Senator Introduces Legislation To Obtain Medical Treatment For Military Personnel And Veterans Exposed To Toxic And Radioactive Metal

Thomas P. Morahan

March 13, 2006

Senator Thomas P. Morahan, amember and former chairman of the New York State Senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security & Military Affairs Committee, has introduced legislation that would ensure that military personnel and veterans of New York State get the best screening and treatment for exposure to toxic and radioactive metal, particularly depleted uranium (D. U.).

Depleted uranium was widely used for the first time during the Gulf War to make anti-tank munitions and armor-plating for Abrams tanks. Exposure to depleted uranium has become a health problem for soldiers who have been struck by shrapnel containing uranium or who have inhaled uranium particles released by the combustion of depleted uranium weapons.

"My legislation (S. 6964) matches a similar bill introduced in the Assembly by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. If enacted, it would direct the State’s Division of Veterans’ Affairs to assist any military member or veteran in obtaining federal treatment services for exposure to depleted uranium. It also would establish a task force to study the health effects of exposure to hazardous materials, set up a registry for those who may have been exposed, and prepare a report explaining the effects of depleted uranium exposure," said Morahan, himself a veteran of the Korean Conflict.

It is believed that hundreds of U. S. Personnel were exposed to D. U. during the Persian Gulf War. Experts fear even higher numbers of people have been exposed to toxic and radio active metal in Iraq.