Friday, May 7, 2010

VA Outlines New Policy to Address Burn Pit Hazards

The Veterans Administration (VA) has released a new 30 page letter outlining a new policy for regional VA offices to following in determining benefits to be paid to veterans.  The Marine Corps Times reported that this is the first time in history that the VA has addressed potential battlefield hazards while troops remained in a combat zone.

The Veterans Administration stated in the letter:

"Service members can be exposed to environmental hazards in the course of their military duties, which may result in adverse health effects.  Numerous environmental hazards in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other military installations that could potentially present health risks to service members and Veterans have been identified.  The hazards discussed in this training letter are as follows:  (1) Large burn pits throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, and Djibouti on the Horn of Africa; (2) ”particulate matter” in Iraq and Afghanistan; (3) a large sulfur fire at Mishraq State Sulfur Mine near Mosul, Iraq; (4) hexavalent chromium exposure at the Qarmat Ali Water Treatment Plant in Basrah, Iraq; (5) contaminated drinking water at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina; and (6) pollutants from a waste incinerator near the Naval Air Facility (NAF) at Atsugi, Japan.  It is imperative that regional office personnel are aware of these environmental health hazards and are well-trained to handle disability claims from Veterans based on exposure to them. "

Click here to read more about burn pit exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan
Click here to read more about burn pit claims for benefits and lawsuits.