Marine Robert Ziegler was infantry deployed like many others in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and was around toxic fire pits.
“With burn pits, we used rocket fuel, jet fuel, we used to burn everything,” he says. And things they could not transport home, like equipment, they also burned. There were also chemicals — of what — he says God only knows. “So that’s 14 months I was totally in all that,” he says. The pits were scattered throughout forward operating bases.
Ziegler says he is now combating various ailments, possibly related to the pits and the barrage of sandstorms in the desert. “Every time I cough or sneeze, I see stars, I get really hot, feel like I’m going to faint,” says Ziegler, “I have irritable bowel syndrome.” He says every year; it’s something new.
The PACT Act is designed to ease the process for VA disability claims by making changes to or establishing new presumptives for certain conditions related to toxic exposure.
Read the Full Story
Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021 or the Honoring our PACT Act of 2021
This bill addresses health care, the presumption of service-connection, research, resources, and other matters related to veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during military service.
The bill provides eligibility for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care, including mental health services and counseling, to veterans who
- participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (a qualifying activity that requires a corresponding entry in an exposure tracking record system),
- served in specified locations on specified dates, or
- deployed in support of a specified contingency operation.
The bill establishes the Formal Advisory Committee on Toxic Exposure to assist with the various procedures in establishing or removing presumptions of service-connection.
The bill modifies or establishes the presumption of service-connection for certain conditions or purposes for various groups of veterans.
Among other requirements, the VA must:
- provide a veteran with a medical examination regarding the nexus between a disability and toxic exposure risk activity if a veteran submits a disability compensation claim for a service-connected disability with insufficient evidence,
- incorporate a clinical questionnaire to help determine potential toxic exposures as part of the initial screening conducted for veterans with a VA primary care provider, and
- establish a registry for current or past members of the Armed Forces who may have been exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances due to the environmental release of aqueous film-forming foam at a Department of Defense location.
#burnpits #burnpitregistry #pactact #burnpitexposure