On August 2, Congress passed the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, which seeks to address the issue of veterans exposed to burn pits while serving in the military. This bill helps those who, until now, may have struggled to obtain disability benefits or healthcare due to the poorly understood nature of toxic exposure to burn pits. It is expected that around five million veterans will benefit from this new law.
What Are Burn Pits?
Burn pits are large open-air pits that the United States military digs to dispose of various sorts of waste, including some potentially toxic materials. While it is often considered an archaic and extreme practice, the military still uses these pits to help dispose of waste when no other viable option exists. As a result, millions of veterans over the course of the past few decades have been exposed to burn pits, and have suffered as a result.
What Are the Dangers of Burn Pits?
In addition to more conventional waste, burn pits are used to dispose of all kinds of military waste, including some materials and chemicals known to be toxic to humans. In addition, because burn pits do not perfectly destroy everything they are used to burn, various substances can mix in the pit and create new, potentially dangerous chemicals. When the pits are then burned, these chemicals enter the atmosphere through the smoke they emit, which people can breathe in.
Why Was the PACT Act Necessary?
The PACT Act was passed to deal with the fact that many veterans may have been exposed to burn pits and suffered major medical problems as a result, including asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, and certain types of cancer. However, due to a lack of clear link between burn pit exposure and these medical problems, veterans have struggled to gain recognition and obtain disability benefits and healthcare. The PACT Act helps to clear some of these problems by making it easier for veterans to obtain the help they need for burn pit exposure.
What Should You Do?
If you are a veteran in good standing and you have a medical condition that may be related to burn pit exposure, you should speak to a veterans’ disability lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you with the process of obtaining benefits and getting your condition recognized for the purposes of getting care. The sooner you call, the sooner they can get to work ensuring you receive the care and benefits you deserve.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.