Showing posts with label burn pit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label burn pit. Show all posts

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Iraq Veteran Warns Others About Lung Cancer After Burn Pits

Iraq war veteran warns other vets to get their lungs checked
FOX2 News St. Louis
MARCH 16, 2016

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - An Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran from South St. Louis County is warning fellow veterans to have their lungs checked by a doctor.

His name is Tim Smith. He`s 37-years-old, and even though he says he has never been a smoker, doctors recently discovered he has lung cancer.

Now he's wondering if it might have been caused by a different kind of smoke.

'We`d see black smoke all the time, we`d see some weird colored smoke clouds up in the air that would turn different colors at times. We really didn`t know what it was,' said Smith.

He owns Patriot Contract Commercial Cleaning, which hires veterans to tidy up offices and schools.

But he says when he served in Iraq, there was no one hauling off trash.
read more here

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Terminal Burn Pit-Iraq Veteran Claim Denied by VA?

Report: VA Abandoned Terminally Ill Army Combat Veteran
Free Beacon 
BY: Morgan Chalfant 
February 24, 2016
Marshall missed mandatory meetings with the VA last year during which he would have had the opportunity to offer evidence connecting his cancer to his service in Iraq because he was hospitalized with pneumonia. While Marshall said he could still present such evidence, the VA will not listen to him.
A decorated Army combat veteran says that the Department of Veterans Affairs abandoned him in his fight against terminal cancer following his service in Iraq.

Pvt. John Marshall told Fox News that the VA has denied his claims that his service in Iraq, particularly his close proximity to burn pits, precipitated his cancer.

“It’s all just a big slap in the face. I tried to be the perfect soldier,” Marshall said. “I did everything I was told, and now they just forced my claim through and denied coverage and my benefits.”

Marshall, who now lives in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, was diagnosed with scar tissue sarcoma a little over a year ago. He attributes his illness to his time spent working over open burn pits, which a 2013 report from the Government Accountability Office designated as a likely cause of chronic health problems for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
read more here

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Beau Biden's Death May Save Lives After Burn Pit Exposures

Link Found Between Burn Pits and Cancers MSN
Joe Biden's eldest son Beau Biden returned home from his deployment to Iraq after serving two years in the U.S. military's occupation of the country. In a few months' time following his return, he began to experience an onset of illnesses, including a stroke that lead to brain cancer, which killed him in less than two years from that point. Beau Biden's case is not unlike many other veterans who have served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a recent study has linked service in those countries to various cancers and bronchial illnesses. The common trait between the two is believed to lie within the open air burn pits, of which their are over 250 between the two countries, set up atop Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons program.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Congress cut funding for more research on burn pit exposures for 2016

News5 Investigates: Vets and contractors believed to be sickened by war time burn pits
KOAA 5 News
By Maddie Garrett
February 5, 2016
"We have no idea what these veterans were exposed to day to day," said Daniel Warvi, Public Affairs Officer, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System.
COLORADO SPRINGS - A News5 investigation into so-called burn pits looks into how toxic fumes our service members and civilian contractors were exposed to in war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq on a daily basis are now believed to be causing serious health problems.

As thousands of veterans came home from war, doctors started noticing a common health problem, they reported having a cough and/or trouble breathing. Some cases developed into rare lung diseases, and few even ended in death. But just as more vets and civilians are being diagnosed as having respiratory problems, Congress cut funding for more research on burn pit exposures for 2016.

The burn pits were used to destroy all types of waste during wars in the Middle East, burning everything from trash and food waste, to vehicle parts, ammunition, tires, batteries, medical waste, animal carcasses, chemicals, plastic and in some cases even body parts.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said one of the challenges in understanding the risks of burn pits is that each one could contain varying kinds of waste and that could differ on a day-to-day basis.
read more here | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Federal Court May Finally Help OEF OIF Veterans After Burn Pits

Federal court to weigh lawsuit alleging lung diseases from Iraq, Afghanistan burn pits
Stars and Stripes
By Tara Copp
Published: December 31, 2015
KBR, under the military’s logistical support contract, operated the pits.
WASHINGTON — A federal district court on Jan. 21 will consider the scope of a lawsuit alleging soldiers’ exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan led to serious respiratory illnesses and deaths and whether government contractor KBR, Inc. is responsible for the way the pits were operated.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the military relied heavily on the large, open-air pits to burn trash and waste daily, exposing the personnel working the pits and others living nearby to toxic smoke.

