Monday, March 24, 2014

Congressman Tim Bishop Urges VA to Expand Assistance to Veterans Exposed to Open-Air Burn Pits

Congressman Tim Bishop sent a letter to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki, urging the Secretary to designate constrictive bronchiolitis a presumptive service-connected condition for veterans exposed to toxic fumes from open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Designating this rare and life-threatening disease a presumptive service-connected condition will make it easier for veterans diagnosed with constrictive bronchiolitis to access medical treatment and to receive VA compensation. In 2012, the Social Security Administration made it easier for individuals to access disability benefits by adding constrictive bronchiolitis to its list of Compassionate Allowances, and identified one of the causes of constrictive bronchiolitis to be exposure to toxic fumes. There has been a significant increase in constrictive bronchiolitis and its symptoms among veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I commend the Social Security Administration for making it a little easier for our nation’s veterans to access the benefits they have earned through their service; it is now time for the Veterans Administration to do the same,” said Congressman Bishop. “The use of open-air burn pits has been recognized as a significant danger to our military personnel and, thanks in part to legislation I authored, that use has been limited. Research conducted at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and other institutions strongly suggests a relationship between open-air burn pit exposure and a constrictive bronchiolitis diagnosis that cannot be ignored. Our nation’s veterans deserve the benefits afforded this designation.”

Constrictive bronchiolitis is marked by the small airway branches of the lungs being compressed and narrowed. The constriction is generally caused by scar tissue and inflammation. The condition, which can only be definitively diagnosed by a lung biopsy, is irreversible.



Read more about "Constrictive Bronchiolitis:"
May 09, 2010
Constrictive bronchiolitis is a scarring of the small airways of the lungs." The news was reported by Fox 17 (WZTV Nashville) and reveals that doctors at Vanderbilt University have beens studying the problem since 2004 and ...
Jul 21, 2011
A recent study reports that soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are being diagnosed with a pulmonary disease called constrictive bronchiolitis. The findings have been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Aug 11, 2012
The pulmonary disease, constrictive bronchiolitis, is also called obliterative bronchiolitis or bronchiolitis obliterates. Medical research has been identified the medical condition as being causally related to exposures to dust ...
May 20, 2011
Approximately 69% of the soldiers who underwent biopsy, had an unusual thickening of the small airways which he termed, "constrictive bronchiolitis." Click here to read more about burn pit claims for benefits and lawsuits.