These important pieces of legislation, H.R. 1585 and S. 565, The Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act, supports veterans who were exposed to radiation during the cleanup of the Enewetak Atoll, by specifically adding the cleanup period of January 1, 1977, to December 31, 1980, as a radiation-risk activity.
Forty-three nuclear tests were conducted for 10 years beginning in 1948 at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, leaving behind contaminated debris and soil. The area was so contaminated that the local population was forced to avoid the area for 30 years. Between 1977 and 1980, approximately 4,000 U.S. service members were assigned to clean up the area. However, veterans that participated in the Enewetak Atoll cleanup are currently not eligible for VA health care as VA defines a radiation-exposed veteran as one who participated in a radiation-risk activity.
The Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act would designate the Enewetak Atoll cleanup as a radiation-risk activity thus providing these veterans the VA health care eligibility and potentially presumptive benefits they deserve.
DAV strongly supports H.R. 1585 and S. 565, in accordance with DAV Resolution No. 049. Please stand with DAV in this fight and contact your members of Congress today and ask for their support for this important legislation.