Sunday, June 30, 2013

House Armed Services Committee Adopts Shea-Porter Amendment to Protect Health of America’s Troops from Burn Pit Exposures

The House Armed Services Committee agreed to an amendment offered by Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter that would expand the list of prohibited waste in open-air burn pits to include toxic material such as munitions, asbestos, tires, mercury, batteries, aerosol cans, and other waste. The amendment is now part of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

Speaking to members of the House Armed Services Committee, Shea-Porter said, “For eight long years, the Department of Defense continued the burning of noxious and toxic wastes that endangered the health of all personnel stationed at our bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

“Massive quantities of these substances were burned: tires; batteries; treated wood; plastics; munitions and explosives; compressed gas cylinders; fuel containers; aerosol cans, polychlorinated biphenyls; asbestos; mercury; foam tent material; petroleum, oils, and lubricants (except for fuel for initial combustion)…No one here would allow our families to be exposed to such dangerous materials and poisons on a daily basis. So why would we allow our troops and other base personnel to be exposed? They too deserve our support and protection.”

America’s major veterans service organizations to endorse Shea-Porter’s amendment include: Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), American Legion, National Guard Association of the US (NGAUS), and Disabled American Veterans. The amendment passed the committee with bipartisan support.

Shea-Porter has a long history of working to raise awareness about the potential long-term health impacts of exposure to burn pits and to reduce the exposure of our service members to their potentially toxic emissions.

This new amendment builds on a provision she successfully added to the FY10 National Defense Authorization Act (now law) that prohibits the disposal of hazardous and medical wastes in open-air burn pits in war zones, and to prohibit, as policy, the open-air burning of such waste (unless the Secretary of Defense certified that there was no other option). This amendment codifies in law the list of toxic wastes prohibited.

Shea-Porter has also introduced bills to mandate the establishment of a burn pit registry. In April of this year, she sent a letter to Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, expressing her concern over allegations that the VA is concealing data regarding the adverse health effects experienced by troops exposed to burn pits.

You can watch Congresswoman Shea-Porter discuss the amendment here.


Read more about the "burn pit registry."
Jun 22, 2013
This follows the announcement on June 3, 2013 by the Veterans Administration (VA) that it is accepting public comments concerning the establishment of Burn Pit Registry mandated by Congress. The Registry is supposed to ...
Jun 06, 2013
The VA has been mandated by Congress to establish a Burn Pit Registry to monitor those in military service who may have been exposed to toxic agents as a result of burn pit exposures while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dec 21, 2012
U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced today that their bipartisan legislation to create a registry of service members and veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes from open-air ...
Jan 11, 2013
"President Obama signed legislation Thursday requiring the Veterans Affairs Department to establish a registry for troops and veterans who lived and worked near open-air burn pits used to dispose waste in Iraq, Afghanistan ...

Friday, June 28, 2013

New Law Proposed to Study Burn Pit Toxic Exposures

Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) were joined by representatives from veteran advocacy groups, physicians, and family members of veterans today to announce new bipartisan legislation to address the health crisis among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who were exposed to open-air burn pits and other airborne hazards during their service overseas. Original cosponsors of the legislation also include Congressmen Walter Jones (R-NC) and Jim Cooper (D-TN).

The “Helping Veterans Exposed to Toxic Chemicals Act” (H.R. 2510) will establish three
Centers of Excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions related to open burn pit and other environmental exposures. Thousands of veterans have returned home after serving overseas with a myriad of illnesses ranging from asthma and other respiratory afflictions to serious gastro-intestinal disorders. While the precise number of veterans affected is not currently known, it is estimated that tens of thousands might be suffering due to their exposure overseas. The Centers of Excellence will have access to and make use of the data collected by DoD and the VA for the burn pits registry that was created by law in 2012.

The Centers of Excellence for the study of exposure-related illnesses will be jointly administered by VA and Department of Defense in a framework similar to the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Traumatic Brain Injury. The locations of the three Centers of Excellence will be selected through a competitive application process to ensure the highest quality of study and care. Qualified institutions must have a proven track record of post-deployment health exposures among veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan and meet other requirements in order to be considered. The legislation authorizes an appropriation of $30 million in each fiscal year from 2014 through 2019 to establish and operate the three Centers.

