Was Your Service Member Exposed to Burn Pits?
During my daughter’s first deployment to Iraq, I remember her talking about everyone taking their turns at managing the burn pits at their hospital in the desert, ridding themselves of all the waste – medical and human - generated by a unit in the middle of nowhere. I’m sure each of you can recall your service member talking about the smoke and smell.
Many service members are experiencing life altering reactions and illnesses to exposure to these burn pits. On January 10, the President signed into law S. 3202, the Dignified Burial and Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2012. The Burn Pits Registry Act was included as part of the larger veterans package. The National Military Family Association joined other military and veteran service organizations in supporting the legislation.
Sponsored by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Bob Corker (R-TN), the bill will create a registry similar to the Agent Orange and Gulf War registries to help patients, doctors and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determine to what extent air pollution caused by open air burn pits has led to medical diseases among service members. The VA is also charged to develop a public information campaign to inform individuals about the registry and periodically notify members of the registry of significant developments associated with burn pit exposure.
The National Military Family Association will push out information as it develops on the implementation of the Burn Pit Registry. Spouses and family members – file this away in your to-do list. Make sure your service member signs up for the registry if he or she was exposed to burn pits. I know I will remind my daughter to sign up.
Kathleen Moakler, Government Relations Director
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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