Vt. lawmakers want to raise awareness of burn pit health dangers

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 5:59 PM EST
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Some Vermont lawmakers want to increase awareness about dangerous burn pits that many members of the military were exposed to.

WCAX News investigated burn pits, the smoking heaps of trash in Afghanistan and Iraq that made Vermont soldiers sick. We profiled two Vermont Guard members, Sgt. Maj. Mike Cram and Brig. Gen. Michael Heston. Both died from aggressive cancers they claimed they got from being exposed to those open-air trash fires while serving their country.

Now, a proposed bill would require the Vermont Department of Health to create educational materials for exposed soldiers. It would direct them to a national registry where they can receive up-to-date health information.

"Guard members are our residents and we need to promote their safety and health as much as possible," said Sen. Jeannette White, D-Windham County. "I think a lot of the population out there hasn't any idea that this is an issue and what we can actually do to help our guard members, any enrolled member of the service."

White says Congress is taking up the issue and may consider health and financial assistance for those exposed.