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ABQJournal: Senate Passes Udall’s Burn Pit Registry Bill

The Senate has unanimously approved Sen. Tom Udall’s bill that would create a national registry for service members and veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes from open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The measure was inspired in part by Master Sgt. Jessey Baca, a South Valley man diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, mesothelial hyperplasia and constrictive bronchiolitis after serving in Iraq. Baca told me last year that he has been debilitated with severe respiratory and pulmonary illness since returning from duty at the Balad military base. A doctor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville,Tenn., ultimately diagnosed Baca’s terminal illness and connected it to the burn pit pollution in Iraq, Baca said.