WASHINGTON — The House unanimously approved a bill this week to make the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry a more useful tool for researching the health effects of toxic exposure on servicemembers and veterans.
The House passed the Burn Pit Registry Enhancement Act on Wednesday with a vote of 416-0. It would allow family members of deceased servicemembers and veterans to enter cause of death in the registry. As of now, only registered individuals are allowed to update their health information.
The change was recommended by veterans groups, including Burn Pits 360, which has expressed concerns that the registry hasn’t been used to his fullest potential.
“According to Burn Pits 360, without tracking [causes of death] ... the registry’s ability to establish mortality rates related to conditions and diseases associated to toxic exposure will be precluded,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Pits were used until 2010 at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to burn trash, human waste, petroleum, rubber and other debris, releasing hazardous fumes into the air. Some servicemembers exposed to the smoke have attributed medical conditions, such as respiratory issues and cancer, to it.