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You are here News Military After unexpected hurdles, military toxic burn pits bill passes U.S. Senate

After unexpected hurdles, military toxic burn pits bill passes U.S. Senate

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Burn pit bill passes Senate

A major bill expanding health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic military burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan passed the U.S. Senate on Thursday, as senators praised their bipartisan work on one of the few issues on which they can find common ground.

The bill eases and expands access to health services and disability benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxic smoke from the U.S. military's use of burn pits on foreign bases until the mid-2010s.

If enacted into law, the bill would cost an estimated $180 billion over the first four years. It would benefit nearly 3.5 million veterans who developed cancer and other illnesses after being exposed to fumes from pits that sometimes were as large as a football field. The pits were used to burn waste including plastic tires, batteries, explosives, human feces and chemicals.

"For too long, our nation’s veterans have faced an absurd indignity: They enlisted to serve our country, went abroad in good health, and came back home only to get sick from toxic exposure endured while in the line of duty," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a Senate speech.

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