Friday, May 18, 2018

Military’s burn pit problems ignored by Congress

Veterans fear Congress has forgotten about the military’s burn pit problems
Military Times
By: Leo Shane III
5 hours ago

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Nathanial Fink, left, and Lance Cpl. Garrett Camacho dispose of trash in a burn pit in the Khan Neshin district of Afghanistan in March 2012. (Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez/Marine Corps)

WASHINGTON — For years, Veterans Affairs leaders and administration officials have promised they won’t let health issues surrounding burn pit exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan become another “Agent Orange” in the community.

Now, advocates and a handful of lawmakers are worried it already has.

“The level of awareness among members of Congress on the problems from burn pits is abysmally low,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii and an Army National Guard soldier who served in Iraq in 2004-2005. “Too few understand the urgency of the issue.”

Gabbard and Afghanistan war veteran Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., recently introduced new legislation dubbed the Burn Pits Accountability Act to require more in-depth monitoring of servicemembers’ health for signs of illnesses connected to toxic exposure in combat zones.
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