Biden Signs Two New Bills Addressing Burn Pits

January 01, 2022

President Biden has signed two bills into law that address the military’s use of toxic burn pits as part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

The bills – authored by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) – will expand the Burn Pits Registry and enhance training on the health effects of burn pits.

For years, U.S. military installations have used burn pits to burn everything from human waste to excess equipment and other trash. In the process, exposing more than 3.5 million service members to toxic fumes. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs registry, more than 200,000 veterans have said exposure to the pits has made them ill. However, VA has denied assistance to many of them.

Ruiz’s bills were signed into law on December 27th as part of this year’s NDAA. Here’s a breakdown of both bills:

  1. H.R. 4397 – Department of Defense (DoD) Burn Pits Health Provider Training Act: Requires Defense Department to implement mandatory training for all medical providers under DoD on the potential health effects of burn pits.
  2. H.R. 4400 – Burn Pit Registry Expansion Act: Requires DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand the Burn Pits Registry to include Egypt and Syria.

Both bills aid in the effort for burn pit exposure to become a presumptive condition. Though, there are two other bills currently before Congress that also address burn pits and their impact on veterans.

Earlier this year, Ruiz and others introduced H.R. 3967, the Honoring Our Promises to Address Comprehensive Toxins Act. The PACT Act aims to get veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins the health care and benefits they deserve.

The COST of War Act of 2021 would provide generations of veterans suffering from toxic exposures their due benefits and care for the first time in VA history. The legislation has passed the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in markup unanimously.

News and Press, Veterans Law