Watch: Congressman Dr. Ruiz Announces Legislation To Help Veterans With Diseases Linked To Burn Pits And Other Toxic Exposures

April 13, 2021
In The News

U.S. Congressman Raul Ruiz M.D. (D-CA) is joining veterans advocate Jon Stewart, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), 9/11 responder and advocate John Feal, and an array of veterans groups Tuesday morning to announce "their landmark legislation, the Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act."

The bill would "streamline the process for obtaining VA benefits for burn pit and other toxic exposures. Approximately 3.5 million veterans have been exposed to burn pits that spewed toxic fumes and carcinogens into the air," according to Dr. Ruiz's office staff.

Last September, Jon Stewart joined Rep. Ruiz in support of new burn pits legislation. Find more here and in the player below.

Tens of thousands of military service members in Iraq and Afghanistan were exposed to hundreds of burn pits to dispose of trash.

Service members exposed to the burn pits have been fighting to get benefits from the federal government for years.

Stewart has been an outspoken advocate for 9-11 first responders who became ill in the years following the attacks. Now he is backing this new legislation that aims to streamline the process for getting benefits to veterans sickened by exposure to the toxins.

Ruiz took up the issue of burn pits when he learned of local veteran Jennifer Kepner who later died of pancreatic cancer after serving in the Air Force in Iraq.

Kepner was a mother of two who served in the Air Force in Iraq where burn pits were used to dispose of all waste on base including Styrofoam and other carcinogens.