Request Legal Help Now - Free


Are Burn Pits to Blame for Respiratory Ailments in the Military?

. By
Fort Campbell, KYAmongst the various and most obvious hazards faced by military personnel while representing and defending their country overseas is the very air they breathe. To that point, it is alleged that toxins and other substances spewing forth from burn pits is further endangering the health of soldiers.

Many soldiers or their families have filed a burn pit lawsuit after military personnel have been exposed to the smoke of open burn pits, often used by the military to dispose of garbage and other refuse.

USA Today reported on May 12 that a pulmonologist affiliated with Vanderbilt University Medical Center spent time with soldiers from the 101st Airborne unit at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Dr. Bob Miller noted that many soldiers experiencing shortness of breath and unable to run as fast as they had prior to being deployed had been exposed to a sulfur fire while stationed in Mosul, Iraq.

But they had also been exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such trash fires are used to dispose of some 240 tons of refuse in any given day. The affected soldiers exhibited clean chest X-rays and CT scans following their burn pit exposure overseas. However, those volunteering for biopsies of lung cells allowed Dr. Miller to obtain some revealing observations.

The vast majority of biopsy participants—50 out of 54—demonstrated constrictive bronchiolitis. The latter is a rare lung disease that effectively closes the smallest airways in the lung. The biopsies also revealed the presence of dust and a brown pigment mixed in with it.

Are the military burn pits to blame for this condition?

Researchers discovered that minute dust particles, 1000 of which can fit on the head of a pin, could contain various metals. Specifically, dust particles gathered from Iraq and Kuwait were found to contain no fewer than 37 metals—some of which have been linked to neurological disorders, cancer, heart disease, depression and respiratory ailments, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Are these metals coming from military waste?

Since US involvement in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, the military reports a 251 percent increase in the rate of neurological disorders per 10,000 active-duty service personnel. USA Today conducted an analysis of military records over a nine-year period from 2001 to 2010 and found a corresponding 47 percent increase in the onset of respiratory ailments, together with a 34 percent increase in cardiovascular disease.

A researcher with Veterans Affairs notes that the incidence rates of respiratory problems appear to be rising. Asthma rates were about 4 percent amongst soldiers who did not deploy, said Anthony Szema. However, veterans deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2007 revealed asthma rates of 7 percent. Today, 11 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq are experiencing respiratory problems.

The Balad burn pit in Baghdad is suspected of sickening hundreds of military personnel who rotated through the base since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


Burn Pit Legal Help

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a personal injury lawyer who may evaluate your Burn Pit claim at no cost or obligation.


Posted by

My daughter was at 9-11 and has suffered what I believe to be toxic effects from the smoke, dust, and burning of the world trade center or perhaps something sent along with the terrorists. We also lived on Staten Island, NY where much of the waste was transported. I wonder if the obesity in this country is related.


Please read our comment guidelines before posting.

Note: Your name will be published with your comment.

Your email will only be used if a response is needed.

Are you the defendant or a subject matter expert on this topic with an opposing viewpoint? We'd love to hear your comments here as well, or if you'd like to contact us for an interview please submit your details here.

Click to learn more about

Request Legal Help Now! - Free