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Toxic Exposure

Exposure to contaminants or other environmental hazards is a major health issue for post-9/11 veterans. Many warriors who were exposed have developed cancers, autoimmune disorders, skin diseases, respiratory illnesses, and other conditions.

As of August 2020, there are more than 200,000 veterans enrolled in the VA’s Burn Pit Registry – all of whom served on or after 9/11 and were deployed to a base or station where open burn pits were used. 

And it’s not just burn pits causing these illnesses and injuries – some who have fallen ill have reported being exposed to chemicals found in fire-fighting fluids, depleted uranium shells, engine fumes, and more. For those seeking treatment for these illnesses and toxic exposure sustained during their military service, the largest barrier for utilizing VA health systems is establishing a service-connected disability.


WWP Honor Our PACT Act News Conference

Exposure to burn pits and other environmental hazards is a serious health issue for many post-9/11 veterans. More than 3 million post-9/11 veterans were potentially exposed to toxic substances during overseas deployments. Now, far too many of them are developing cancers, autoimmune disorders, skin diseases, respiratory illnesses, and other conditions. We strongly support the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. This important legislation will give veterans access to the health care and benefits they have earned through their service to our nation.

Wounded Warrior Project Survey Highlights Veterans Mental Health, Toxic Exposure Concerns

The latest Annual Warrior Survey from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) demonstrates that the effects of war and military operations on wounded, ill, and injured veterans can last a lifetime. The survey, which is the largest, most comprehensive survey of post-9/11 wounded veterans, shows nearly all WWP warriors (98%) reported exposure to hazardous or toxic substances during military service, and more than 7 in 10 were exposed to burn pits.

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