The Veterans Affairs and Defense departments would have to provide more help to service members who became sick because of exposure to toxins released from burn pits in combat theaters, should a bill now pending before Congress become law.
The measure, H.R. 5671, would:
* Require the Defense Department (DoD) to keep record of service members who have been stationed near places where they may have been exposed to toxic airborne chemicals. The list should include anyone whose name appears on the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, in Periodic Health Assessments (PHAs), Separation History and Physical Examination (SHPE) and Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA).
* Anyone whose name appears on those lists should be enrolled in the Airborne Hazards and Open Pit Registry, unless they choose not to be.
* The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and DoD should share information about personnel appearing on the lists.
Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Brian Mast, R-Ga., both of whom are veterans who served in combat theaters since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, sponsored the legislation.