The thousands of U.S. military personnel and private contractors whose health was compromised by the dense black smoke of burn pits -- and who were then denied proper treatment -- may finally be vindicated by a recent court ruling.
The decision marks a victory for the nearly 64,000 active service members and retirees who have put their names on a Burn Pit Registry created by the Veterans Administration, bringing them one step closer to getting adequate medical coverage, something that has never been guaranteed. Private contractors who were also exposed to the burn pit toxins also have been denied coverage.
"This case has legitimized the disease," former contractor Veronica Landry of Colorado Springs, whose case was a part of the recent ruling, told Fox News. "There are many people out there who are still not getting the treatment they need.
"This ruling changes that."
Soldiers have fallen gravely ill or even died from exposure to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they are not the only ones who have gotten sick. Civilian workers and private contractors like Landry are also suffering an array of maladies including cancer, respiratory problems and blood disorders and, like military victims, they say they are being ignored.
But private employees don't even have the Veterans Administration to lean on. Landry filed her case with the Labor Department for this very reason.