Burn Pits 360 Announces Grand Opening of Warrior Support Center
Burn Pits 360 Advisory Board Member and Exposure Expert Kerry Baker Discusses Burn Pit Claims in New Video
Burn Pits 360 Advisory Board Member and exposure expert Kerry Baker discussed burn pits and VA disability claims in new video. Baker, joined by veteran advocate and attorney Robert Chisholm ofChisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, discussed how burn pits were used during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and how service members now suffer from adverse health conditions due to their exposure.
Military burn pits were open-air pits used as a means of waste disposal on U.S. military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Djibouti after September 11, 2001. Everything from medical waste to metals were burned in the pits around the clock, exposing service members to toxic fumes and inhalants. These burn pits were managed by both the United States military and private military contractors, including Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a military contract recently the subject of a ruling on burn pits and lung disease.
Ruling for Burn Pit Exposure A recent ruling in a Workers' Compensation case against KBR could impact veterans filing VA disability claims. The claimant was a KBR employee who was deployed to Afghanistan as a private contractor and worked around the burn pits. She developed severe disabilities including a lung condition and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to her time in Afghanistan.
The ruling agreed with the claimant that her lung condition was caused by exposure to the burn pits, and ruled that KBR must pay for her medical coverage for her condition. The ruling that her lung condition is due to exposure to burn pits could have an impact on veterans seeking VA compensation, although VA is not bound by precedent set for Worker's Compensation.
What Was Released By the Burn Pits? Military burn pits released a number of toxic compounds including hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and dioxins. The Department of Defense has released air samples from the burn pits showing the presence of particulate matter and inhalants, but they have not released samples of air within the smoke screen of the burn pits. For those that were in the direct line of the smoke, these air samples do not give an accurate picture of possible exposures.
Mr. Baker and Mr. Chisholm discuss how burn pits emitted similar contaminants as those contained in herbicides used in Vietnam, most notably Agent Orange. Agent Orange contained dioxin, specifically 2,4-D; 2,4,5-T and its contaminant TCDD. TCDD is the most potent of all dioxins and is listed in the VA's presumptive rule for herbicide exposure. TCDD is also a byproduct of what was burned in burn pits, exposing veterans to a dioxin that has been recognized by VA to cause a number of serious health conditions. Mr. Baker states that veterans exposed to burn pits should be considered under the VA's herbicide presumption as they were exposed to a dioxin, TCDD, that is listed in the regulation.
Applying For VA Benefits Many veterans who apply for VA disability benefits for their burn pit-related conditions are denied service connection, in part due to a lack of understanding of the dangers of burn pits and the materials they released. Unlike Agent Orange, the VA does not have a presumptive rule for burn pit-related conditions. Since there is no presumptive rule, burn pits claims are decided on a case-by-case basis. The VA adjudicates these claims for service connection by looking for an event in service, a medically diagnosed condition, and then a medical link ("nexus") between the event and the veteran's condition.
Each month, Burn Pits 360 honors a fallen soldier. Retired Sergeant 1st Class Fred Slape served two tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. He was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer, and passed away at the age of 42.
Support a Congressional Hearing on Toxic Exposure to Burn Pits
Take Action to Prove the Connection Between Burn Pit Exposure and Illness by Participating in the Burn Pits 360 Registry Research Study
Burn Pits 360 Registry is a research study, collecting data on burn pit exposures and related illnesses. The goal is to prove the connection between burn pit exposure and illness. Before now, this information was only available to the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. So far, over 5,000 individuals have participated. Your data will enable Burn Pits 360 to advocate and lobby on behalf of the veteran community for VA benefits, policy change, and specialized health care. To participate, visit us on our website here.
Opening of New Warrior Service Center Set for May 2nd
Burn Pits 360 founders Rosie Torres and Army veteran Leroy Torres announce the opening of the Warrior Support Center in Robstown, Texas in May. Both Rosie and Leroy were featured in an article to discuss the resources and services that the center will provide to local veterans.
The Warrior Support Center offers a safe space for veterans who are returning home from service and aims to foster a sense of home and comradery. The Center will offer services such as case management, claims assistance, and job training, and includes a computer center, recreation center, and exercise area.
The grand opening of the Center is May 2nd at 10 AM, and the Center is currently accepting donations for materials such as books and movies, and is looking for sponsors and volunteers. Click here to sign up to volunteer.
Burn Pits 360 to Speak on Panel at University at Buffalo School of Law
Rosie Torres, Executive Director of Burn Pits 360, will participate in a panel discussion at the University at Buffalo School of Law following a free screening of Delay, Deny, Hope You Die. The screening and panel discussion will take place Monday, April 23rd at 509 O'Brian Hall in The Cellino & Barnes Conference Center. The film will begin at 6 PM and the panel discussion will begin at 7 PM.
Legal Help for Veterans
Disability Benefits: If VA has denied your disability compensation claim, assigned you the wrong impairment rating, or if you are entitled to an earlier effective date, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick for assistance. CCK is also experienced at helping eligible veterans get VA benefits for special monthly compensation (SMC) or total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU). Contact CCK toll free at 844-291-8569 or visit CCK online athttps://cck-law.com.
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Burn Pits 360 is community of veterans with burn pit-related illness, their families, and advocates with the common goal of exposing the harms of toxic burn pit exposure and obtaining benefits and policy change. Join us. Like us on Facebook!
Meet the Burn Pits 360 Team
Founder: CPT (Ret.) Le Roy Torres Executive Director: Rosie Torres Secretary: Tammy McCracken Program Manager: Will Wisner Legislative Liaison: Cindy Aman Director of Development:Daniella Molina
Advisory Board Ret. Colonel David Sutherland Dr. Steven Coughlin Ret. Lt. Col. Gregg Deeb Dr. Robert Miller Ret. Lt. Col. Brian Lawler Kerry Baker Solomon Ortiz Jr., former Texas House of Representatives, District 33 Solomon Ortiz Sr., former Congressman for the 27th District of Texas