Former Vice President Joe Biden said that his son’s exposure to toxic military burn pits while serving in Iraq and Kosovo may have led to his fatal brain cancer.
During last week’s interview with PBS, Biden said he believes there is a link between military burn pits and Beau Biden’s death in 2015 as a result of brain cancer.
“Science has recognized there are certain carcinogens when people are exposed to them [the burn pits],” Biden said. “Depending on the quantities and the amount in the water and the air, [they] can have a carcinogenic impact on the body.”
Biden also acknowledged that there is no “direct scientific evidence” that links his son’s death from glioblastoma multiforme to the military burn pits.
Biden said more scientific investigation must be done given the high rate of negative health affects the burn pits have had on those exposed.
Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general, died at age 46. Beau Biden was a member of the Delaware Army National Guard and was a Major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Beau Biden was deployed to Iraq in 2009 after his unit was activated for deployment in late 2008. Beau Biden served at Camp Victory in Baghdad and Balad Air Force Base, both places where there were large burn pits.
Joe Biden said he didn’t see a possible link between his son’s cancer and military burn pits until he read the book “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers,” which included a chapter about Beau’s fight with cancer.
“There’s a whole chapter on my son Beau in there, and that stunned me. I didn’t know that,” Biden said. The author “went back and looked at Beau’s tenure as a civilian with the U.S. Attorney’s office [in Kosovo] and then his year in Iraq. And he was co-located in both times near these burn pits.”
In Iraq and Afghanistan, a variety of waste including plastics, batteries, appliances, medicine, dead animals and human waste was burned in the pits, resulting in a number of pollutants.
Investigations into the health effects of the burn pits have turned up a lack of evidence that would prove the pollutants caused cancer or pulmonary issues.
In total, roughly 125,000 veterans and service members have completed the questionnaire for the VA burn pit registry. Those that have registered documented numerous illnesses.
In 2016, Former President Barack Obama tapped Joe Biden to lead the “Cancer Moonshot” initiative because there is “a lot higher incidence of cancer coming from Iraq now and Afghanistan than in other wars” and “a lot of work is being done” to research it.