Burn Pits

I wanted to reach out to you, my readers, about burn pits and what you would like me to relay to a room full of County Veteran Service Offices (CVSOs) next week about burn pits.

The presentation is to the Minnesota Association of CVSOs at their annual training. What I am hoping to pull out of all the literature are the block and tackle tricks VA uses and how to move around them.

As we now know, the Burn Pit Registry was basically a joke on veterans who believed participation would result in sooner approval of presumptive conditions for those permanently injured after breathing the smoke. Sadly, it seems our government has turned this mess into a Kafkaesque quagmire to elude accountability.

Most recently, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, formerly OIM, issued a report in February that dispelled any hope the data VA gathered would be of any value beyond the following:

The best use of the registry and data it collects is to make it a means for the eligible population to document their concerns over health problems that may have resulted from their service, to bring those concerns to the attention of VA and their health care providers, and supply VA with a list of persons who are interested in burn pit exposure issues.

As some speculated, the registry was as useless as previous registries for Agent Orange and Gulf War. The organization went on to blast the registry and how VA implemented something that could have been an amazing tool for resolving ambiguities in favor of developing cases supporting presumptives:

Registries are a relatively quick and inexpensive means of collecting and maintaining data on a group of people with a shared health condition or exposure. However, those that rely on voluntary participation and self-reported data have several intrinsic limitations. These include potential biases in the collected data that result from selective participation, misclassification of exposures or diseases, faulty recall, and other sources of inaccuracy. Such issues make them an intrinsically poor source of information on exposures, health outcomes, and possible associations among these events.

The questionnaire that VA developed to collect information from AH&OBP registrants is subject to these limitations, which are exacerbated by flaws in the registry’s structure and operation as well as in the questions that are asked and the way they are asked. The cumulative effect of the flaws is evidenced by the high percentage (about 40 percent) of respondents who initiated but did not complete the questionnaire and the number of questions that had large nonresponse rates. It’s important to understand, though, that even a well designed and executed registry would have little value as a scientific tool for health-effects research compared to a well-designed epidemiologic study. (emphasis added)

You can expand this most recent example over the past 60 years, pause and repeat. The game playing our government engages in to save a buck on the back of soldiers and veterans never seems to end.

For the presentation, I plan to walk through the duplicity of VA’s historic position in cleaning up poor decisionmaking by the Pentagon when fighting our nation’s wars. In addition to some of these examples, I would love to get feedback from you on your experiences.

So how is VA doing when adjudicating and researching exposure to burn pits and other toxins manufactured by international chemical manufacturers creating a variety of dioxins and other horrific chemicals?

How long will our soldiers be victimized by the chemical industry? When will DOD or VA get serious about researching these exposures?

When will VA train its medical examiners in how to evaluate burn pit and related exposures?

Why are these organizations so fixated on their “case by case” review when so many soldiers were affected by the same plums over Balad and elsewhere?

Source: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2017/Burn-Pits-highlights.pdf

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65 Comments on "If You Could Teach VSOs About Burn Pits, What Would You Say?"

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Nic Mach

Don’t fall in em.

Crazy elf
These are my opinions! 1.) How many lawmakers, VSO’s, VA or other agencies have actually been in the position of inhaling or ingesting toxins? 2.) How long will it take for our lawmakers, VSO’s and VA to realize the chemical and/or biological weapons used during warfare, are actually detrimental to, NOT only the military, but the civilian population as well. Even after the wars are fought? 3.) How long will it take for our lawmakers, VSO’s and VA realize the… Read more »
91Veteran
You answered why Crazy Elf…liability for the mess created. Why do lawmakers pass OSHA laws requiring specific actions for medical care if civilians are exposed to say Benzene, but then allow the military to ignore the same law? If a substance is dangerous enough for congress to pass a law to protect civilians, that danger does not go away by putting on a uniform. Its amazing what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission required for any DOD civilian exposed to DU, but… Read more »
Crazy elf

namnibor,
Since you live in Ohio, here’s something I just ran across this morning.
From; “Crazy Clown”
Published on Sept. 7, 2017
Titled;
“JOHN CASICH GOV. OHIO EXPOSED (DACA)

(26:44 minutes long)
The “link” is:
“http://www.ojjpac.org/Ohio-illegal-al…”

Check it out. Also, read the comments section!
You probably are aware of your corrupt Govenor. Yet, this video sheds MORE light on Kasich’s illegal activities!
(Sorry about going “off subject”!)

namnibor

Yeah, our Gov. yesterday invited every refugee and immigrant to escape DACA, come, all come to Ohio. Our Gov. has the same plate of crazy as John McCain.