In 2010, the Government Accountability Office found the Department of Defense was not following its own regulations for safe burn-pit operations, and that pits were regularly used to dispose of prohibited plastics, paints, batteries, aerosols, aluminum and other items that could produce harmful emissions when burned.
Nine locations in Afghanistan are also potentially within the lawsuit’s scope, as are another eight bases supporting Iraq and Afghanistan operations, such as Camp Arijian in Kuwait.
read more here

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Congress Dumps Veterans in Burn Pits

Congress Drops Burn Pit Exposure from Pentagon Research List
Bryant Jordan
December 23, 2015
Senior Airman Frances Gavalis tosses unserviceable uniform items into a burn pit at Balad Air Base, Iraq, on March 10, 2008. Julianne Showalter/Air Force
Burn pit exposure as a cause of illnesses among veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan failed to make the 2016 list of peer-reviewed medical research programs that Congress requires the Defense Department to conduct.

The absence of burn pit exposure on the list was confirmed on Tuesday by a spokeswoman for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

"Congress designates the topic areas for each fiscal year, and these topic areas change each year," Gail Whitehead told

The research programs fall under the Department of Defense budget.

"There's nothing comparable," said Anthony Hardie, director of Veterans for Common Sense. "There's very little research inside the [Department of Veterans Affairs]."

Ron Brown, president of the National Gulf War Research Center, which has long advocated for more medical research into Gulf War Illness and now burn pit exposure, said he didn't know why the topic was discontinued.

It was added for the first time to the list in 2015, according to Brown, who took part in the peer reviewed process this year.
read more here

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Iraq Veterans Sue KBR For Burn Pit Toxic Exposures

Five Casper veterans sue company over toxic burn pits in Iraq
Casper Star Tribune
Lillian Schrock
October 9, 2015

Five Casper military veterans filed a federal lawsuit Friday alleging they were exposed to toxic fumes when a Houston-based corporation improperly burned waste during the war in Iraq.

Ochs Law Firm filed the suit against KBR Inc. in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming. The suit is believed to be the first toxic burn pit case filed in Wyoming, according to the Casper-based law office.

The suit states KBR was hired to handle waste disposal for American operations in Iraq.

KBR failed to take necessary safety precautions and incinerated unsorted waste, including chemicals, in burn pits, exposing the soldiers to health-damaging toxins, the suit claims.
read more here

Vets Can Finally Sue Contractors for Cancer Caused by War
After the Supreme Court found that KBR could be sued over the burn pits it operated on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008, I received a memo from an Air Force bioenvironmental flight commander, Lt. Col. Darrin Curtis, saying that the troops at Air Base Balad were being exposed to “an acute health hazard.”

At that point, no one had reported on the burn pits, which were used by the military and its contractors to dispose of trash at almost every base in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New Mexico
Ailing vets sue, say toxic burn pits cost them their health

KBR, Halliburton Found Not Immune in Burn-Pit Suits
March 6 (Bloomberg) -- KBR Inc. and Halliburton Co. aren’t automatically immune from lawsuits by military service members over illnesses caused by exposure to contractor burn pits, a U.S. appeals court said, reversing a lower court ruling. KBR is only entitled to immunity if it adhered to the terms of its contract with the government, something the district court failed to explore adequately, U.S. Circuit Judge Henry Floyd wrote in sending the case back for further proceedings.
There are a lot more like this one from 2010
Houston National Guard troops file suit over Camp Taji burn pits
Ill wind blows, some in Houston Guard unit believe
Baghdad burn pit operated by KBR said to cause migraines, breathing problems and rashes
Feb. 1, 2010

CAMP TAJI, Iraq — One night in mid-January, a shift in the wind sent a sudden flurry of white flakes into a detainee internment facility guarded by soldiers from Houston’s 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

The Texas Army National Guard troops weren’t witnessing a rare Baghdad snowfall. The flakes drifting from the pitch-dark sky were ash and bits of charred trash belched from an open-air burn pit about 100 yards from the outer walls of the internment facility.

