The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has released data that shows 80 percent of disability claims filed by Gulf War veterans for conditions related to the war have been denied, citing “inadequate and insufficient evidence” to indicate that the cancers, chronic fatigue and migraines they suffer from are service-related.
“[The Institute of Medicine] stated that there ‘is no consistent evidence of a higher overall incidence of cancer in veterans who were deployed to the Gulf War than in non-deployed veterans,’” Robert Jesse, VA’s acting undersecretary for health, wrote in a letter Rep. Mike Coffman, Colorado Republican, USA Today reported Monday.
Ron Brown, president of the National Gulf War Resource Center, told the paper that the VA’s research contradicts the Institute of Medicine’s 2007 findings.
“What they’ve done is used the overall population of deployed veterans during Desert Storm,” he said. “If you use the whole population, it does not show an increase of cancers, but if you look at Khamisiyah, there are significant increases of cancers.”
Mr. Brown’s assertions are backed up by the the American Journal of Public Health. For unexposed soldiers, the brain cancer death rate from 1991 to 2000 was 12 per 100,000. For those near Khamisiyah, the rate was 25 per 100,000, USA Today reported.
“This is nothing new,” Mr. Brown added in regards to the VA’s denial of claims. “Our veterans have been fighting for 23 years to get the benefits they’ve earned.”