Conflict Over Vet Bill Brings Renewed Attention to Military’s Toxic Legacies

The Senate Republicans caused widespread anger by blocking a bill to fund health care for veterans who have been exposed to toxic pollutants, including the fumes from large fire pits in Iraq or Afghanistan. The pits can lead to cancer, respiratory diseases, and other potentially fatal illnesses that Veterans Affairs clinics will not treat. Although the Honor Our PACT Act, a veteran health bill, is expected to pass with bipartisan support. However, the partisan conflict has brought back attention to one of America’s most infamous legacies at home and abroad.

For decades, the U.S. military has used open-air burning to dispose of waste. The “burn pits” addressed by the bill in Congress are well-known among veterans of U.S.-led wars in the Middle East, where tens of thousands of soldiers lived and worked around large pits of burning trash, sewage, military vehicles, unexploded weapons, and other waste. The infamous “burn pits” that were set ablaze in the aftermath of the U.S. invasions into Iraq in 1990, 2003, and 2003 have been a particular focus.

But the military has also used “open burn and detonation” practices to dispose of tens of millions of pounds of unexploded munitions and other wastes at military bases and compounds across the U.S. These “open burns” contaminate the air and groundwater, and they are one reason why environmentalists consider the U.S. military to be the world’s largest polluterAußerdem können Sie auch eine Auswahl an Büchern ansehen. top producer of climate-warmingGreenhouse gas emissions.

Dozens of U.S. military bases, research facilities and ammunition depots can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s database of the most polluted sites in the nation, often because the sites are home to legacy burn pits as well as modern-day operations that dispose of unused weapons and ordnance by igniting the explosive material at “open burn” sites often hidden from public view. U.S. Air Force bases, and other military installations, have also been affected. contaminated water suppliesIn communities across the country with toxic “forever chemicals” in the PFAS family.

Children are being poisoned by hazardous pollution in Iraq from the 2003 U.S. Invasion and years of occupation. Researchers have found a link between heavy depleteduranium and high levels of lead in Iraqi kids, as well as birth defects. This problem is not covered by the U.S. media because of the government’s dispute over veterans’ health care.

Oil spillages can also be caused by the military pesticide contaminationRadiation poisoning due to nuclear weapons testing and other sources of harmful pollution. For many years, the Department of Defense denied, dismissed and downplayedThese legacies have a profound impact on the lives of those who inherit them, as well as the explosive lawsuits and controversies that have been filed for their benefit. servicemembers and their familiesThe debris has accumulated. While the Pentagon investigates environmental contamination at all current and former military bases across America, millions of pounds and billions worth of cleanup remains.

A federal survey of more 28,000 veterans revealed that the vast majority of them worked in or around burn pits during their deployment. Additionally, those who worked in the pits reported higher rates for rare lung disorders and asthma as well as other respiratory illnesses. Still, it’s difficult to prove that a disease is the result of a particular environmental hazard, especially since the burn pits were not adequately monitored for toxic emissions to begin with. Veteran veterans are unable prove a so-called “service connection”Between their current illness and burn pits, Veterans Affairs has denied that they are able to provide any assistance. 78 percentAccording to reports, there were approximately 12,000 claims for disability related to toxic exposure.

The PACT ActThis legislation is currently before Congress to overhaul the system. It would expand health care services to treat a wider range conditions that may be caused by exposure to radiation from nuclear weapons, burn pits, or Agent Orange, the toxic chemical used in the Vietnam War. Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (a Democrat) has stated that he expects a vote this week on the legislation.

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