Veterans: Burn Pit Study Sets Landmark Bill

Veterans: Burn Pit Study Sets Landmark Bill

The Department of Veteran Affairs{VA) healthcare system is broken; many of America’s veterans can’t get the care they need. Studies looking into burn pits used by the US military between 1990-91 during the Persian Gulf War and post 9/11 combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq found chronic illnesses linked to service time in those arenas. On September 15, lawmakers introduced a new bill in response to this study.

The landmark Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act, simplifies the process for veterans to receive disability benefits for illnesses linked to exposure to those burn pits.

Those burn pits weren’t your typical bonfire. Some of them were as large as 10-acres and were filled with batteries, plastic, office equipment, dead animals, tires, hospital waste, and other trash types.

Even worse, the use of those burn pits was widespread with US military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan using more than 250 of them.

A report released on September 11 by the National Academy of Sciences established a link between exposure to the burn pits and chronic respiratory diseases. However, it failed to establish a connection with pulmonary diseases.

The 11-member panel openly admitted they weren’t saying there wasn’t a link between burn pit exposure and pulmonary diseases. There simply wasn’t enough evidence proving it.

The momentous bill isn’t likely going to be passed within the legislative year’s remainder. That doesn’t stop John Feal, an advocate, and Jon Stewart, comedian and advocate, from fighting for its passage alongside several veterans service organizations.

The country has a sacred obligation to take care of the brave men and women putting their lives on the line to protect our liberty. Let’s hope Congress gets their act together and passes this bill before it’s too late.

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