President Joe Biden has traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, to call for a major expansion of the health benefits for U.S. war veterans who fell ill after being exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
More than 15,000 veterans have claimed some type of disability from burn pit exposure, including deadly cancers, headaches, brain damage, chronic lung conditions, and more.
Exposure to the toxic fumes may have contributed to his eldest son Beau Biden’s brain cancer, which claimed his life in 2015.
Beau Biden was exposed to burn pits while serving in Iraq, including Camp Victory in Baghdad and the notorious burn pit at Balad Air Base.
The 10-acre open-air burn pit at Balad was kept burning with jet fuel, and at its peak in 2007 and 2008, incinerated 100 to 200 tons of waste materials every day — everything from used batteries to body parts.
Mr. Biden traveled with Denis McDonough, the secretary of veterans affairs, to a clinic near Fort Worth where he met with injured veterans — including some who began coughing up black matter after serving near burn pits.
He also highlighted efforts by lawmakers to expand health coverage. Earlier this month, the House passed a bill to help veterans exposed to burn pits by expanding disability benefits and classifying more health problems as likely related to burn pit exposure.