Leaked Memo Supports Claim that Veterans Imperiled by Burn Pits in Afghanistan
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Burn pit at Bald Air Base in Iraq (photo: Julianne Showalter, U.S. Air Force)
After years of claiming no link between open-air pits of burning garbage in Iraq and Afghanistan and the health problems of war veterans, the U.S. military has documented that there may indeed be a correlation between the two.
In an April 2011 memo obtained by Wired’s Danger Room, the U.S. Army states that a burn pit at the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan poses “long-term adverse health conditions” to troops stationed nearby. The memo says service personnel may experience “reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, atherosclerosis, or other cardiopulmonary diseases” as a result of the exposure.
The document contradicts previous reports issued in 2004 and 2008 by the military that dismissed the potential hazards of burn pits.
Hundreds of war veterans have reported illnesses blamed on exposure to the open-pit burning of toxic waste by the military and defense contractors Halliburton and its former subsidiary, KBR.
The web site Burn Pits 360° has been established to maintain a national registry to allow victims to report their experiences.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Combat ‘Burn Pits’ Ruin Immune Systems, Study Shows (by Katie Drummond, Wired)
Leaked Memo: Afghan ‘Burn Pit’ Could Wreck Troops’ Hearts, Lungs (by Spencer Ackerman, Wired)
Memo on Bagram Air Quality (U.S. Army)
Sued over Toxic Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon Keeps Using Them (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
U.S. Army Burn Pit Victim Dies after Battle with Leukemia (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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