Health Care

Military Burn Pit Victims

Military Burn Pit Victims”

Veterans advocates say service members exposed to the pits developed cancer and respiratory illnesses, but the US government has said the toxic substances are not conclusively linked to severe health conditions. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and others Tuesday morning in calling on Congress to provide financial assistance to veterans suffering from ailments as a result of toxic exposure from burn pits the military used to dispose of waste in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We are four wars behind in taking care of the veterans that have fought them", he explained.

"They don't want to do this for these veterans because they think it's too expensive", he said. "We did it to ourselves and we're ignoring it".

Right now, vets are being denied medical coverage for a whole host of conditions ranging from asthma to multiple forms of cancer, on the grounds that they can't definitively prove their ailments were caused by the burn pits.

Jon Stewart speaks at a press conference on "The Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act of 2020" at the House Triangle on September 15, 2020 in Washington, DC.

One of those is Le Roy Torres, a Texan veteran and police officer who is disabled from his illnesses, and founded the activist group Burn Pits 360 with his wife after he couldn't get care.

"Now paint this picture in your head: A little girl walking into the bathroom on multiple occasions, finding her daddy bent over, gasping for breath, and blood is everywhere on the floor", she said. That high bar has led to many denials of claims and care, according to Gillibrand and advocates.

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Danielle Robinson was in attendance Tuesday. Robinson spoke on the Capitol steps alongside Stewart and other advocates.

"We've tried everything else", Gillibrand said. It would cover numerous same diseases the plague 9/11 responders, including asthma, cancer, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other breathing disorders.

"We did the epidemiology studies". I don't know, we don't have the science.' It's bulls***.

The bill would label burn pit exposure as a presumptive condition similar to illnesses developed from Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The agency also has said if burn pit care was expanded the volume of patients would create enormous costs.

Noel said the study found "insufficient evidence" linking respiratory illnesses and combat deployments.

Gillibrand is seeking Republican co-sponsors, many of whom have supported other burn pit legislation in the past. She did not say how many of those were denied. Stewart said this is just the beginning. "But VA is being purposefully obtuse, and they're purposely misdirecting people as a way of avoiding responsibility ... they put veterans on nearly a literal trial". The Veterans Administration runs a registry for veterans to self-report burn pit illnesses that lists 212,000.

In Iraq, one notoriously large pit in Balad burned continuously for years, at one point incinerating 147 tons of waste per day, Military Times reported.

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