CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) — A veterans organization in Robstown is working on spreading awareness of burn pits.
The pits are commonly found in war-ridden areas where people burn debris, releasing toxic waste into the area.
Jason Sanchez is a veteran and volunteer for the Warrior Support Volunteer Center in Robstown. The center is the pilot for a program called Burn Pits 360.
The program focuses on spreading awareness about the health hazards of being exposed to the pits where toxic material is burned and released into the air.
Sanchez said it can have cancerous effects on soldiers who fought in countries like Iraq and Iran.
"There's thoussands of people affected by this, and just to ignore it doesn't mean its going to go away." Sanchez said.
Sanchez said he himself had been exposed to the toxins, and while he never fell ill to them, he can't say the same for other veterans who wind up ill from the burn pits.
Sanchez said because of the lack of awareness, many soldiers who come back home feel hopeless.
"They don't know what to do their civilian insurance is running out on them," Sanchez said. "They are out of options they are having to pay these these catastrophic caps."
As a result of not being able to get treatment, Sanchez said veterans have a high suicide rate.
"They're just giving up," Sanchez said. "They're living in pain, they are livng without treatment and they feel they are at their wits end."
On June 7, Burn Pits 360 will attend a congressional hearing to discuss burn pits effects and better veteran healthcare.
Stay connected with 3News for the latest news, sports, and weather. Download the KIII-TV 3News app now.