Lawmakers Want to Study Effects of War on Veterans, Families

How bad are the effects of war on veterans and their families?

That's what a group of bipartisan lawmakers in Washington are trying to figure out. They want research on how chemical weapons can have an impact on the health of children and grandchildren of veterans.

The proposal is called the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015, which is co-authored by South Bay Congressman Mike Honda.

"I do seek treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," veteran Omar Teutle said.

The former Marine served one tour in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. Now Teutle is dealing with the news lawmakers in Washington want to see if the toxins troops were exposed to in combat -- like Agent Orange in Vietnam and neurotoxins in the Gulf wars -- can impact their children and grandchildren.

If approved, the act would establish a national center for research to study the health of a veteran's descendants. The Veterans Administration has recognized certain birth defects among the children of veterans of both the Vietnam and Korean wars.

Tito Cortez of the Veterans Supportive Services Agency helps veterans fight for military benefits and is glad someone is finally trying to look into this other effect of war.

"Had I known there was Agent Orange when I got out of Vietnam I probably would not have gotten married," Cortez said. "That's how scary it is -- would have thought twice about getting married."

Veterans said they are the ones who were drafted or enlisted, not their descendants. So their children should not have to be scarred by the same war they are trying to leave behind.

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