Rep. Gabbard Introduces Burn Pits Legislation in Congress

January 18, 2019, 11:18 AM HST · Updated January 18, 11:18 AM
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Bipartisan legislation was introduced this week to evaluate the exposure of US servicemembers to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaiʻi, who joined in introducing the Burn Pits Accountability Act called burn pits “the Agent Orange of post 9/11 veterans.”

Congresswoman Gabbard, who is the founder and Co-Chair of the Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus said, “Over 165,000 veterans have registered their names in the Burn Pit Registry, something that’s voluntary, but there are millions of our troops who have been exposed to these toxic burn pits during their deployment.” She continued saying, “So far, our government has failed to fulfill its responsibility to them, and to recognize the toxins they have been exposed to — just like what happened to our Vietnam veterans decades ago when our government ignored their exposure and the ensuing illnesses that came from Agent Orange.”

The Burn Pits Accountability Act would evaluate the exposure of US servicemembers and veterans to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals by:

  • Requiring the Secretary of Defense to record whether servicemembers have been based or stationed at a location where an open burn pit was used or exposed to toxic airborne chemicals, including any information recorded as part of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, in the Periodic Health Assessment, Separation History and Physical Examination, and Post-Deployment Health Assessment.
  • Enrolling any servicemember who meets the above criteria in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, unless he or she opts-out.
  • Requiring the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to share information relating to exposure of burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals recorded in PHAs, SHPEs, and PDHAs.
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Below is a video of the comments Rep. Tulsi Gabbard made in Congress:

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