March 3, 2021 – An airbase in southern Uzbekistan known as K2 was used by the US Military to support missions in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Between 2001-2005, it was reported there was “glowing green pond water” and “black ooze from the ground and signs that warned radiation.”
A 2004 military assessment determined there was a potential for daily contact with radiation and around 2000 veterans reported “life-altering health conditions” related to deployment at K2 including cancer.
Many veterans have died while their claims were pending at the VA. The K2 Veterans Care Act of 2021 is in the process of being implemented in order to grant presumptive status for veterans who served at K2. Senator Richard Blumenthal stated, “This bill will be a lifeline for the veterans who were exposed to dangerous toxins in glowing ponds and black goo reported at K2.”
This means many veterans may be entitled to monthly compensation for conditions associated with exposures to toxins while serving at K2 between 2001-2005. The VA continues to deny Veterans’ claims associated with exposures at K2 and states more research is needed.
The VA states they will perform epidemiological studies to determine if there were any known exposures. This study will possibly take over a year until it is complete and the VA will determine if the presumption is warranted.
Reference: “The veterans who need Congress to act in 2021”, Opinion by Stephen F. Lynch, Mark Green, Richard Blumenthal, and Tammy Baldwin, cnn.com, https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/03/opinions/k2-veterans-need-congress-lynch-green-blumenthal-baldwin/index.html; “Lynch, Green, Blumenthal, & Baldwin Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Cover K2 Veterans’ Toxic Exposure Care and Benefits”, House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Feb 25 2021, https://oversight.house.gov/news/press-releases/lynch-green-blumenthal-baldwin-introduce-bipartisan-bicameral-legislation-to