On Thursday the U.S. Senate took a step forward to help veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic hazards while stationed overseas.

It passed with a vote of 84 to 14.

This is welcomed news for advocates and for veterans who experience respiratory illnesses and cancers linked to toxic fumes.

"You can't really find the words for it because this is like it's about time," Andrea Neutzling said.

She served from 2000 to 2010. She suffers Constrictive Bronchitis and Pulmonary fibrosis, two life shortening slow progressing illnesses.

It took nearly 10 years of suffering before her local VA would even approve a lung biopsy.
She told Erie News Now that now veterans like herself won't have to fight to prove burn pits and other toxins in war zones caused their illnesses.

"The burn pits made it this way," she said.

The new legislation will make it easier for veterans to claim benefits and treatment for 23 diseases and rare cancers related to toxic exposure.

"Everything was on fire, plus when things get blown up they get left on fire, and there's no fire department in the entire country," Veteran Jeremy Daniels said.

He suffers from MS and has chemical burns and spinal chord edema. He has spent years advocating for something to be done, even more than just this new legislation.

Neutzling has also advocated in Washington DC.

President Biden has talked about his own son's lost battle with brain cancer after serving near burn pits and is expected to sign the bill as soon as it hits his desk.
It could help around 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic fumes.