Leatherneck

namnibor John McCain should just retire between him and his wife they got enough money John McCain he 100 percent service connected employable he would not go to a Veteran Medical Center he said that .

91Veteran

Speaking of Crazy John Mcainiac, I wonder if his eye/brain tumor would have been caught earlier if he had an AO registry exam where the VA didn’t ignore the data.

Immigrant USMC Vet
Please educate yourself prior to commenting about refugees and immigrants. If you are 100% Native American then your comments “could” be appropriate, this is a nation of immigrants, Native Americans are the true citizens of this land, everyone else is an immigrant. Although DACA might be the current news in town, the United States Armed Forces actually do recruit citizens of other countries such myself, I became a U.S. citizen years after my military service, we are a nation of… Read more »
91Veteran
IUSMCV, Native Americans or Indians are not the true citizens of the country since they warred with and pushed out people already on the land, and is shown best by studying those who were in the West and Southwest before other tribes forced them out. I, and I am sure others here, but they can comment themselves, are well aware of the military recruiting from other nations. I served along side many from other nations. As a Marine, I am… Read more »
91Veteran
One other comment IUSMC. I am happy that you have become a citizen and will have the ability to fully participate in everything this nation has to offer for citizens, but please be aware of something. DACA is deferring action against those who have chosen NOT to become a citizen, yet take advantage of everything this nation has to offer anyway. In my opinion, that is shitting on everything you have done in the Marines, your hard work to become… Read more »
Immigrant USMC Vet
I apologize for my comment and if possible I ask for Mr Krause to remove it as I think we are being distracted from the main subject of the issue. My opinion on immigration is a personal one which there is no right or wrong answer on such broad issue with a lot of history, we have provided legal immigration status to many that were involved in perfecting the Nazi holocaust that destroyed innocent lives which clearly didn’t conformed with… Read more »
91Veteran

In some respects IUSMCV, it does pertain to veterans since it involves upholding the law, which we often see the VA failing to do.

I hope you stick around and continue to add your perspective.

NiteWish
Immigrant USMC Vet Get educated: My experience w/Native Americans is that my uncle Chief Yellow Bow of the Pawhanton tribe of Ocali Nation was a drunk who abused, beat & divorced my aunt for not giving him children whom with his 2nd wife the only child HE could conceive was so severely disabled they institutionalized him. Don’t talk like the Native Americans are so special, they are not, they immigrated here too. Apparently you do not live in an area… Read more »
Immigrant USMC Vet

Thanks, please read my response to my comment above.

Seymore Klearly
Hey Immigrant, Most of us here are born and raised in America. That makes us Americans, not immigrants. So when you come here citing talk of how we are not true citizens and we are a nation of immigrants. Followed by singling out races and even bringing up the holocaust. Following that up with stating we need talent that exists in other parts of the planet. Take your Globalist bullshit somewhere else. As for your claims to have served it… Read more »
Yo klearly
Hey seymore… “Most of us here are born and raised in America. That makes us Americans, not immigrants” Haha you are correct, can you send your comment to the Trump administration so they can open the borders to Americans, o wait, I have a feeling that you don’t actually realize that AMERICA is in fact the entire continent and does not belong to the United States, perhaps you might want to consider why is called the United States “OF” America… Read more »
cj
Yo Criminal: This is a nation of laws, if your here illegally your a criminal. If your the child of an illegal you are also a criminal. You and every other illegal, who thinks a law that was written to stop the deportation, of the children of slaves, was meant for you to use, then you are sadly mistaken, it was never intended for your use. It should actually be taken off the books as there are no longer any… Read more »
To cj

I agree with you, where is the sympathy for American families…

Lol AMERICA is the entire continent, so the American families would include everyone in North America, South America and Central America you dumb ass!

namnibor

Good Morning Dickhead!

cj
Your calling me a dumbass? Easily anyone with half a brain could take the clue “BUILD THAT FUCKING WALL”, as to what part of “America” I was referring. See? The criminal completely skated around the issue, of stealing good paying jobs, away from United States citizens, by taking that job for minimum wage. The criminal illegal, could care less if ANY United States citizen, and their families, suffer at all, because of the criminals actions. Yet the criminal will protest,… Read more »
cj

By the way troll, your self serving rant, is taking away from the real issues that Veterans are trying to discuss. Way to go, making it all about YOU!!

