Important Facts about the Toxic Exposure and American Military Act of 2020 (TEAM Act)

Military veterans have long had to deal with illnesses and injuries as a result of their military service. From soreness and rashes to the most serious illnesses, veterans have long had difficulty in getting help and benefits from the VA to help them.

Important facts about the Toxic Exposure and American Military Act of 2020 (TEAM Act)

Most recently, veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have had difficulty after toxic exposure to burn pits in those countries. They were used to burn all manner of trash, including medical and human waste, Styrofoam from food service, batteries, un-serviceable clothing, computer equipment, and jet engines. The open pits burned continuously near living quarters. Many service members breathed these toxic substances daily, leading to chronic respiratory and other illnesses, including rare cancers.

For veterans dealing with these illnesses—and the rejection that comes with it—there may be some help coming from Congress.

The TEAM Act Of 2020

The TEAM Act of 2020 Toxic Exposure in the American Military Act of 2020 was introduced on 10/2/2020 by Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

The bill currently has five sponsors:

  • Representative Gus Bilirakis, R-FL
  • Representative David Roe, R-TN
  • Representative Brad Wenstrup, R-OH
  • Representative Mike Bost, R-IL
  • Representative Brian Mast, R-FL

Tillis, whose home state of North Carolina has a considerable number of military bases and veterans, said in a statement:

“After working alongside veterans who were stationed Camp Lejeune and fighting for service members exposed to toxicants from burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s clear the men and women who served our country deserve better. The bipartisan TEAM Act ensures that all veterans are given a fair and uniform process to receive the health care and benefits to which they are entitled following exposure to toxicants during their service.”


The TEAM Act would require the VA to draft and create a specialized questionnaire for primary care appointments that would help them determine if a veteran experienced service-connected toxic exposure. It would also expand training for VA employees on the issue of toxic exposures during military service.

The VA would also be required to respond to updated scientific findings related to illnesses that develop from toxic exposures in the veteran population. Additionally, the VA would also be required to establish a commission to research these effects on veterans and follow up with reports to the VA and Congress.

The VA would also be required to enter into agreements with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in order to conduct further research into toxic exposures.

The TEAM Act also requires an online portal for veterans to access their Longitudinal Exposure Record. This would help veterans understand the risks of exposure. Currently, they can only access this through a request through the Freedom of Information Act. Currently, an estimated 25% of veterans who are post-911 are eligible for or choose to use the VA for their healthcare. The bill is also intended to address that population.

Burn Pit Resources

Veterans who have found themselves exposed to toxic exposures from burn pits currently face an uphill battle. However, they are not without support.

BurnPits360 is a nonprofit advocacy group created in response to the VA’s inadequate response to veterans who face multiple illnesses due to burning pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. The crux of this group is an independent and voluntary registry of veterans who have died from toxic exposure.

Survivors of these veterans can record their names in the registry. Veterans who have suffered from denial of care can also register. The data collected from the registry is shared with medical institutions and independent researchers to investigate and track illnesses, recoveries, and deaths.

BurnPits360 also has a page for support and resources as well as tools for taking action.

Get Help From A Houston VA Disability Attorney

Whether you’re ready to start your application, need help with an appeal, or want to investigate a case review, don’t try to face the VA alone. You do have the right to legal representation whether you’re starting your application, facing a hearing, or dealing with an appeal.

Call The Herren Law Firm in Houston at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation for VA disability benefits. Our contingency fee basis means you won’t owe a fee until we win your case, and there’s no obligation.


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