What is a Burn Pit?

What is a Burn Pit?

Burn pits have been getting a lot of attention recently, because the federal PACT Act expanded access to benefits for veterans who were harmed by exposure. Here’s everything you need to know about what burn pits are, why they can be dangerous, and where you may have been exposed. 

If you believe you may have been harmed by exposure, an experienced veterans disability benefits advocate can be a great help in determining whether you may be entitled to VA disability benefits. 

Burn Pit Definition

A burn pit is an open-air area used for burning unwanted materials. Some of the items and substances the U.S. military has disposed of using burn pits include: 

  • Chemicals
  • Human waste
  • Medical waste
  • Discarded food
  • Unexploded ordnance
  • Petroleum 
  • Lubricant products
  • Rubber
  • Plastic
  • Styrofoam
  • Wood
  • Metal/aluminum cans

Are Burn Pits Dangerous? 

While burning can be an efficient way of disposing of refuse, burning some substances creates toxic smoke. When those substances are burned in an open-air environment, and at lower temperatures than in an incinerator, people nearby may be exposed to those toxins.

The specific risks depend on a wide variety of factors, such as: 

  • The materials being burned
  • How near to the burn pit you are
  • The duration of the exposure
  • Whether and what protective gear was used

Some effects of this exposure could be temporary, others may be more long-lasting. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, a great many U.S. service members have been exposed to these toxic substances.  

Where Might I Have Been Exposed?

Veterans who served in a variety of areas may have been exposed to toxic smoke from burn pits. Some of these include: 

  • Bahrain
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Exposure is presumed if you served in one of the areas above on or after August 2, 1990. 

  • Afghanistan
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Uzbekistan
  • Yemen

Exposure is presumed if you served in one of these locations on or after September 11, 2001.

Getting Help after Exposure

If you were exposed to burn pits during your military service and believe your disability was caused or aggravated by that exposure, you may be entitled to veteran disability benefits. To learn more about how you may be able to secure VA disability benefits or increase your disability rating, talk to an experienced veterans disability advocate as soon as possible. 

Contact us here or call Veterans Help Group right now at (855) 855-8992.

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