Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks to reporters in the Rayburn House Building about the Burn Pits Accountability Act. [Amanda Dolasinski/MOAA]
Nearly every day during her 2003 deployment to Iraq, Christina Thundathil was tasked with cleaning burn pits - a duty that required her to light a fire in a large metal drum and stir waste for disposal.
She has no doubts the job made her ill, including her recent lung disease diagnosis.
As more veterans have come forward, two Army combat veterans serving in Congress - bolstered by support from MOAA and other members of the Military Coalition - are pushing a bill that would track servicemembers' exposure to burn pits or toxic airborne chemicals and share that information with Veterans Affairs facilities.
“I'm excited something can be done,” Thundathil said. “I want to leave the military in a better place than how I found it.”
On Thursday, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Brian Mast, R-Mich., both Army combat veterans, came together to push Congress to unite to pass the Burn Pits Accountability Act. The burn pits issue has been compared to the Vietnam era's Agent-Orange crisis. Agent Orange, an herbicide chemical sprayed by aerial troops to destroy vegetation used for enemy cover in Vietnam, has caused illness to more than 3 million, according to government data.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Veterans-Affected-by-Burn-Pits-Applaud-New-Bill-to-Track-Exposure.aspx