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Open Bit Burning and Chronic Health Problems in US Military

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Washington, DCUS Military returning from the Middle East may be suffering long-term health issues as a result of exposure to smoke from open burn pits which are used at the majority of US military bases in the Middle East. These burn pits are used to dispose of toxic waste including hazardous medical waste, lithium batteries, tires, hydraulic fluids -- even vehicles.

In October, 2010, the US Government Accountability Office released the "Afghanistan and Iraq Report" which states that of the four burn pits on US bases in Iraq that they surveyed are not meeting standards set in 2009 for burn pit operations.

According to the report, "Some veterans returning from both conflicts have reported pulmonary and respiratory ailments, among other health concerns, that they attribute to burn pit emissions. Numerous veterans have also filed lawsuits against a Department of Defence contractor alleging that the contractor mismanaged burn pit operations at several installations in both conflicts, resulting in exposure to harmful smoke that caused these adverse health effects. "

Consequently, the report notes that current and former members of the military have filed lawsuits in federal court in at least 43 states.


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