COPD

Were you stationed as a representative of the armed forces or as a civilian contractor in Iraq and/or Afghanistan and exposed to toxic fumes from burn pits? Are you now dealing with breathing problems or have been diagnosed with a pulmonary disease? If so, you may be entitled to compensation.

Studies published by the Office of Veteran Affairs indicate that there may be a connection between the noxious fumes emitted from open-air burn pits and pulmonary diseases. According to the report, approximately thirty (30) percent of Veterans who had been exposed to the fumes from the burn pits have been diagnosed with various respiratory diseases and other breathing related issues. These respiratory issues range from common asthma to potentially life-threatening diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. While this study is only limited to Veterans, these health issues and problems also extend to the civilian contractors who worked overseas in support of the United States’ military activities.

Questions about the potential hazardous effects caused by the toxic smoke and fumes emitted from burning plastic, medical equipment, used tires and waste in an open burn pit have been circulating for over 10 years. The present issue is not whether the fumes from the burn pits could potentially cause damage to the lungs and subsequent illnesses, but rather whether a sufficient connection can be made between the respiratory problems and the burn pit exposure. The issue facing persons attempting to determine if there is a connection between the burn pits and the subsequent health issues is the gap of time between the exposure and when the health issues begin to affect the person. The negative effects and symptoms caused by inhaling these toxic fumes can take years, and in many cases can take more than a decade after the exposure to present symptoms and health problems.

Despite the potential issue with proving the connection between the exposure to the fumes from the burn pits and the subsequent health consequences, evidence to support the connection is growing and there is hope for those affected by the past exposure. In 2018, a decision by the Office of Administrative Law Judges found that the open-air burn pits are connected to lung disease. With this decision and continued research regarding the ill effects of the fumes from the burn pits, veterans and civilian contractors who worked overseas and are now potentially entitled to compensation.

Importantly for civilian contractors and Veterans alike, the law is on your side and we are here to help. Here at the Barnes Law Firm, we specialize in representing clients injured overseas and protected under the Defense Base Act (DBA). If you or a loved one is now suffering from lung-related problems and were exposed to burn pits while working overseas, call us at the Barnes Law Firm to get the compensation you deserve. We will ensure that you receive the medical treatment and compensation you are owed. Call now, the consultation is free.