On Thursday, President Joe Biden traveled to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. He participated in a wreath laying ceremony and delivered remarks. He used his first Veterans Day, after becoming the president to announce a federal effort that will focus on understanding, identifying and treating medical conditions that were prevalent in troops who faced toxic environments when deployed overseas.
His administration has announced an effort that will focus on lung problems that affect troops who breathe in toxic air as well as a potential connection that might be there between rare cancers and breathing poor air that is present when troops were stationed overseas.
Federal officials will begin by studying lung and breathing problems and will expand their efforts later. This new effort announced by the White House will make it easier for the following:
Veterans could easily make claims based on symptoms.
More data can be collected from veterans who have been suffering from such conditions.
Veterans can get more time to make claims in case they develop breathing problems such as asthma and sinus.
These new rules give veterans expanded health care as well as additional time as they can make claims within 10 years of service. The government has also changed other rules including which symptoms count and the reason why they count.
The U.S. military knew the risks that were involved with open-air burn pits. Although the defense department says that such pits should be used as a temporary last resort, there have been burn pits that have been operated for over five years, as per a federal investigation in 2013, at a military camp in Afghanistan.
Petrol was put on electronics, human waste and other materials in pits that were set ablaze. They spewed toxic fumes and a host of unknown chemicals that could be very dangerous into the air. These particulate matter might not have only polluted the environment but might have also affected the lungs of the troops stationed in those camps in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Biden has a personal interest in veterans health. His son Beau had been deployed in Iraq. He suffered from an aggressive brain cancer which resulted in an early death. Biden believes that there could be a link between toxic burning pits and the cancer. However, there has been no scientific links between the two factors, as yet.