The “Helping Veterans Exposed to Toxic Chemicals Act” has been endorsed by IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America), The Sergeant Sullivan Center, and BurnPits360. The full text of the legislation is available at http://timbishop.house.gov/uploads/HR2510_BurnPits.pdf.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Proposed Burn Pit Registry Questionnaire Published on the Internet

A purported copy of the the proposed Open Burn Pit Registry Airborne Hazard Web-accessible Self-Assessment/ Questionnaire was been published on the Internet. 
Proposed Open Burn Pit Registry Questionnaire

This follows the announcement on June 3, 2013  by the Veterans Administration (VA) that it is accepting public comments concerning the establishment of Burn Pit Registry mandated by Congress. The Registry is supposed to be operational in January 2014.

The questionnaire will request information about the following cancers:

01 Bladder 
02 Blood 
03 Bone 
04 Brain 
05 Breast 
06 Cervix 
07 Colon 
08 Esophagus 
09 Gallbladder 
10 Kidney 
11 Larynx-windpipe 
12 Leukemia 
13 Liver 
14 Lung 
15 Lymphoma 
16 Melanoma 
17 Mouth/tongue/lip 
18 Ovary 
19 Pancreas 
20 Prostate 
21 Rectum 
22 Skin (non-melanoma) 
23 Skin (DK what kind) 
24 Soft tissue (muscle or fat) 
25 Stomach 
26 Testis 
27 Throat - pharynx 
28 Thyroid 
29 Uterus 

It will also inquire concerning the following respiratory issues:


1. Cough for more than 3 weeks
2. Sputum or phlegm production
3. Wheezing or whistling in the chest
4. Shortness of breath; breathlessness
5.Decreased ability to exercise
6.Hay fever or other respiratory allergy
7. Sore throat, hoarseness, or change in voice
8. Chest pain, chest discomfort or chest tightness
9. Chronic sinus infection/sinusitis

The VA has been mandated by Congress to establish a Burn Pit Registry to monitor those in military service who may have been exposed to toxic agents as a result of burn pit exposures while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Written comments and recommendations on the proposed collection of information should be received on or before August 5, 2013."


Thursday, June 6, 2013

VA Requests Public Comments on Establishment of Open Burn Pit Registry

The US Department of  Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it is accepting public comments on the establishment of The Burn Pit Registry. The VA has been mandated by Congress to establish a Burn Pit Registry to monitor those in military service who may have been exposed to toxic agents as a result of burn pit exposures while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, Federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Registerconcerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed new collection, and allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments for information needed to ascertain and monitor the health effects of the exposure of members of the Armed Forces to toxic airborne chemicals and fumes caused by open burn pits."

"Web-based data will be collected to provide outreach and quality health services to Open Burn Pit Registry participants and improve VA's ability to understand the health effects of exposure. Participant health concerns, demographics, deployment information, environmental monitoring data, self-reported exposures, health status, and health care utilization will be monitored of over time through routine and adhoc analysis to improve health care programs and develop hypotheses for health effects exposure.

"Written comments and recommendations on the proposed collection of information should be received on or before August 5, 2013."



On Feb. 23, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed the burn pit lawsuits that were consolidated in In re KBR Inc. Burn Pit Litigation. An appeal is presently pending in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Read more about the Burn Pit Registry:
Dec 21, 2012
U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced today that their bipartisan legislation to create a registry of service members and veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes from open-air ...
Jan 11, 2013
"President Obama signed legislation Thursday requiring the Veterans Affairs Department to establish a registry for troops and veterans who lived and worked near open-air burn pits used to dispose waste in Iraq, Afghanistan ...
Jul 12, 2012
Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, today thanked the House Veterans Affairs Committee for moving his Open Burn Pit Registry Act forward. The Open Burn Pit ...
Jun 30, 2012
Open Burn Pit Registry Act of 2011 - Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to: (1) establish and maintain an open pit burn registry for members of the Armed Forces deployed in a contingency operation in Iraq or ...