Burn pit exposure has become synonymous with combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries to which American troops deployed in the aftermath of 9/11, much in the same way that exposure to Agent Orange became synonymous with combat in Vietnam.
Burn pits were a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Smoke from these pits contained substances that may have short and long-term health effects. Exposure to burn pits is especially harmful to those who were exposed for long periods or those more prone to illness, such as individuals with pre-existing asthma or other lung or heart conditions.
Waste products in burn pits include but are not limited to chemicals, paint, medical and human waste, metal/aluminum cans, munitions and other unexploded ordnance, petroleum, and lubricant products, plastics, Styrofoam, rubber, wood, and discarded food. Burning waste in open pits can create more hazards compared to controlled high-temperature burning—like in a commercial incinerator.
What is the PACT Act supposed to do for veterans exposed to Burn Pits?
The PACT Act is a bill that directly addresses the effects on Veterans and others who served in the military and were exposed to environmental toxins, burn pits, radiation, and Agent Orange. The bill was signed into law on August 10, 2022, after it was passed by Congress on August 2, 2022.
The PACT Act will make big changes that will make it easier for Veterans and others who have been exposed to harmful toxins to get better care. Some of the most important changes to this law are listed below.