The expansion of the Burn Pit Registry Act was included as a section of the National Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2016. While the President had originally vetoed the bill, Congress made changes to the Act and the revised bill met the approval of President of Obama.
SEC. 728. SUBMITTAL OF INFORMATION TO SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS RELATING TO EXPOSURE TO AIRBORNE HAZARDS AND OPEN BURN PITS.
(a) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and periodically thereafter, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs such information in the possession of the Secretary of Defense as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs considers necessary to supplement and support—
(1) the development of information to be included in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry established by the Department of Veterans Affairs under section 201 of the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2012 (Public Law 112–260; 38 U.S.C. 527 note); and
(2) research and development activities conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs to explore the potential health risks of exposure by members of the Armed Forces to environmental factors in Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular the connection of 350 •S 1356 EAH such exposure to respiratory illnesses such as chronic cough, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, constrictive bronchiolitis, and pulmonary fibrosis.
(b) INCLUSION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION.—The Secretary of Defense shall include in the information submitted to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under subsection information on any research and surveillance efforts conducted by the Department of Defense to evaluate the incidence and prevalence of respiratory illnesses among members of the Armed Forces who were exposed to open burn pits while deployed overseas.In addition to the Burn Pit Registry, and struggles with the VA for treatment and benefits, veterans are seeking damages in the Burn Pit Lawsuit. The pending action seeks: compensation, medical care and future medical monitoring, for those veterans, private military contractors and civilian employees who have been exposed. The case is now pending in US District Court and the Court has permitted people to be added to the case.
The 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.
The cases allege that prolonged exposure to the burn pits' smoke, ash and fumes that may have resulted in chronic diseases, risk of future illness and death. The lawsuit alleges that KBR burned large amounts of unsorted waste, including hazardous waste, medical waste, and human waste, at military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The cases In re KBR Inc, Burn Pit Litigation, have been consolidated, and are venued in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, before Judge Roger W. Titus.
Click here to read more about burn pit claims for benefits and lawsuits.
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