"President Biden vowed yesterday to avoid repeating the “mistake” of Agent Orange in determining when rare diseases suffered by veterans are tied to environmental exposures during military service, throwing his support behind expansive legislation aimed at providing more benefits to veterans suffering health problems linked to burn pits.
Throughout the Iraq and Afghan wars, soldiers disposed of waste, including tires, jet fuel and human feces, by burning it in giant holes in the ground that were often as large as football fields. Once alight, the trash released fine particulate matter and other harmful chemicals like dioxin that nearby service members inhaled. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates some 3.5 million veterans were exposed to the burn pit fumes, and many returned home from war suffering from rare lung diseases and cancers.
Still, the Department of Veterans Affairs was reluctant to acknowledge links between burn pits and health conditions until Biden took office (Greenwire, Nov. 11, 2021). In just the past couple of months, the department has given 13 conditions “presumptive” status, allowing affected veterans and their families to receive health care and after-life benefits (E&E News PM, March 1)."