WASHINGTON—DAV is applauding the long-sought legislation that requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to compile a registry of service members and veterans exposed to emissions from burn pits used at military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas.
“Our efforts to gain congressional support for the registry led to passage of this legislation in the House and Senate late last year, and signed into law by President Obama last week,” said DAV National Commander Larry A. Polzin. “This law will help quantify the illnesses that likely stemmed from breathing hazardous fumes emanating from the pits. It is our hope that the information from this registry, which will be given to Congress, will help determine the number of veterans who may have been exposed to burn-pit smoke so the VA can track their medical histories and keep them apprised of new treatments for associated conditions.”
Burn pits were used in Iraq and Afghanistan to incinerate waste that included destroyed Humvees, batteries, unexploded ordnance, rocket pods, plastics, medical wastes and amputated body parts, along with jet fuel used to ignite the fires.
“Thousands of veterans have blamed breathing toxic fumes from the burn pits for cancer and other diseases,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski. “This registry will help private and government physicians in documenting health conditions potentially related to the burn pits and perhaps clearly identify the source of these illnesses that are now linked to the burn pits.”
“We will closely watch the development of this registry, and when completed, will call on our government to provide exposed veterans health care and benefits for their illnesses and compensation for their families and survivors,” said Jesinoski.
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.