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Former VA Secretary Speaks Out on Burn Pit Exposure!

by | Oct 1, 2020 | Blog, Burn Pit Exposure, News, Service Connected, Veteran's Benefits

Former VA Secretary Speaks out on Burn Pit Exposure!

Former VA (Veteran’s Affairs) Secretary David Shulkin has reportedly told Fox News that he believes the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is not doing enough to help provide vital benefits to service members who are returning from war.

Even more so, those that were made sick by exposure to burn pits

In a statement, Shulkin said the following: 

I think the VA is a terrific organization that does many, many things exceptionally well. But the area that I think that we continue to make the same mistake on, for generations of veterans, is in our benefits area. We put the burden of proof back on the people who need our help, and who are sick. And, we make them show us the scientific evidence and the documentation about how they were injured. And I think that’s a backward system.”

David Shulkin left his position as the Secretary of the VA back in March of 2018 and has been part of the coalition that is actively working towards providing nearly 200,000 Veteran’s with help.

The coalition is inclusive of several different advocacy groups, such as the Wounded Warriors Project and Burn Pits 360. Recently, they were lobbying for the passage of a new bill, which would help list burn pit exposure as a cause of and condition for any service member who fought in Afghanistan or Iraq.

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I Served in Iraq/Afghanistan, What Risks Should I Be Looking For?

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs is aware that anyone who served in Afghanistan, under Operation Enduring Freedom, from October 7th, 2001 to present day, was unfortunately at risk for being exposed to a multitude of hazardous conditions, including: 

  • Burn Pits: Troops were exposed to open-air waste disposal consisting of burning chemicals, paint, medical & human waste, munititions, petroleum, plastic, rubber, wood and discarded food.
  • Cold Injuries: Being in and around the mountain regions of Afghanistan caused troops to endure harsh winters with freezing temperatures, leading to hypothermia, frostbite and other various cold-weather conditions.
  • Depleted Uranium: The United States military used depleted uranium inside of any of their armor-piercing projectiles. The element itself is far less radioactive than traditional uranium but it is unfortunately just as toxic, and serious health problems can still result from internal exposure, inhalation and/or ingestion.
  • Mefloquine: This anti-malaria drug poses serious side-effects to many, including anxiety, paranoia, depression, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, muscle fatigue, irregular heartbeat and/or lung problems.
  • Noise: Hearing loss is a direct result of loud explosions, and can also play a major role in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Occupational Hazards: Working with heavy machinery, or industrial chemicals can lead to occupational illnesses.
  • Rabies: This can be contracted through animal bites or contact with saliva from an already infected animal.
  • Sand, Dust and Particulates: Afghanistan’s southern region is primarily desert terrain and the inhalation of fine particulates is clearly unavoidable in every way.
  • Toxic Embedded Fragments: Shrapnel that is contaminated with toxic embedded fragments can potentially push deadly chemicals into the bloodstream.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury/Injuries: Explosions or projectiles can produce concussive force, and can also penetrate the skull destroying brain tissue, ruining cognitive impairment.

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Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban is prepared to help veterans with benefits issues and to also pursue relief for victims of various debilitating diseases or injuries, all of which are directly related to and in conjunction with prior military service.

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