Operated by Houston-based contractor KBR, the pit consumes 120 tons of garbage a day here at Camp Taji, a U.S. military base north of Baghdad. On calm days, noxious smoke billows upward and dissipates into a smog-like haze. When the wind blows, the acrid-smelling fumes pour into towers and yards where about 800 Texas troops from the 72nd keep watch.

“It hovers over like a blanket,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Ethier, 36, of Montgomery. “After it rains, you’ll get puddles of stuff. It’s like a yellowish, brackish color. It looks metallic. It’s just disgusting.”

Soldiers say a fine layer of soot settles on their uniforms and black goop comes out when they blow their noses. They complain of migraines, breathing problems, coughs, sore throats, irritated eyes and skin rashes.

The Texas Guard troops aren’t the first to report problems from exposure to burn pits at U.S. military bases across Iraq and Afghanistan.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Burn Pits Long Term Aftereffects For Veterans

Exposure to toxic ‘burn pits’ the new Agent Orange 
By Mark Davis, News 8
Chief Capitol Correspondent
Published: May 8, 2015
The V.A. has admitted some veterans could have long-term aftereffects, especially those with preexisting conditions like asthma or other heart or lung conditions.

They have established a burn pit exposure registry and are conducting research into it.
For more information, click here.

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Some are calling toxic “burn pits” near military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan the “new Agent Orange.” Veterans at an event in Waterbury Friday say they had to live and breath contaminated air from the burn pits for extended periods of time, and now they’re worried about their health. read more here

Friday, February 20, 2015

Widow Warns Iraq Burn Pit Caused Cancer

After her husband's death, widow warns burn pits used in Iraq may cause deadly cancer
KSHB Kansas
Garrett Haake
Feb 19, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The widow of a Lee’s Summit veteran killed by a rare and aggressive cancer says she’s convinced her husband’s illness was brought on by his exposure to toxic fumes from “burn pits” during his service in Iraq.

Now she’s warning other veterans to speak to their doctors about risks associated with the pits.

Staff Sergeant Matthew Gonzales received a diagnosis of Esthesioneuroblastoma four years after returning from Tikrit, where he worked regularly near a burn pit used to dispose of medical waste by burning it with jet fuel in a large open pit.

“One thing that caught me off guard is that they didn't have any protective gear covering themselves,” his widow, Elizabeth, said of a video her husband showed her of the pit. “I asked about that, and he felt confident saying, 'The government wouldn't put us in any harm’s way. They're going to protect us.'”
read more here

Friday, February 13, 2015

Troops At Risk Because DOD Didn't Follow Regulations

IG thrashes DoD in final burn pit report
Military Times
By Patricia Kime
Staff writer
February 12, 2015
The VA established a burn pit registry in October to track the health of individuals who believe they were exposed to pollutants from burn pits or other airborne hazards in Iraq and Afghanistan, such as dust and sand.

As of January 26, 30,711 people have enrolled in the registry, according to VA.

U.S. Marines dispose of trash in a burn pit in

Khan Neshing District, Afghanistan, in 2012.
(Photo: Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez/Marine Corps)

The Defense Department's failure to follow regulations on solid waste disposal, along with its practice of burning prohibited items in burn pits in Afghanistan put U.S. troops' health at risk, says the chief watchdog for Afghanistan reconstruction.

In his final report on the use of burn pits and incinerators in Afghanistan, John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, accused the Pentagon of being unprepared for waste disposal at the start of Operation Enduring Freedom and said continued use of burn pits put troops at unnecessary risk from potentially harmful emissions.

According to Sopko, DoD "had been aware for years" of the health risks posed by burn pits and called their use — even after policies were adopted to restrict it — "disturbing."

"It is indefensible that U.S. military personnel, who are already at risk of serious injury and death when fighting the enemy, were put at further risk from the potentially harmful emissions from the use of open air burn pits," Sopko wrote in the "Final Assessment: What We Have Learned from Our Inspections of Incinerators and Use of Burn Pits in Afghanistan," released Thursday.

