Burn Pit Exposure VA Disability Compensation
Beginning with the Gulf War in 1990, the military used open-air combustion as a form of waste management for large-scale refuse disposal at most U.S. military installations in Southwest Asia, with some installations burning more than 50 tons per day of toxic materials, including human/medical waste, ammunition, metals, and plastic.
Unfortunately, the military did not provide breathing protection to service members living near the huge plumes of putrid, harmful black smoke that billowed from the burn pit fires every day. As a result, many Veterans deployed to these areas were exposed to hazardous toxic waste.
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The burn pits released pollution, including particulate matter and neurotoxins, into the air inside nearly every U.S. installation in the war zone. Unfortunately, the military did not provide breathing protection to service members living near the huge plumes of putrid, harmful black smoke that billowed from the burn pit fires every day. As a result of the constant black clouds of burning waste, Veterans raised concerns that burn pit toxic exposures may be related to acute and chronic conditions such as cancers, sinusitis, bronchitis, headaches, lesions, asthma, abdominal pain, chronic bronchiolitis, chronic infections, and more.
In 2014, VA confirmed that “smoke from these pits contained substances that may have short- and long-term health effects, especially for those who were exposed for long periods or those more prone to illness such as individuals with pre-existing asthma or other lung or heart conditions. More than 200,000 Veterans signed up for VA’s burn pit registry.
On April 25, 2022, VA announced that nine rare respiratory cancers are now presumed service-connected if the Veteran was in the line of duty in Southwest Asia theater of operations beginning August 2, 1990, to the present, or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti starting September 19, 2001, to the present:
In addition, three non-cancerous conditions are presumed service-connected if the Veteran served in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present or The Southwest theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present. These conditions must have appeared within ten years of the Veteran’s separation from active duty.
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