Presumptive Conditions Connected to Burn Pit Exposure
Military veterans who were exposed to burn pits have faced a lot of obstacles in securing VA disability benefits. Until recently, only three conditions were presumptively connected to burn pit exposure. That left veterans who developed cancers after their military service or had chronic lung problems from inhaling toxic chemicals responsible for proving on a case-by-case basis that their illnesses and organ damage were service-connected.
Fortunately, that all changed in 2022, with the passage of the PACT Act. Now, many veterans who suffered the consequences of burn pit exposure have long overdue access to veterans disability benefits.
Establishing a Presumptive Connection Due to Burn Pit Exposure
The presumption is really a two-step process. First, veterans who served in specific areas during specific time periods are presumed to have been exposed to burn pits. If someone is presumed to have been exposed, then certain conditions will be presumptively connected.
The locations giving rise to a presumption of burn pit exposure include:
On or after August 2, 1990:
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
- The airspace over these areas
On or after September 11, 2001:
- The airspace over these areas
The conditions presumed connected to burn pit exposure include:
- Asthma diagnosed after service
- Head cancer of any type
- Neck cancer of any type
- Respiratory cancer of any type
- Gastrointestinal cancer of any type
- Reproductive cancer of any type
- Lymphoma cancer of any type
- Lymphatic cancer of any type
- Kidney cancer
- Brain cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis
- Granulomatous disease
- Interstitial lung disease
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Chronic sinusitis
- Chronic rhinitis
This list may be expanded as research into the effects of burn pit exposure continues.
How Do Burn Pits Cause Illness and Organ Damage?
Burn pit exposure has been connected with various illnesses and medical conditions, likely because of the various materials burned in military burn pits. These materials included chemicals, metals, biological waste, plastic, rubber, petroleum, unexploded ordnance, and other potentially toxic materials. The presumptive connections for veterans who served in areas with long-term burn pits relieve the veteran of proving that they were exposed to particular toxins that are connected to their particular condition.
The Time to Get Help is Now
Whether you have previously been denied veterans disability benefits in connection with burn pit exposure or never applied due to the difficulty of proving a service connection, it’s time to act. However, the best approach may vary depending on whether you have applied in the past and the outcome of that claim. Your best next step is to talk with an experienced VA disability advocate. You can schedule a free consultation right now by calling (855) 855-8992 or contacting us here.
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