Burn pit advocate groups GruntStyle, Burn Pits 360, and several other veteran service organizations united at Capitol Hill to bring a clear message to lawmakers.
Veterans who were exposed to burn pits overseas should be presumed to have been exposed to toxins. They should have access to the benefits and cares provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
During their day of advocacy, they urged lawmakers to support the bipartisan Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters to Burn Pits and Other Toxins that was recently introduced by Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.
Comedian and activist Jon Stewart said, “You spend your time when you come back home basically as a defendant in a trial for your health care and health…They have to come home and fight against the very government that they volunteered to defend, is immoral, is unconscionable, and is easily remedied.”
The bill would provide VA services and benefits to members who developed illnesses due to burning pit exposure and other toxic exposure. According to the VA, over 3.5 million veterans have
exposure to burn pits.
Over 78% of burn pit claims have been denied by the VA. A recent IAVA study found that 86% of respondents who served post 9/11 had been exposed to burn pits. Of those 86%, 89% have developed health conditions as a result.