The U.S. military has created scores of toxic dump sites across Iraq and Afghanistan. Known as burn pits, these trash heaps burn night and day. Lit by jet fuel,
they spew clouds of black smoke over US bases and civilian landscapes. Hundreds, if not thousands of servicemen and women are returning home sick with respiratory problems, skin rashes, and in some cases, tumors and auto immune diseases. Some have died. A class action suit against the company contracted to dispose of trash — Kellogg, Brown and Root and Halliburton — is proceeding in federal court. The suit claims that KBR constructed open air burn pits rather than incinerators in order to increase their profit. KBR is claiming that the military was in charge. The Veterans Administration has asked doctors to look for environmental exposure when determining a diagnosis. Veterans advocates are suggesting that exposure to burn pits may be this generations’s “agent orange,” the defoliant used in Vietnam which contained dioxin.
Here is the story of one veteran who worked in and around the Balad burn pit.