November 11, 2021

Chairman Takano Applauds VA’s Veterans Day Announcement on Toxic Exposure, Urges Comprehensive Legislative Solution

“There is renewed hope for all toxic-exposed veterans"

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) applauded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough’s announcement that VA will begin a pilot of a new “comprehensive military exposure model” to consider possible relationships of in-service environmental hazards to medical conditions as it decides new presumptions. This new model will leverage scientific data from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), but will also take into consideration and leverage other relevant scientific research data and factors in an effort to reduce the burden of proof placed on veterans impacted by toxic exposures. This builds on VA’s earlier action to begin processing claims for three new conditions. 


“This Veterans Day, there is renewed hope for all toxic-exposed veterans. I am so pleased to see Secretary McDonough go beyond simple ‘thank you's' for veterans by taking concrete action with the announcement that VA will begin a pilot of a comprehensive new model next week for how VA creates presumptions for toxic exposure. For too long, veterans have had to prove that they were exposed to toxicants by their government or face waiting decades for the science and presumption decisions to catch up. VA’s new pilot will attempt to reduce that burden and ultimately, speed up the delivery of veterans’ hard earned care and benefits. This is a bold, encouraging step from the Biden-Harris Administration that largely aligns with the provisions included in my bipartisan Honoring our PACT Act, but we still must pass comprehensive legislation to ensure all veterans exposed to toxins during their service have access to VA’s high quality care and benefits. Today’s announcement makes it clear–the momentum is on our side, and I’m more convinced than ever that this Congress we will pass comprehensive legislation to meet the needs of toxic-exposed veterans. ”