GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer is pleased to report the recent advancement of the Burn Pits Accountability Act. We strongly support this legislation as a first step to ensure that all those affected by burn pit toxins are accounted for, in order to call for further research focused on these veterans.
Since the Persian Gulf War, a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States was the use of burn pits. Smoke from these pits contained toxic substances that have not been thoroughly researched to determine the full impact of exposure. Given lung cancer’s long latency period and the disproportionately higher impact on veterans, especially those exposed to carcinogens during active duty service, this legislation would help improve the health of our country’s service members.
Federal legislation was reintroduced on January 17, 2019, by Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-2-HI) who introduced in the House, H.R. 663, the Burn Pits Accountability Act and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who introduced a companion bill, S.191, in the Senate. This bill requires the Secretary of Defense to evaluate whether a service member has been (1) at a location where a burn pit was used to dispose of waste, or (2) exposed to toxic airborne chemicals. The evaluations would be required in periodic health assessments, physical exams conducted immediately prior to separation from active duty, and deployment assessments. If a service member was exposed and report being exposed, the VA Secretary will enroll the member into the Open Burn Pit Registry, unless they opt out.
On June 4, 2019, The Burn Pits Accountability Act (H.R. 663) was passed as part of the House Armed Services Subcommittee markup of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and most recently passed as part of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee report, clearing the bill to go to both the House and Senate Floor for a final vote and passage into law.
GO2 Foundation is proud to join forces with the many service member organizations working to raise awareness about the Open Burn Pit Registry that will get veterans the care they deserve. With great excitement, we welcome the opportunity to work in close collaboration with the VA, Representative Gabbard, and Senator Klobuchar to address lung cancer among our veterans.