LSA Anaconda, Balad, Iraq - Smoke billows in from all sides as Sgt. Richard Ganske, 84th Combat Engineer Battalion, pushes the bulldozer deep into the flames of the burn pit to keep burnable items constantly ablaze, disposing of them so they do not clutter up the post. Bulldozers and excavators are the heavy equipment used by the 84th EN Bn to manage trash at the burn pit, on Sept. 24, 2004. (28th PAD, U.S. Army via dvidshub.net)
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NEW YORK, NY – Today (Feb. 1, 2021), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is  launching its six-week campaign to highlight top issues facing post-9/11 veterans. Taking a deep dive into priority issues, IAVA is dedicating the first week to its legislative goals and research on burn pits and toxic exposures.

Millions of veterans have been exposed to toxic and dangerous substances as a result of their military service, often unknowingly. The effects of these toxins lead to respiratory diseases, cancer, and even death, in countless veterans each year.

“With over three million veterans with possible toxic exposures, it’s clear that there is a problem and that Congress must take action.” said Tom Porter, Executive VP for IAVA. “ No one who has fought for our country should have to fight for access to the care they need. Our servicemembers risk their lives each day for our safety and freedom, and we must continue to advocate for them in return. We are eager to work with President Biden, who has indicated a desire to address toxic exposures, and his administration to address the crucial issue.”

IAVA has backed the two most comprehensive bills on military toxic exposures and burn pits: Toxic Exposure in the American Military Act (TEAM Act) and the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act (Warfighters Act). This legislation will improve access to VA benefits that veterans need as a result of toxic exposures during service. IAVA has also raised awareness for the VA Burn Pits Registry, a VA service that tracks and monitors those potentially exposed to burn pits so they can be provided with the necessary resources for care. and provides them with the necessary resources for care.

This year, IAVA will continue to advocate for the VA to directly address the widespread impacts of toxic exposures and fight for veteran’s benefits. The safety of our nation’s servicemembers is a bipartisan issue, and IAVA has supported advocacy efforts across the aisle to ensure veterans receive the care that they deserve. Learn more about IAVA’s work on these issues here.

IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at quickreactionforce.org or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at iava.org/membership.

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