the VA will develop and test a model for establishing a connection between the toxins and military service, create conditions to begin disability claims, improve data on individual exposures and increase awareness of VA benefits.

"As we mark Veterans Day and honor those who have worn the uniform of the United States, the administration is moving forward to support our service members and veterans who may have encountered environmental hazards," the White House said in a statement.

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U.S. troops are seen during a battle in Vietnam during the Vietnam War on May 3, 1969. The White House noted on Thursday that it took decades for the VA to provide healthcare to many Vietnam era veterans for conditions presumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure. UPI Photo/File

Officials said although exposure to contaminants and environmental hazards poses a major health concern for veterans, there are still gaps and delays in gathering scientific evidence and proving conclusive links between known exposures and health impacts on American veterans.

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"For example, it took decades to provide access to compensatory benefits and healthcare to many Vietnam era veterans for conditions presumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure," the White House added.

"For the newest generation of veterans, concerns about burn pits and other exposures continue to mount."

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The White House hopes the new measures will allow veterans who think they have been exposed to get help.

"Taken together, these actions will improve our understanding of the health effects of military-related exposures, educate providers and veterans about these exposures, and provide timelier access to health services and benefits for individuals who were exposed," it said.

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President Joe Biden participates in a wreath-laying ceremony on the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. on Veterans Day Thursday. Pool Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

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