Former Vice President Joe Biden was devastated when his beloved son Beau Biden passed away in 2015 after a battle with brain cancer. Now, Biden is speaking out to reveal what he thinks brought about his son’s cancer at the young age of 46.
Daily Mail reported that Biden believes toxic military burn pits could have been a “significant” factor in his son getting brain cancer so young. Making his first public comments on the matter, Biden said he was “stunned” by a book which tracked his son’s exposure to the carcinogenic fumes.
“[T]hat stunned me. I didn’t know that,” Biden told PBS News Hour on Wednesday.
Burn pits were commonly used to get rid of waste in Afghanistan and Iraq, torching anything from paints and tires to electronics. Though the Department of Veterans Affairs does not yet acknowledge a link between the pits and long-term health risks, many recent studies suggest otherwise. In his book “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers,” author Joseph Hickman devotes an entire chapter to Beau, who served in Iraq from 2008 to 2009 at Camp Victory in Baghdad and the nearby Balad Air Force Base.
One year later, Beau was hospitalized with what appeared to be a mini stroke. He was hospitalized again in 2013 and diagnosed with the most common form of brain cancer, glioblastoma, the same cancer John McCain currently has. The book suggests that Beau suspected his cancer was tied to the pits, since he was treated at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, America’s top facility for military-related illnesses or injuries.
The evidence coming out about the pits echoes research on 9/11-related diseases. Since the 2001 terrorist attack, over 4,500 people have developed various types of cancers from exposure to jet fuel, asbestos and other pulverized materials that burned at Ground Zero on September 11.
Former Vice President Biden did not draw concrete links, saying he has not heard of “any direct scientific evidence” pairing the two.
“Science has recognized there are certain carcinogens when people are exposed to them,” Biden added. “Depending on the quantities and the amount in the water and the air, [they] can have a carcinogenic impact on the body.”
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