Military Burn Pit 

Concerns are building about whether or not the routine burning of waste products in open-air pits on military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan could be the cause of disabling respiratory illnesses in veterans from those wars. More and more disability claims are reaching the Veterans Administration (VA) from vets who say it is true. They believe their exposure to toxic smoke has caused their pulmonary or respiratory diseases.

While disability claims continue to mount up, the Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating the unusual pattern of lung-related diseases in veterans from these wars.  A determination has not been reached as of yet, but the Alpha team is ready to take on claims from veterans who believe their respiratory illnesses were caused by exposure to burn pits.

We have seen how long it took the Veterans Administration to recognize all the wide-ranging effects of Agent Orange to Vietnam veterans exposed to the chemical defoliant.  They just added three more diseases as being connected to Agent Orange.  Will it be as difficult to connect the respiratory problems our newest veterans are experiencing from breathing in poisonous smoke from open dumps?  

Some medical experts say that it is hard to prove whether or not an illness is caused by environmental exposure. Others, such as Dr. Robert F. Miller, who is a pulmonary expert at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center thinks there is a link. He has been conducting studies on veterans from Iraq who have respiratory illnesses.  In a New York Times article about burn pits, he said, “How big a problem is it? I think it’s pretty big. The soldiers know more about it than the physicians. I get calls from soldiers all over the country.”

The VA has started a large-scale study with the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine to find answers. The study should be done by next year.

In the meantime, Alpha takes the side of the veteran. We stand ready to help.

Article Source: New York Times

Note: All representation coordinated by Alpha is provided by our employees, the Advocates, who are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). No private organization that trains and employs accredited agents has been legally recognized by the VA for the purposes of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims. This work must be done by the Advocates themselves and not organizations.