The Office of the SIGAR was established to ferret out waste and fraudulent use of U.S. taxpayer money in rebuilding Afghanistan.

The U.S. has spent more than $104 billion for reconstruction, with Sopko's office recovering more than $570 million from criminal fines, restitution, forfeitures, civil settlements and cost-savings, according to SIGAR reports.
read more here

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Toxic Battlefields Burn Pits Leave Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans Fighting for Their Lives

'Toxic battlefield'
Many tie Iraq, Afghanistan War veterans' illnesses to burn pits, dust
Live Well Nebraska
By Steve Liewer
World-Herald staff writer
Posted: Sunday, October 12, 2014
Burn pits used especially in the early days of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to destroy trash sent piles of wood, paper, medical waste, metal, plastics and even human waste up in smoke.

Jeff Flint remembers the sandstorms that regularly cloaked his military base in Iraq in a choking darkness.

And the black smoke, from the base’s fiery 10-acre garbage pit, that frequently blanketed both the gate where he stood guard and the tent where he slept during his yearlong deployment with the Nebraska National Guard in 2006-07.

“It was constant, 24 hours a day. It made you sick, nauseated,” said Flint, 45, of Fremont, Nebraska. “Put a dome over a city, and that’s what it was like.”

The hacking cough he developed more than seven years ago has never gone away. And it’s been joined by the tingling in his body and the numbness in his hands from multiple sclerosis, which he was diagnosed with two years after his return.

Flint is among tens of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan War vets who have developed chronic illnesses since returning from the war zones. Many — including Flint and his brother, John, who served with him and also has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — are convinced they are sick because of noxious stuff they breathed in during their deployments.

“It’s just a toxic battlefield,” said Dan Sullivan, president and CEO of the Sergeant Sullivan Center, a nonprofit organization that supports veterans with post-deployment health problems.
“You’ve got a bunch of toxic stuff floating around in an atmosphere that picks everything up.
read more here

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Army Captain didn't know about burn pit registry until VA event

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 3, 2014

The VA held a Welcome Home Salute 2014 and it was a great idea considering while military leaders keep assuring the public the troops are all informed about VA benefits, this proves they are not informed at all.
U.S. Army National Guard Camp Crowder, 890 Ray A Carver Ave, Neosho, MO 64850
Who should attend: Any Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn Combat Veteran that wants to learn more about VA services and get assistance from staff

Booths and information from the following areas will include:
Vet Center, Audiology, Dietitian, Mental Health, Dental, My HealtheVet, Health Educator, and more!

What exactly does the DOD explain to them about benefits when a Captain did not know about the VA burn pit registry?
One of the veterans who participated in the event was Capt. Charlie Ledgerwood, weekend training site commander at Camp Crowder.

“For me it is beneficial because I got to find out when I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, 2010 with the 203rd Engineers, that we had an open pit burn site at the air force base where I was stationed,” he said. “And now, there is an open burn pit registry so I need to get registered for that because I was there, in case I have health problems. I know that some of my troops have had health problems, so I am going to be calling them, letting them know about that.”

Group holds health event for combat vets
By Todd G. Higdon
Posted Aug. 2, 2014
Area war veterans had the opportunity Saturday to get information about veterans’ health care during an event at Camp Crowder.

“This is our 2014 Welcome Home Salute,” said Sarah McBride, public affairs for Veterans Healthcare System for the Ozarks, who held the event. “The event is targeted toward combat veterans, Operation Iraq Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn, but it is open to any veteran who wants to come and learn about information. So we have VA services, as well as veterans benefits administration here, dietitians, we have got health, disease prevention, health promotion, enrollment and eligibility specialists, just to get the word out to returning veterans or any veteran who wants to information on it, what services are available to them.”
read more here

Reporters jumped all over the VA with story after story of what they got wrong but when they got things right, reporters were not really interested. They find veteran after veteran with complaints and horror stories but don't seem to manage to find the majority of veterans receiving great treatment. They don't seem interested in covering VA sponsored Stand Downs for homeless veterans all over the country. What makes all of this worse is, none of them are really interested in asking what the DOD is getting so wrong it makes it harder for military folks after they leave service. Congress sure as hell doesn't care or they would be holding the DOD accountable.

