The New Jersey State AFL-CIO today hailed the US Senate for passing legislation, known as the PACT Act, designed to expand medical benefits for veterans exposed to toxic “burn pits.”
Burn pits are used in the military to dispose of materiel, trash, and other refuse for waste management and to prevent useful items from falling into enemy hands. Burning these materials creates toxins which have been linked to various life threatening and debilitating diseases among veterans. Over 5.5 million veterans are thought to have been exposed to burn pits.
Specifically, the PACT Act builds upon the Agent Orange Act of 1991, by expanding presumptions and increased medical care related to Agent Orange exposure to veterans exposed to burn pits.
Our Union Veterans Council advocates on behalf of veterans, and we are proud to join in this significant expansion of their social safety net. It is our solemn duty to care for our brothers and sisters in uniform when they return from service.
Chair of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council Don Dileo said, “This bill is an important step forward for all veterans. Sometimes, health issues do not appear for years after exposure to toxic chemicals, and by the time they are identified, it is too late. The PACT Act will undoubtedly save lives, make a real impact on veterans’ health, and give their families peace of mind, knowing that our country will continue to stand behind them even after their service has ended.”
We would like to thank all of the New Jersey U.S. Senators and Representatives who voted for the measure and look forward to President Biden signing the bill into law.
To learn more about the Union Veterans Council, visit here.