WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) today voted with a majority of his colleagues in the House to pass the bipartisan Burn Pit Registry Enhancement Act. This legislation will strengthen and enhance the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) registry of service members and veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes from open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“When the brave men and women of our military return home from their service, they should have peace of mind that they will be cared for,” said Bost. “I’ve had veterans come to my office after having trouble with the VA concerning health conditions that were potentially caused by the use of burn pits in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s deeply frustrating that the VA does not have enough data to fully understand the effects of burn pits. We’ve seen this movie before with the Blue Water Navy veterans from the Vietnam War. Today’s legislation is a good, bipartisan step forward to address this issue early with our most recent generation of veterans.”
As early as 2003, U.S. military installations in Afghanistan and Iraq began to rely on open-air burn pits to dispose of waste materials. The Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Registry helps veterans, doctors, and the VA monitor veterans' health, keep them informed about studies and treatments, and improve programs to help veterans who are concerned that they may have been exposed to toxic chemicals while they were deployed.
The bipartisan Burn Pit Registry Enhancement Act would ensure that the burn pit registry is updated with the cause of death of registered individuals, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the health of individuals on the registry, including if any of their health complications or cause of death were the result of burn pit exposure. This important information will better enable the registry to support research into the range of health impacts from burn pits that emitted toxic compounds and develop appropriate health care responses for veterans to improve their lives.
# # #