Friday, May 1, 2015

VA Releases Initial Findings of Burn Pit Registry

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released an initial report concerning data reported to the Open Burn Registry. The VA's initial review of the data found the following:

  • The vast majority(at 96%) of registry participants said they were near a burn pit (close enough to see the smoke) on at least one of their deployments.
  • 60-2% of Registry participants said that their duties included the burn pit(For example, trash burning, hauling trash to the burn pit, burn pit security, and trash sorting have to burn pit) during at least one of their deployments.
  • Compared to registry participants who reported no exposure to burn bits, participants who reported exposure to burn pits: 
    1. Were younger and more likely to be male. 
    2. Were more likely to be in the Army or Marine Corps and less likely to be in the Air Force or Navy; and 
    3. Had a greater number of deployments and longer cumulative length of deployments. 
A total of 19,082 individuals participated in the registration process as of September 30, 2014. Included in the registry we're not only those military personnel who were involved in an operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi freedom/Operation New Dawn, but it also included veterans who were exposed in other locations where airborne hazards occurred.

The Burn Pit Registry was authorized on January 10, 2013 under Public Law 112-260 which required the establishment of a database for Veterans who may have been exposed to Burn Pits in a Iraq and Afghanistan. The purpose of the registry is tomorrow her and ascertain potential health effects from exposure to airborne environmental hazards, with the overall goal of improving outreach, communication, and the Veterans Health Administration programs for eligible Veterans.

Additionally a lawsuit is presently pending against the military contractors who operated the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan under a contract with the US Military. The lawsuit alleges that the contractors operate the burn pits in a negligent fashion causing illness and disease to military personnel.

The case is a consolidated action under Federal Multi-District Litigation against government contractors Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) and Halliburton for alleged harm to military personnel & other individuals caused by exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan that were used to dispose of material including medical waste, plastics, paints and pesticides.
Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 He has been representing Burn Pit victims and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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