By January 17, 2019, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Burn Pits Accountability Act (HR 663) to the House or Representatives - Armed Services & Veterans' Affairs Committees. This bill required the Department of Defense (DOD) and the military departments to evaluate whether each member of the Armed Forces has been (1) based or stationed where an open air burn pit was used to dispose of waste, or (2) exposed to toxic airborne chemicals. Members located where an open burn pit was used or exposed to toxic airborne chemicals must be enrolled in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, unless the member elects not to enroll. 
The effects of Burn Pits are being compared to other known military health cases like the wide exposure to Agent Orange from Viet Nam- as well as the many cancer cases caused by disasters like 9/11. According to Chisolm Chisolm & Kilpatrick, a prominent law firm representing veterans health issues, "...Unlike exposure to Agent Orange, VA does not consider any disabilities presumptively associated with exposure to burn pit smoke. Therefore, post-9/11 veterans filing claims for service connection must obtain a medical opinion stating that their condition is at least as likely as not a result of their exposure to burn pit smoke. VA adjudicates burn pit claims on a case-by-case basis in which the decision is based on the facts unique to each claim. However, post-9/11 veterans exposed to burn pits do in fact suffer from disabilities entitled to presumptive service connection because they were exposed to an herbicide agent as defined by VA under 38 CFR § 3.307(a)(6). Here, VA defines herbicide agent specifically as “2,4-D; 2,4,5-T and its contaminant TCDD; cacodylic acid, and picloram”. TCDD is the unfortunate byproduct in the production of 2,4,5-T, one of the two herbicides in Agent Orange. Nevertheless, it is also a byproduct of incomplete combustion of certain harmful substances such as those disposed of in the burn pits, as indicated above." 
VA has determined that the presumption of service connection based on exposure to an herbicide agent, which includes TCDD, is warranted for any conditions for which VA acknowledges a positive association between the condition and such exposure. Furthermore, VA has already established this positive association as it relates to many conditions, including but not limited to, diabetes mellitus type 2, ischemic heart disease, and respiratory cancers. As a result, post-9/11 veterans who were exposed to burn pits should be afforded the same presumptions as Vietnam veterans.
Wife of Burn Pits Victim Builds Action Response Initiative
*NYCRA Exclusive Interview with Mrs. Rosie Torres of BurnPits360 - Edited by: Cheri Ambrose
My husband is Leroy Torres, Ret. Captain of the US Army (2nd Battalion, 402nd Army Field) who served 10 years in active service. His latest tour was 1 year spent in Balad, Iraq (2007) as Deputy Support Operations where he was constantly exposed to the toxic emissions of Burn Pits. I recall him being quarantined for respiratory issues and when he came home, we ended up at the ER due to severe flu-like respiratory episodes. These issues continue to escalate today, resulting in chronic physical after-effects that recently forced out of his job.
Prior to connecting with John Feal, I remember pulling up the air sampling data from 9/11 online. And then compared the V-A published policy that highlighted the dioxins from a declassified air sampling from Balad (the biggest burn pit) and found that there's around 10 or 12 that are completely the same. Studying further reports on the mortalities and illnesses again, found identical matches.
DIRECT AND CONSTANT PLUME EXPOSURE:
I've heard soldiers describe it as 10 acres worth of a black plume of smoke that just hovered over the whole base all day & all night - where the burn pits were situated near or next to the housing quarters. There was no area that was untouched by this plume. There was soup on the air conditioners; inside their nose; gray matter and black stuff would come out every time they would shower. This horrible stench was everywhere throughout his entire stay. All the soldiers tolerated this because "we're here to work". Leroy slept with a sheet over his face as a habit to reduce inhaling the "black stuff" while he was sleeping. This went on for an entire year with him, but for other soldiers, exposure must have been more.
I started BurnPits360 with a unique set of initiatives; we use real-time data and our own independent registry (separate from the V-A’s registry) to develop policy and legislation that will help save lives. We have direct access to those people that are sick in every congressional district and we track mortality also. Our goal is to shut down every single one of them, but we also want to help our vets at home with resources and any support that they may need.
In the fall of 2019, this dynamic duo has been recruited by Rosie Torres of BurnPits360.org - an advocacy foundation for veterans and families affected by the health effects of Burn Pits exposures. With other powerful supporters like New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a new bipartisan legislative push is underway to ensure fast-acting health response and compensation to the tens of thousands suffering linked health issues from their military service and sacrifice for this country.
