Number of sick U.S. military first responders doubles — Around 250 victims of Fukushima radiation exposure contact attorney — Congress: Reports are ‘disconcerting’ (VIDEO)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
By Paul Martin
January 28th, 2014

Stars & Stripes, Jan. 27, 2014: Congress has instructed the Defense Department to launch an inquiry into potential health impacts on Navy first-responders from Japan’s March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. […] While the instruction is not law, Defense Department officials said that they were taking the request seriously. […] These individuals claim to be suffering from exposure-related ailments such as unexplained cancers, excessive bleeding, thyroid issues and ailments including loss of muscle power, migraines and vision problems. […] The suit was filed in federal court in San Diego in December 2012 seeking damages and funds to cover medical expenses. The original eight complainants were on the USS Ronald Reagan, but the suit has since expanded to include those who served aboard the USS Essex and USS Germantown as well as attached Marines. […] some claim they were pressured into signing forms confirming they had been given iodine pills when none had been provided.

Congressional Record, Jan. 15, 2014: Recent reports of sailors who have developed cancer and other health conditions linked to radiation exposure after serving on the USS Ronald Reagan during Operation Tomodachi, which provided humanitarian assistance following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan in March 2011, are disconcerting. […] The Secretary of the Navy is directed to take all necessary steps to ensure that any health effects resulting from this humanitarian mission are fully addressed. The agreement includes $200,000,000 for the peer-reviewed medical research program, $100,000,000 for the joint warfighter medical research program, and $25,000,000 for the peer-reviewed cancer research program. A portion of these funds should be utilized, if necessary, to carry out additional research on the health effects of radiation exposure.

Paul C. Garner, attorney representing military personnel who served in Operation Tomodachi, Jan. 27, 2014: Here’s where it’s going. We’re refilling before Feb. 6 […] we had 51 victims, we expect double that figure – of record. We’ve been contacted by probably 250 victims […] There’s a latency period, but we have filed on behalf of all who participated in Operation Tomodachi, to preserve their rights so that they can file a claim in the future when something arises. With Steve, we know it’s happening, with several others, unfortunately it’s the same scenario, or beyond — Constantly bleeding from your butt, or from gynecological? And you’re a young person, at 21 you lose one of your testicles? We’re going to push this forward. As you mentioned congress is going to get a report back from the undersecretary in charge of this by April 15, but we’re not waiting for them because where have they been?

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