WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) has cosponsored the Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), to formally recognize that certain veterans were exposed to burn pits during their service, making it easier for them to access U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and benefits for illnesses and diseases related to exposure to burn pits.
“We owe our men and women in uniform a debt that we can never fully repay, but the very least we must do is ensure that they can access care and benefits for the health challenges that they experience as a result of their service,” said Senator Hassan. “This legislation would take important steps toward helping get veterans who have been exposed to dangerous toxins from burn pits the treatment that they need.”
Given the limited information that exists about exactly when and where burn pits were active, or the precise locations of individuals who served near them, it is unreasonable for a veteran to prove they were exposed to specific toxins from specific burn pits on specific days in order to access the VA benefits that they have earned. The Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act would formally recognize that veterans who served near burn pits in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations were exposed to airborne hazards, toxins and particulate matters. This recognition and concession can potentially aid thousands of veterans who otherwise do not have documentation of their exposure.
To address burn pits exposure, Senator Hassan previously joined colleagues in reintroducing the bipartisan Burn Pits Accountability Act to examine the health effects of exposure to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals on service members and veterans.