On Tuesday, February 7th 2017, a bipartisan bill, the Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act, was introduced in the Senate. The bill is aimed at helping veterans who have been exposed by toxic burn pits while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act was introduced by Senators Thom Tillis and Amy Klobuchar in hopes of creating a ‘center of excellence’ within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The proposed bill will provide resources to the VA that will allow them to better study the health effects caused by burn pits. Burn pits are large man made holes in the ground that were used to get rid of waste and garbage on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. The range of debris that were disposed of in these pits included things like plastics, batteries, electronics, medicine, dead animals, and human waste. Everything was incinerated with jet fuel to accelerate the break down.
The issue of burn pits and the toxic smoke they release, often only feet away from the sleeping quarters of our armed forces, has begun to be considered the new Agent Orange. “With an increasing number of our brave men and women returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan citing illness potentially caused by burn pits exposure, it’s clear that we can’t afford to wait” Senator Klobuchar stated in an interview with Fox news. Almost 64,000 active service members and retirees are listed on a Burn Pit Registry. In an interview with Fox News Army Sgt. Daniel Diaz discussed the experience of being overseas. “The clouds of smoke would just hang throughout the base, no one ever gave it any thought. You are just so focused on the mission at hand. In my mind, I was just getting ready for the fight.” Diaz returned form duty in 2008, a year later he started developing health problems that included cancer, chronic fatigue and weakness, neuropathy, and hypothyroidism.
Disability Benefits for Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans
If you suffer from an illness possibly related to exposure to an open burn pit while on active duty, please contact the experienced advocates at Veterans Help Group to evaluate any possible claims that could be made. You have a right to disability compensation if injuries from your service are affecting your ability to live a normal life. Call us at 855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.