Experts Explain Challenges Associated With Environmental Exposures

By Peter Graves | FHP&R Staff Writer

Among the many subjects discussed at the Evolving Paradigms II conference in Las Vegas during the week of September 20, perhaps none drew more interest than that of environmental exposures. Thousands of veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) have returned from their tours concerned about the lingering physical effects of exposure to chemicals, particulate matter, smoke and dust. In some cases, medical providers are uncertain about how to provide the best medical care for veterans who report such exposures.    A panel discussion on the topic featured three prominent medical experts from the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DoD). Dr. Kelley Brix, program director for DoD-VA Transition for the DoD’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs; Dr. Ronald Teichman, associate director for Clinical, Educational and Risk Communication Services at the VA’s War Related Illness and Injury Study Center in New Jersey; and Dr. Victoria Cassano, acting director of the Environmental Agents Service and director of Radiation and Physical Exposures for the VA, spoke of the types of frequent exposure concerns, how medical surveillance programs could help detect exposure effects, and how medical providers should interact with affected veterans.


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