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Veterans & Advocates Celebrate As Honoring Our PACT, Signed Into Law

President Joe Biden signed the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act into Law on August 10, 2022. The law expands on V.A. health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune water contamination from 1953 to 1987, Agent Orange in Vietnam, and many other toxic substances. Before the PACT Act, 70% of V.A. burn pit claims were denied. In addition to expanding healthcare to toxin-exposed veterans, the bill also adds certain conditions related to toxic burn-pit exposure to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ list of illnesses that may be linked to military service.

The PACT Act addresses burn pit exposure during combat for service members who suffer from related illnesses. Burn pits were commonly used in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other overseas locations until late 2010 to dispose of waste collected on military bases. Many of the items burned produced dangerous toxic smoke, such as chemical weapons, computer hardware, human remains, medical waste, asbestos, pesticides, paint cans, fuels, rubber, and other materials. Some burn pits reached 10 acres in size and would cover bases in toxic smoke with shifting winds.

Individuals who file a disability claim with Veterans Affairs (V.A.) will receive benefits if they contracted the following cancers due to burn-pit exposure: head, neck, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, reproductive system, lymphatic system, kidney, brain, skin, or pancreas. Aside from various forms of cancer, individuals will also receive disability benefits if they contract the following ailments: asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructivepulmonary disease, constrictive bronchiolitis, emphysema, granulomatous disease, interstitial lung disease, pleuritis, pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis, chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis or glioblastoma. Illnesses such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic sinusitis, or glioblastoma are some additional illnesses the PACT Act covers. Individuals eligible to file a claim must have worked on a military base outside the U.S. as a civilian contractor overseas under a U.S. government contract, or under a public work contract with the U.S. government outside the continental U.S.

With the Camp Lejeune Justice Act included in the PACT Act, those exposed to contaminated water at the Marine Corps Base can file lawsuits for damages and injuries. Individuals stationed at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, for 30 days or more are eligible to file a claim. Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps Base on the coast of North Carolina that was established in 1941. Since then, the base has hosted millions of Marines, their families, and many civilians. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act will allow veterans and others exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to take legal action against the military. Impacted people can recover compensation for their injuries, medical costs, emotional harm, and other applicable damages – including wrongful death.

If you or someone you know lived or served at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, for 30 days, contact Charles Boyk Law offices to file a claim

Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC