On Tuesday, August 2nd, the Senate voted 86-11 to pass the Honoring our PACT Act. This Act expands health care benefits for 3.5 million veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their time in the service. With roughly 70% of disability claims related to toxic exposures being denied by the VA previously. This win for the veteran community will not only finally provide them with the care they need. And also allow for them to obtain disability payments to compensate for the various respiratory illnesses and cancers that before weren’t being granted.
I wanted to highlight the change and talk about what the PACT Act means for veterans, service members and their families. As a veteran who served in Afghanistan. And someone who was diagnosed with Stage 0 melanoma. I was interested to learn if this was a cancer that was presumptive. I also did not file a claim with the VA when I left the military. But the PACT Act has extended the time after leaving the military to file a claim from five to ten years. This opens the door to veterans who missed the original cut off date.
This week’s interview was with Lendri Purcell and Sandi Krenizenbeck. Lendri is the Co-President of Jonas Philanthropies and founder of Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxics Safety (FACTS). Sandi is an Air Force veteran who served as a nurse. She currently works as a Family Practice/Psychiatry Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in an Integrative clinic. They both provided great resources and information in the interview. They also provide links below to help answer your questions.
Past war veterans included
One thing I didn’t know about the PACT Act was it extends back to cover toxic exposure for both veterans of Vietnam and also Desert Storm.
There is information on what locations and cancers were added on the VA website. But they recommended reaching out to a Veteran Service Organization and to not try to file on your own. Some examples of VSOs are Disabled Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America to name a few. Not only are the representatives for the VSOs experts in filing claims. They also can send your paperwork in directly. If you mail it, it could get lost or sit in a mail room for days or even weeks before it begins to be processed.
But toxic exposure doesn’t only happen overseas.
The PACT Act also addresses exposure at bases across the U.S. that could affect both veterans and their family members. Also if you were exposed to toxins at work you could share these toxins at home by not taking off your clothes or showering. So it is important to try to prevent the spread of toxins. Take off your clothes when you get home from work. And possibly take a shower if you think you were exposed on your skin.
There are toxins everywhere.
Watching the food you eat. Not using chemicals at home for cleaning and instead using home based ingredients can help limit toxins in the home. Also limiting the use of microwaves is also important. Another important thing to know is your body can help clean itself. So things you can do is drink clean water (check out good filters here), eat healthy foods, get good sleep, and exercise.
There are a lot more resources so check them out below.
Connect with Sandi:
Connect with Lendri:
Resources for you: