burn pits | Texas Public Radio

burn pits

LeRoy and Rosie Torres review medical records at their home in Robstown, Texas.
Carson Frame | TPR News

The Texas Supreme Court has accepted a case which could have major implications for military reservists whose employment rights are violated by the state.


In late May, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to help veterans exposed to open-air burn pits. It would create a state registry of health and exposure information and use it for outreach purposes. Now, advocates and state officials are wondering how — if at all — they’ll share that information with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Julianne Showalter | U.S. Air Force

The Texas Senate passed a bill Thursday to create a statewide registry of veterans who were exposed to burn pit smoke. Open burn pits were a common method of waste disposal used by the U.S. military in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Lisa Ferdinando / DoD

Open air burn pits were once a common method of waste disposal used by the U.S. military. More than 250 burned in Iraq and Afghanistan — and thousands of veterans exposed to the fumes have since reported health problems. The Department of Veterans Affairs keeps a nationwide registry of those affected but critics say it’s not comprehensive enough.

Carson Frame / Texas Public Radio

Congressman Joaquin Castro introduced legislation earlier this month that called for the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer relief to veterans exposed to burn pits.

Credit: Jeremy Daniels

  For years, veterans say they’ve been getting sick. They believe the culprit is open burn pits used in Iraq and Afghanistan. A class-action lawsuit against Houston-based military contractor Kellogg Brown and Root was thrown out this summer, and many of those affected don’t know where to turn.