Last week, the House of Representatives passed language directing the Secretary of Defense to provide a report on the feasibility of establishing an active registry for service members and veterans who have been exposed to occupational and environmental chemical hazards such as toxic burn pits. Passed as part of the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (FY11 NDAA), the language is based on HR 4477, the Military Personnel Toxic Exposure Registry Act, introduced by Bishop and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.
A lawsuit is currently pending against Kellog Brown & Root (KBR) and Halliburton on behalf of soldiers who were exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The report mandated in the FY11 NDAA the will discuss the processes by which service members exposed to toxic chemicals could be included in the registry and also procedures to provide medical examinations to service members eligible for inclusion in the registry. A significant number of the roughly two million service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been exposed to these toxic burn pits, and hundreds of returning veterans are now displaying symptoms of illness.
"I fear we may have another Agent Orange situation developing with these burn pits," said Congressman Bishop. "Our troops deserve to know, and to be taken care of, if the burning of hazardous waste on our overseas bases has made them sick."
The Military Personnel Toxic Exposure Registry Act was endorsed by Disabled American Veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Military Officers Association of America, and the National Guard Association of the United States.
The FY11 NDAA makes record investments in America’s military, authorizing a $726 billion budget to further strengthen our national security, provide our brave men and women in uniform with the tools to do their jobs, and take care of service members and their families.
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. Call Jon L. Gelman at 973.696.7900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org