* Stay tuned for feature article on BurnPits360.org and the congressional healing on March 23, 2021 about a proposal for Burn Pits Legislation.
Learning from the 1975 NY Tel Exchange Fire: First Major Job-Related Toxic Exposure in Firefighting History
Over 45 years ago, the first responders' community including the remaining survivors of the 1975 NY Tel Exchange Fire recalls one of the most significant disasters in firefighting history next only to 9/11. The many health impacts from this historical event, exposing all responders also resulted in countless safety references from its many occupational hazards as well as prevention protocols and protective innovations.
The NY Cancer Resource Alliance (NYCRA) features Ret. FDNY Ff. Dan Noonan and his contribution & sacrifice to the City of New York. After his tenure at the fire service, Mr. Noonan pursued a life-long national crusade in safety awareness and publishing educational projects including his report about the 1975 NY Telephone Exchange Fire.
Mr. Noonan's career started in Ladder Company 3 on East 13th street where only two years into the fire service, he experienced one of the most historical and devastating fires in the history of NYC Fire Department. He has since been an advocate for the 699 firefighters who responded to the Telephone Company Fire. His countless presentations and published work continues to raise education, awareness and prevention for all emergency responders about occupational toxic exposures-- referencing the 1975 Fire as an historical marker for incendiary airborne toxicities and carcinogens. (See complete article)
What is "SALTY"? A Study of Toxins from Emergent Fire Zones (originally published 7/11/2019)
TOXICOLOGY 101: A THREAT TO FIREFIGHTERS HEALTH
"In the fire service, a seasoned firefighter earns the title "salty" after having enough (ash or smoke dust) contaminants land on their protective gear.
As part of our evaluation of all occupational illnesses contracted by first responders, we enter the world of TOXICOLOGY- the branch of science focused on the effects and detection of poisons. It is also the discipline overlapping chemistry, biology and pharmacology- studying the adverse effects of chemical substances on living organisms. In pursuit of first responders’ safety as far as chemical effects on the body, we connected with Professor David Purser of the Hartford Environmental Research (UK), a renowned toxicology expert who conducted major reviews on fire-exposed carcinogens published worldwide. “9/11 was unusual in that a major environmental hazard resulted from the dust cloud released as and after the Towers collapsed,” says Prof. Purser. “The dust inhaled by responders at the time, and afterwards working at the site, has resulted in serious ongoing and developing health conditions and to this day.
For fires in general, there is also increasing evidence and concern regarding FF exposure to carcinogens, especially from soot contamination to skin and clothing following attendance at incidents and during training.” An abstract from Prof. Purser’s latest presentation – “ Toxins Including Effects of Fire Retardants, During Fires and Post-Fire Investigation Activities” indicates a remarkable breakdown of some of the major toxins and carcinogenic compounds that the average firefighter would be exposed to.
• ASPHYXIANT GASES: CO, HCN, CO2 , low oxygen
• IRRITANTS/ ACID GASES : HCl, HBr, HF, COF2 , H3 PO4, SO2 , NOx
• ORGANIC IRRITANTS: acrolein, formaldehyde, crotonaldehyde, phenol, styrene
• PARTICULATES: especially ultrafine particles + metals
These toxins are usually found within active fire zones- either inside the fire event itself or downwind plume in the form of residues and soot or lethal fragments activated at high temperatures or in airborne smoke. These asphyxiant gases, irritants and particulates are the main causes of injury and death of fire victims exposed to high concentrations inside burning buildings.
Asphyxiant gases cause collapse with loss of consciousness during a fire, leading to death if exposure continues. Irritants and smoke particulates cause pain to the eyes and lungs, with breathing difficulties, which inhibit escape during a fire and can lead to lung inflammation and edema within a few hours of rescue, which can also be fatal. Those surviving may make a good recovery or suffer long term neurological or cardio-respiratory health effects, depending on the severity of the exposure. Those most at risk from these effects at the fire scene are building occupants and emergency responders not protected by breathing apparatus.
See complete article: "A REVIEW OF TOXIC COMPOUNDS FROM EMERGENT FIRE ZONES"- NYCRA NEWS
2) CCK Burn Pits & VA Disability- Veterans Law- "Agent Orange and Burn Pits" https://cck-law.com/blog/burn-pits-the-agent-orange-for-post-9-11-veterans/
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