WASHINGTON — For years, Veterans Affairs leaders and administration officials have promised they won’t let health issues surrounding burn pit exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan become another “Agent Orange” in the community.
Now, advocates and a handful of lawmakers are worried it already has.
“The level of awareness among members of Congress on the problems from burn pits is abysmally low,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii and an Army National Guard soldier who served in Iraq in 2004-2005. “Too few understand the urgency of the issue.”
Gabbard and Afghanistan war veteran Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., recently introduced new legislation dubbed the Burn Pits Accountability Act to require more in-depth monitoring of servicemembers’ health for signs of illnesses connected to toxic exposure in combat zones.