What is Burn Pit Exposure?
The term burn pit refers to the sites the United States military uses for open-air trash combustion in Iraq and Afghanistan. These large-scale burn pit operations are utilized to incinerate tons of pounds of waste every day. This waste includes, but is not limited to: chemicals, medical and human waste, batteries, plastics, metal and aluminum cans, petroleum and lubricant products, rubber, wood, food, and even dead animal remains. Large black plumes of smoke emitted from the pits reportedly hangover military bases. Members of the military exposed to the smoke from these pits have complained about similar medical problems following their exposure.
Military burn pit exposure has affected hundreds of veterans. Victims have brought forward disability claims that say exposure to these open-air burn pits has led to numerous respiratory, pulmonary, and neurological problems. Pressure from victims and their families has forced the Pentagon to restrict the use of burn pits while the Department of Veterans Affairs investigates the adverse effects.
Burn pit exposure could remain a problem today. In April of 2019, the U.S. Central Command reported that nine burn pits were currently creating toxic smoke. There are also a reported 13 burn pits with non-hazardous waste, and conditions could change if battlefield conditions are altered.