Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Burn Pit Lawsuit Proceeds: Health Report Anticipated

The health consequences of exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan will be the subject of report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as the Burn Pit Lawsuit continues forward. Many veterans, private military contractors and civilian workers were allegedly exposed to hazardous fumes and dust from the disposal sites.

A consolidated lawsuit is now proceeding in the US District Court against KBR, a government contractor. The lawsuit alleges that KBR, exposed American service members and private civilian contract workers to dangerous and toxic fumes from its unauthorized use of open-air surface burn pits. The exposed individuals and their families brought a lawsuit against KBR for its allegedly improper use of the burn pits and for failing to warn veterans and civilians of the hazards of being exposed. More exposed and injured veterans and workers are expected to join the case shortly.

The IOM committee meet for its 4th meeting on August 13, 2015 to review material and discuss the health consequences of the potential hazardous exposures caused by the open burning of mixed refuse in large sites during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

In response to a mandate contained in Section 201 of Public Law 112-260, the Institute of Medicine IOM) convened an ad hoc committee to provide recommendations on collecting, maintaining, and monitoring information collected by the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA's) Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry (AH&OBPR). The committee is assessing the effectiveness of the VA’s information gathering efforts and provide recommendations for addressing the future medical needs of the affected groups. 

The OOM study is being conducted in two phases. Phase 1 is  a review of the data collection methods and outcomes, as well as an analysis of the self-reported veteran experience data gathered in the registry. Phase 2 focuses on the assessment of the effectiveness of the actions taken by the VA and Department of Defense and provide recommendations for improving the methods enacted.

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