Press Releases

Washington—The Senate today added an amendment drafted by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to the national defense authorization bill directing the military to conduct a study comparing cancer prevalence among military aviators and aviation support personnel to that of the general population. The Military Aviators Cancer Incidence Study Act was introduced earlier this year after reporting by McClatchy suggested that military aviators might be exposed to radiation that places them at higher risk of developing certain cancers. 

            “I’m deeply concerned that our military aviators may be exposed to cancer-causing radiation in the course of carrying out their duties,” said Feinstein. “These service members risk their lives enough for their country without the added risk of cancer. I’m particularly concerned by an apparent cluster of cases at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. This provision will require a comprehensive study so we can get to the bottom of this problem and take steps to protect our aviators and aviation support personnel.”

            In addition to Feinstein, the Military Aviators Cancer Incidence Study Act is cosponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.). 

            Full text of the bill is available here

            The bill would do the following: 

  • Require the Department of Defense to conduct a study to determine if there is a higher incidence of cancer among military aviators as compared to similar age groups in the general population.
  • Require that, if the study determines a higher rate of cancer among military aviators, the department would then have to identify carcinogens associated with military flight operations, environments where aviators might have been exposed to increased radiation and military locations with higher incidences of cancer. 

            The Military Aviators Cancer Incidence Study Act is supported by the following organizations: American Veterans (AMVETS), Association of the U.S. Navy (AUSN), BurnPits 360, California Communities Against Toxics (CCAT), Cease Fire Campaign, Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service (COAUSPHS), Dixon Center for Military and Veteran Services, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), Fleet Reserve Association, HunterSeven Foundation, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Life Aid Resilience Research Initiative, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Military Veterans Advocacy, National Guard Association of the United States, National Veterans Legal Services Program, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, Reserve Organization of America, Stronghold Freedom Foundation, Task Force Dagger Foundation, The Enlisted Association (TREA), The Independence Fund, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), United Soldiers and Sailors of America, Veteran Warriors, Veterans Families for Exposure Awareness (VFEA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Vets First, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).