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IAVA Urges Passage of Burn Pits Accountability Act in 2020 NDAA

Washington, D.C. – Today, IAVA proudly anticipates the passage and signing into law of the Burn Pits Accountability Act, landmark IAVA-led legislation addressing one of the most urgent health issues affecting the post-9/11 generation of veterans.

The final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 was released last night, which must pass before December 31, 2019, and it includes the Burn Pits Accountability Act (BPAA). The BPAA will require Department of Defense to evaluate whether each member of the Armed Forces had been based or stationed where an open-air burn pit was used to dispose of waste or exposed to toxic airborne chemicals.

“Today we get one step closer to seeing the Burn Pits Accountability Act become law. I want to thank Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Dan Sullivan, Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Representative Brian Mast, for their lead sponsorship and tireless devotion to this issue,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “We now call upon Congress to swiftly pass the NDAA and for the President to sign it into law so we can begin the hard work of seeing who has been affected and ensuring they receive the treatment they need.”

Nearly all military service members who deployed to combat zones since 9/11 were exposed to open-air burn pits: pits of all categories of waste that were burned near where our troops lived and worked. Veterans who breathed those fumes are now coming down with rare cancers, autoimmune diseases and respiratory problems. Shockingly, the VA is rejecting 80% of claims by veterans related to their burn pit exposure. The BPAA is an essential first step in IAVA’s fight to ensure that veterans exposed to burn pits are taken care of.

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