For cj
Yes I called you a dumbass, clearly you have no idea who you are talking to, not only I am USMC Vet, but also hold dual citizenship, one of them bing from the United States of America. Two, I don’t know what you are referring to in regards to taking that job for minimum wage, since all armed forces have the same pay scale, any United States Citizen can join the US armed forces and get paid the same so… Read more »
cj

Blah, blah, blah, like I said, all about you right? See how simple that was?

Seymore Klearly

Say Yo Yo Troll,

Anchor Babies are not covered by DACA! Also, if you don’t know what it means to be American you don’t belong here.

You might want to join the rest of the varmints over at the new Hillary site at “Verrit.com”. I guess they love to roll around in the shit you are spreading.

namnibor

@Crazy elf- Hope you and the wife and critters are hunkered-down for Irma. worry especially for the Homeless Population because it’s represented by a large proportion of Veterans.

Crazy elf

Thanks nam,
We made it to Thomasville, Ga., a Days Inn, and it looks like Irma just might follow us up here, lol!
That’s ok. We’ll be safe!
“Katie”, our poodle/shih tzu mix, is sleeping. She be tired, lol!!!!!
Thanks again for the concern!

NiteWish
The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services has posted a List of DACA approval by each state & by country of origin for 2016 these numbers have greatly increased. There are over 100,000 in CA now. Plus CA approved giving AB 60 Drivers Licenses where in 2015 830,000 applied for them. Here is that DACA link. “https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/All%20Form%20Types/DACA/daca_performancedata_fy2016_qtr3.pdf” And to top that off NY, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,… Read more »
namnibor
1) For visual aid, have on rollers as a visual aid for your presentation, a VA Telemedicine Booth, Plexiglas walls, 2) Stunt VSO steps inside, then tell the VSO if he pushes the big red button, the piggy trough will fill with $$$ in front of him for grazing, 3) But instead the VA Telemedicine Viewing Booth (VATVB) fills with toxic smoke of all nasty burn pit ingredients as well as blowing sand, and 4) Piggy now thirsty you say?… Read more »
CorpsmanUp!

Now you know they redefine telebooth tv to the GRN (gut rack network).
All you see is fat ass clinicians with their stomachs and pizza stain proof lab coats in the camera view.
You know the VA has a contractor that makes those well tailored, I am a fat employee, action wear.

namnibor
“You know the VA has a contractor that makes those well tailored, I am a fat employee, action wear.” That’s how the DOD field tests new forms of Kevlar Flak Vests, they are beta tested on the purple team members. However, be careful that you do not bump into any of them with much force because just like those pop-n-fresh canister biscuit rolls that *pop* when you unpeel them; same goes for purple team flesh breaking-out of yet another failed… Read more »
CorpsmanUp!

Like Ball Park franks!!! LOL!!!

Peter Kreutzfeldt

every where I went in Nam they had them 24/7. Medical waste as well as all refuse was burned to keep the kids out of the dump. I wonder what happened to those kids that scrounged in the dumps

CorpsmanUp!

That may an interesting venture for Ben to delve into, I am interested too see if the government of Vietnam would give information to any regular American soldier, sailor , marine or airmen.
I bet our government would try to shut that communication down
They won’t win, but it is a venture worth trying if you have resources.

APB/duck

Hand them my buddies lungs.

cj

…-!ii!-…

Armygirl
The problem besides burn pits is, I was stationed at camp spearhead in Kuwait and we had air quality briefings about the quality of the air because all you could see around us was factories and refineries. Your lungs felt heavy all the time, if you were lucky to go to Doha or somewelse you would feel the heaviness go away and you could breathe normal! We were told the air was safe and their were no problems! After a… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Armygirl, The full study can be accessed at “http://nap.edu/23677”. On the right hand side of the page there is a link to download as a free PDF. I am not far into the study yet but note that there were three additional studies already performed here is a quote of the primary results of one of those studies which suggest there may be a link. “the strongest finding was that there is sufficient evidence of an association between combustion products… Read more »
91Veteran

Your kids being affected would depend on the chemicals you were exposed to. Some chemicals are expelled from the body over a short period of time, while other chemicals take much longer, and some are never expelled because they settle in various parts of the body.
91Veteran

NiteWish

Pictures are more powerful than Words. I would show them the YouTube videos burn pit veterans have posted.

91Veteran
First off, my comment may be long, but I hope you would read it all Ben. To your question first, why are organizations fixated on case-by-case reviews? Simple. It makes it much easier to tell the vet that they are the ONLY ONE reporting the problem, and gee, they can’t figure out what’s wrong, which discourages vets from filing claims, or makes it easier to deny a claim. Now, what good did an Agent Orange registry do for speeding presumption… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
“VA Surgeons Accidentally Embedded A Piece Of Plastic In A Veteran’s Artery” Jonah Bennett National Security/Politics Reporter Daily Caller 11:21 AM 09/08/2017 “Department of Veterans Affairs surgeons accidentally embedded a piece of plastic tubing in a veteran’s leg, which later had to be amputated. Memphis VA physicians were supposed to repair the blood vessels of a veteran suffering from diabetes and poor circulation in 2016, but instead they stuck 10 inches of plastic tubing in his leg, USA Today reports.… Read more »
91Veteran
Seymore, I don’t know which news article is correct, but the USA Today article I posted yesterday on this says it was plastic packaging embedded in the vets artery, not plastic tubing. It might be nitpicky, but it makes a big difference in my opinion. A catheter (plastic tubing) breaking off in a vein is a possible known hazard with catheters. Plastic packaging over the plastic tubing is not a hazard if it is removed prior to inserting the catheter.… Read more »
Crazy elf

Seymore and 91Veteran,
Betcha the article never mentioned the [witch]doctors name, nor what “third world country” the asswipe allegedly graduated from!

91Veteran

Crazy Elf, I never saw a name mentioned in either article.
Not surprised.
91Veteran

Seymore Klearly
Hey Elf and 91Veteran, Although the USA Today article also excludes the Doctors name it does include the following information on just how bad the House of Horrors VAMC really is. “Exclusive: Botched surgery, delayed diagnosis at a one-star ‘house of horrors’ VA hospital” Donovan Slack and Jake Lowary, USA TODAY Sept. 7, 2017 At: “https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/09/07/memphis-va-botched-surgery-veteran-patient-safety-threats/637497001/” “The error is one of a litany of patient safety issues at the Memphis hospital in recent years chronicled in a trove of internal… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Regarding the management of the Memphis VAMC (House of Hoorors). Remember the interior designer at the Memphis VA Brittany Lowe who was convicted of her third DUI. Not only did they put her on paid administrative leave while she had to serve her jail sentence they then hired a driver for her since she lost her license for more than a year. That was so she could return to work. Her Sentence was 11 months and 29 Days. See: “EXCLUSIVE:… Read more »
Seymore Klearly

Also worth noting about the management of Memphis VAMC is that Whistle Blower Sean Higgins was fired by them June 22, the day before President Donald Trump signed into law whistleblower protection.

Fucked Grunt

I was exposed to biologicals and chemical weapons that the VA don’t recognize Leaks of Chemical weapons all the time for a year straight I can’t get any validation even with pictures and a medal for it. I can’t talk about any of it I have a Secrecy Oath and my medical records scrubbed.

Sad Sapper
I was in ballad as well as other fobs in the Sunni triangle. As part of a combat engineer company doing route clearance all over Iraq our assault and obstacle platoon was detailed to work in the burn pits because we had D7 bulldozers. I can tell you from first hand experience the crap that was burning in that pit was no where near safe to inhale some items I remember seeing, chemical gear like gas masks and chemical suits,… Read more »
Sad Sapper

Oh, and yes I completed the burn pit registry at the request of the VA. And I answered all questions.

91Veteran
I don’t mean to kill any hope, but from long experience the VA will offer all kinds of excuses to drag this out and delay. The VA will ask is your condition service connected. You can say yes, I was exposed to X. The VA says OK, you have asthma. Over time, if that develops into something worse, the VA will ask you to prove X is caused by your exposure. More time will pass, and you will find out… Read more »
Fucked Grunt

This is true, I mean “Environmental Toxins” can’t possibly cause health issues there is always no casual link or evidence to support any such conditions

91Veteran

Well, there is no evidence when the VA puts their blinders on and only looks at their own research. There have been countless times where they claimed there is no evidence for exposure to something causes a medical condition, but civilian research going back years proves it.
91Veteran

Suzie Rottenkrautz

How many of us would send a teenage son or daughter for a whole day to burn with a short tent pole stick to stir a bunch of tires, rubber&plastic like MRE wrappers, hazardous items with toxic paint, fecal matter, anything of your worst imagination’s conjuring and NOT expect some very bad results? The VA ignores the registry other than sending a friendly flier every 6 months.

Oldmarine
When will VA train its medical examiners in how to evaluate burn pit and related exposures?[never] When over half of the vet’s are dead,And then they will still deny you your claim hoping you will give up…………..FUCK YOU VA….I don’t give up Another good one is your not diagnosed with that problem, so you don’t have it, but all your records and even doctors letters sent to you admit it along with MRI’S and medication list to prove it. What… Read more »
TaB
I thank you for your efforts Mr. Krause. I wish I had more to do/say. All I can say is I have a friend who served in the middle east on multiple occasions and she has a horrible cough that gets so bad that repeated treatments such as antibiotics, etc. won’t clear up. I told her jokingly that she’s a burn pit victim, but I want to cry as I am typing this because sad that she (a mother and… Read more »
Paul

Operation northern watch had dumps continuously burning at incirlik airbase end of runway.many including myself in 1996 went to sick call with sinus and repiratory issues.this was left off of collection data.

91Veteran
Ben, I think there is an ongoing problem with comments appearing here. On this column alone, I have gotten at least 4 email notifications of comments, but when clicking the link to go to the comment here, the comment cannot be found. The most recent is: “http://www.disabledveterans.org/2017/09/08/if-you-could-teach-vsos-about-burn-pits-what-would-you-say/#comment-90566″ Give them what facts you have, manufacturers warnings, studies, why not only do you burn etc, how such items are disposed of. Chemical makeup of products being burned including human waiste For instance… Read more »
TaB
I had to mull over this to finally have an “aha” moment here. You can bring all the evidence, proof, stories to the piggy VSOs, but you’re not gonna make any impact. The VSOs receive “federal financial assistance” from the VA and are content on getting their wallets fat from tax exempt donations. So, the VSOs aren’t gonna upset the hand that feeds them (the VA). So if the VA tells the VSOs to stand down when it comes to… Read more »
Oldmarine

LIVE HURRICANE IRMA MAKES LANDFALL IN FLORIDA – LIVE STREAM COVERAGE 9/10/17 – YouTube
“https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mguqotRlO6s”

Seymore Klearly
“VA watchdog: Tomah staff failed to report rogue dentist” CHRIS HUBBUCH, La Crosse Tribune, Sep 8, 2017 “http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/va-watchdog-tomah-staff-failed-to-report-rogue-dentist/article_c2b89dde-9941-5bb4-91df-d3cf98b22941.html” The watchdog agency for the federal Department of Veterans Affairs says staff at the Tomah VA Medical Center failed to report a dentist who used improperly sterilized equipment for more than nine months and found surprise inspections could have alerted hospital leaders sooner. The findings are contained in a report released Thursday by Office of Inspector General on its investigation into the… Read more »
Seymore Klearly

VSOs at work how sick is this>

“Activist fights state restrictions on assisted death for Veterans Home residents in Yountville”
HOWARD YUNE
“http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/activist-fights-state-restrictions-on-assisted-death-for-veterans-home/article_a447a892-1669-586c-91c6-bf00fd69e933.html”

Seymore Klearly
The American Medical Association (AMA) wants a bigger cut of the VA Budget!!! “AMA joins brief seeking VA coverage of sex reassignment Sx” September 10, 2017 “https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-09-ama-va-coverage-sex-reassignment.html” “The AMA has joined the brief, which notes that the VA covers all medically necessary care for transgender veterans except SRS. The brief argues that gender dysphoria can result in clinically significant psychological distress, depression, self-mutilation, and thoughts of and attempts at suicide. AMA policy supports health insurance coverage for treatment of gender… Read more »
Seymore Klearly

Of Course the AMA supports Lopitoffofme and AddADickToMe Surgeries.

“Transgender veterans have high rates of mental health problems”
April 1, 2016
“Among military veterans identifying as transgender, 90 percent have at least one mental health diagnosis, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression, and nearly 50 percent had a hospitalization after a suicide attempt or suicidal thoughts. These study findings, from a single veterans’ hospital, will be presented Friday at The Endocrine Society’s 98th annual meeting in Boston.”

Leatherneck
Rise and Shine Veterans call your Senators and Representative try to convince them to contact the Veterans Affairs Admistation so Disabled Veteran Affairs Committee in Washington, DC passed a New Disabled Veterans Benefit Law which is if a Disabled Veteran who is collecting 100 percent service connected definitely need to get G4 implants from a Cosmetic Dentistry Dentist because their is absolutely not one works at a Veteran Medical Center plus they haven’t even one has a contract with Veteran… Read more »
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