A group advocating for the health of U.S. military veterans and their families is launching a campaign to call attention to the birth defects suffered by those service members.
According to a statement from Birth Defect Research for Children (BDRC), there are a growing number of children born into military families who believe the birth defects they, their siblings, or children suffered were the result of the dangerous and toxic chemicals those service members and their families have been exposed to while serving in combat or while living on U.S. military bases.
We’ve reported for years on the birth defects and other health complications – including possible cancer clusters – among U.S. military families and U.S. bases. Some bases were built or are positioned close to facilities or areas that handle or dispose of toxic chemicals like Agent Orange and others.
BDRC says it has launched a petition campaign to call on the Veteran’s Administration to fully investigate the health risks faced by service members, military families, and the potential for birth defects among their children. In its statement, the group expects research “to identify how toxic chemical exposures may have triggered birth defects in veterans’ children and provide state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment.”
The group’s executive director, Betty Mekdeci, said in the statement, “Veterans are dying, but even more tragically, the children they’ve left behind are suffering. It’s often the wives and children who send us poignant messages.”
BDRC says it has received literally “thousands of calls and emails” from veterans and their family members explaining the ordeals they faced or continue to face as a result of what they believe to be toxic exposure. Many times if they seek straight answers from the military they are misled or lied to about the possible links between their health problems or the birth defects their children suffered and conditions at a military base or the chemicals their enlisted spouse was exposed to.
In the group’s call for help with the petition to the VA, it shared stories it has received from families of veterans who’ve been most affected by these harmful toxins:
One woman wrote to say her husband died of a cancerous brain tumor and that her son has suffered from many disabilities since birth, including Tourette’s syndrome, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus, and loss of hearing.
In another case, one soldier who served four tours in Vietnam said, “We have three children: one daughter with a heart defect, another with scoliosis and digestive problems, and a son born with a defective optic nerve that has left him blind in the right eye. There is no history of birth defects on either side of our family.”