November 04, 2020

The Call to Address Military Burn Pit Exposure Grows Louder

By Sean Znachko, Esq., Los Angeles, CA

Without access to modern infrastructure, several United States military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas have turned to open-air burn pits as a method of waste disposal.1 While burn pits may have been convenient, there is growing concern over how the pits’ fumes might be affecting the health of service members exposed during their service.2 As more service members register with the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, concerns about the long-term health effects on service members who manned burn pits continue to mount. Veterans’ advocates have turned their attention from the courts (where burn pit litigation has slowed in the past year) to Congress. Burn pit-related issues have held the attention of several members of Congress, along with advocates like former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and comedian Jon Stewart.3 Recently passed and proposed legislation show signs of progress towards gaining a better understanding of the risks of burn pit use and exposure, as well as how to address health risks and treatment options going forward. 

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