Committee to review respiratory effects of burn pits on U.S. service members

Burn Pit Fire
Photo credit Getty Images

Burn pits are once again at the heart of research and conversation as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, recently announced they are convening a review on the respiratory effects of burn pits on U.S. service members who served in Southwest Asia.

The 21-month review will highlight burn pit-related hazards and examine health problems including cancer, bronchial asthma and chronic bronchitis as it relates to the toxic exposures.

Just last year, a judge found that open-air burn pits, the type used to burn sensitive items, clothing, and human waste overseas, are connected to respiratory disease.

The Department of Veteran Affairs has also been interested in tracking how airborne hazards could have negatively affected U.S. troops. With their burn pit registry, veterans of who were deployed to Southwest Asia theater of operations on or after August 2, 1990, as well as those who have deployed to Afghanistan or Djibouti after September 11, 2001.

The registry currently has over 170,000 participants.

As more information is uncovered about the adverse health effects toxic exposures have on U.S. troops, more research is being done on how to better care for them when they return home. Last week, members of Congress introduced legislation urging the VA to create a register for a chemical called PFAS, commonly found in household products and foam used by military firefighters.

Related: Senators urge VA to create registry for those exposed to PFAS

At the end of this review, the committee will produce a report on their findings, conclusions and recommendations in the hopes the information could advise VA on better technology to tackle the issue.

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