Last week, when Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Chief Policy Officer, Army vet Melissa Bryant, spoke before the Senate and House Committee on Veterans Affairs, one of the items she addressed was the exposure of vets to toxic exposure to chemicals, metals and other hazardous materials through burn pits. During her testimony, she told them she believes these exposures could be "the Agent Orange of our era."
This statement came from both her fear of what lies ahead and her experience with the past as Bryant was exposed to burn pits in Baghdad, and her father's exposure to Agent Orange during his tour in Vietnam.
"I was helping him look through his VA disability claims and he was speaking to all the issues of Agent Orange which you can trace back to when he was in Vietnam in 1968," Bryant says. "So, 50 years later he is still suffering from the effects of walking through defoliated areas with Agent Orange. So that's something that from my deployment experience a decade ago, I have to question, where am I going to be 40 years from now?"