Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are becoming increasingly concerned that exposure to toxins produced by burn pits during deployments will mirror the experiences of veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. In an effort to help address these concerns, earlier this year Congress passed the Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act. This Act marks the first major step by Congress to research how burn pits affected veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, while this legislation is another step forward in helping veterans suffering from exposure to burn pits, a true solution for burn pit exposure is most likely still years away.
Responding to the increasing concern regarding how exposure to burn pits is affecting veterans, this September, Congress passed the Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act. The Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act is the second piece of legislation Congress has passed to help veterans suffering from the effects of burn pit exposure, but the first piece of legislation that may finally provide answers regarding what conditions are caused by burn pit exposure.
In 2013, Congress required the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to establish the Burn Pit Registry to identify health conditions possibly related to burn pit exposure. While the Burn Pit Registry provided data for use in research it did not provide funding to carry out research regarding the data collected from the Burn Pit Registry.