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Navy Veterans Face Radiation Peril — Demand Justice Now

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Sponsor: The Veterans Site

It's time to shine a light on the radioactive dangers our Navy veterans have endured and fight for the care and justice they deserve.


Every day, brave men and women don the uniform of the United States Navy, prepared to defend our country at all costs. Yet, an unseen hazard lurking in the shadows has exposed many of our valiant shipyard veterans to a danger they never anticipated: radioactive materials.

The story of Gilbert “Kip” Wyand, a Navy veteran who tragically succumbed to acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a condition linked to radiation exposure, is a stark reminder of the perils faced by those who served at naval shipyards across the country1.

The Silent Threat

For decades, veterans like Wyand who served at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and other facilities were unknowingly exposed to harmful radioactive substances such as radium-226 and strontium-902. Despite the Navy's knowledge of environmental contamination, a formal notification system for veterans post-service was glaringly absent1. This oversight has left countless veterans in the dark, unaware of the potential risks to their health.

The Human Toll

The repercussions of this exposure are not merely statistical; they carry profound human costs. The dire consequences of this oversight have led to veterans battling severe health complications, with many facing similar fates due to exposure at contaminated shipyards3. The need for cancer screenings among these veterans is critical, as early detection can significantly improve treatment outcomes and quality of life4.

Understanding the Risks

The risks associated with exposure to radium and strontium are severe, with the potential to accumulate in the body over time, leading to increased risks of various cancers5. Studies have shown that the latency period between exposure and the onset of symptoms can span decades, complicating diagnosis and intervention6.

A Systemic Failure

The lack of timely communication and action from the Navy and the VA underscores a broader issue of systemic failure in addressing the health risks associated with military service. The challenges in cleanup and accountability, particularly at sites like Hunters Point, further exemplify the need for a comprehensive approach to address toxic exposure in military environments7.

Our Collective Responsibility

As we reflect on the sacrifices made by our military personnel, it is imperative that we stand up for their health and well-being. The stories of veterans like Wyand call us to action, demanding transparency, communication, and comprehensive care for those exposed to toxic substances during their service.

We urge you to join us in this critical campaign by signing the petition to demand immediate action from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Navy. By signing, you are calling for:

  • The establishment of clear notification mechanisms for veterans post-service.
  • The expedited treatment process for affected veterans.
  • Comprehensive cleanup of contaminated naval shipyard sites.

Together, we can ensure a healthier future for our veterans, providing them with the respect and care they rightfully deserve. Let us honor their sacrifices by ensuring they do not face the aftermath of their service alone.

Your voice matters. Stand with our veterans, sign the petition and make a difference today.

More on this issue:

  1. Melissa Chan, NBC News (27 January 2024), "Shipyard veterans may have been exposed to cancer-causing radioactive materials. The Navy has not told them.."
  2. Cabrera Services, U. S. Department of the Navy, BRAC Program Management Office West (May 2014), "Final Supplemental Radiological Assessment Installation Restoration Sites 1 and 2."
  3. Kenny Choi, CBS News (17 December 2023), "Radioactive objects at Hunters Point shipyard prompt calls for cancer screening."
  4. Doug Brugge, Virginia Buchner, Reviews on Environmental Health (1 April 2012), "Radium in the environment: exposure pathways and health effects."
  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (26 March 2014), "Public Health Statement for Strontium."
  6. Donald K. Fraser, MD, Canadian Medical Association Journal (22 November 2011), "Latency period of radiation-induced cancer."
  7. Rand (2024), "Veterans' Barriers to Care."
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The Petition:

To the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Chief of Naval Operations of the United States Navy,

We, the undersigned, call upon your esteemed offices to take immediate and decisive action to address the urgent medical care needs and extend protective benefits to the countless Navy veterans who have been unwittingly exposed to radioactive materials during their service. This petition seeks to highlight the grave situation faced by these veterans, many of whom are now battling life-threatening illnesses without the recognition or support they critically need.

The exposure to radioactive substances such as radium-226 and strontium-90 at various naval shipyards has placed our veterans in a perilous situation, with a heightened risk of developing cancers such as leukemia, bone cancer, and other radiation-induced conditions. Unfortunately, many of these brave men and women remain unaware of their exposure and the latent health risks it poses, due to a lack of communication and transparency regarding environmental hazards at these facilities.

The need for urgent care cannot be overstated. The latency period associated with radiation-induced diseases means that symptoms may not appear until many years after exposure, complicating diagnosis and treatment. Early detection, ongoing monitoring, and comprehensive medical care are essential to improve outcomes for affected veterans. Furthermore, protective benefits are crucial to provide financial and psychological support to those who have sacrificed so much for our nation.

By taking these steps, we can ensure a healthier future for our veterans, acknowledging their service and sacrifice with the respect and care they deserve. Implementing comprehensive care and benefits for those exposed to radioactive materials is not only a moral obligation but a testament to our nation's commitment to its heroes.

Let us stand together to support our Navy veterans, ensuring they receive the care, recognition, and benefits they have rightly earned.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: