President Joe Biden’s visit to Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday is personal: it’s an opportunity for him to meet with veterans and their caregivers, as well as urge for additional assistance for military personnel who have developed health problems as a result of exposure to burn pits.
In this week’s State of the Union speech, Biden highlighted the possibility that his son, Beau, died as a result of being exposed to toxins from Iraqi fire pits.
“We don’t know for sure if a burn pit caused his brain cancer or the diseases that have afflicted so many of our troops,” Biden said during his speech. “However, I’m determined to learn everything I can.”
Biden will fly to Texas alongside Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. They’ll go to the Fort Worth VA facility before giving a speech at the Tarrant County Resource Connection on “increasing access to health care and benefits for veterans afflicted by exposure to toxic chemicals, pollutants, and other environmental risks, including those from burn pits.”
Biden will also ask Congress to give him a bill that would safeguard veterans who have suffered health problems as a result of their exposure to burn pits. On Thursday, the House of Representatives advanced a plan that would extend VA health care to millions of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who satisfy certain conditions.
Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, served as a major in an Army National Guard unit that deployed to Iraq in 2008. In 2013, the two-term Attorney General of Delaware was diagnosed with brain cancer and died two years later.
It’s tough to make a direct correlation between hazardous exposure and a person’s medical state. Toxic substance concentrations are frequently much below those required for acute poisoning. Nonetheless, scientists and physicians, as well as the VA’s own hazardous materials exposure webpage, claim that military members face risks and dangers after being exposed to pollutants.