There has been a long history of the Vice Chiefs making claims about what they are doing and how it is working but this video from 2010 as they gave their speeches to Senators on the Armed Services Committee, the result proves their claims were false.

Did you know that while the DOD was ordered by Congress to do Pre and Post Deployment Screenings, they were not doing the Post deployments ones? They claimed they didn't have time or the manpower. In other words, the law didn't apply to them even though they were telling reporters they were doing everything possible to get them the help they needed on PTSD. Here is the video covered by CSPAN in a hearing back in 2010.

Enhanced Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA) Process
(DD Form 2796)


DD Form 2796 - DoDI 6490.03, Deployment Health, 11 Aug 06 describes the post-deployment health activities. "The DD Form 2796 is required if a DD Form 2795 was required during the pre-deployment phase or per the decision of the COCOM commander, Service component commander, or commander exercising operational control if any health threats evolved or exposures (OEH or CBRN) occurred during the deployment that warrant medical assessment or follow-up." "Each individual who requires a DD Form 2796 must be scheduled for a face-to-face health assessment with a trained health care provider (physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, advanced practice nurse, independent duty corpsman, independent duty medical technician, or Special Forces medical sergeant) during in-theater medical out-processing or within 30 days after returning to home or processing station." The purpose of this screening is to review each deployer's current health, mental health or psychosocial issues commonly associated with deployments, special medications taken during the deployment, possible deployment-related occupational/environmental exposures, and to discuss deployment-related health concerns. Positive responses require use of supplemental assessment tools and/or referrals for medical consultation. The provider will document concerns and referral needs and discuss resources available to help resolve any post-deployment issues.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

U.S. taxpayer dollars going up in smoke in Afghanistan

U.S. troops in Afghanistan sent waste to open burn pits, report finds
LA Times
July 21, 2014

Although the U.S. has spent millions to build incinerators in Afghanistan to avoid exposing anyone to toxic smoke from open burning, American troops sent waste to an Afghan-operated open pit for five months last year, according to an inspector general’s report issued late Monday.

The Afghans continued to burn their own dangerous waste -- including batteries, tires and plastic -- in the pit because they didn’t want to spend money on fuel to run new, U.S.-provided incinerators, which stood unused behind a locked gate, the report found.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s report said the incidents violate a 2010 Pentagon prohibition against using such pits except in extraordinary circumstances. U.S. forces did not notify Congress, as required, to seek an exemption from the ban, the report said.

“This is another case of U.S. taxpayer dollars going up in smoke,” said John F. Sopko, the inspector general. “Congress was never told about it -- and worst of all, the health of U.S. troops has been put needlessly at risk.”
read more here

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

National Guardsman Dying After Burn Pit

Iraq War Vet Lived to See Birth of 'Burn Pit' Registry for Ill Troops
NBC News
July 8, 2014
A new federal registry of U.S. troops and veterans possibly sickened by toxic smoke in Iraq and Afghanistan has gathered nearly 11,000 eligible names -– including the ill airman who inspired the site but expected to die before it launched.

“What I really feel is relief. It's been a battle,” said Master Sgt. Jessey Baca, 54, a member of the New Mexico Air National Guard. He and his wife, Maria, began pushing for the registry in 2010. “When I started, I figured I might not be alive to see it.”

Baca, who maintained fighter jets during two Iraq tours, has constrictive bronchiolitis. The airway-plugging malady is, “in certain situations, a progressive, terminal disease,” said Dr. Robert Miller, a Nashville-based pulmonologist who performed lung biopsies to diagnose the ailment in Baca plus about 65 other troops and veterans.

A former half-marathoner who once jogged along the irrigation canals near his Albuquerque home, Baca no longer has the energy to wash his truck or tend his garden. He’s created a bucket list. His days, he said, “are numbered.”

But five times weekly, Baca dons his Air Force uniform and drives to Kirtland Air Force Base. That duty preserves his cherished link to national service. The diagnosis has forced him into light duty -– computer work. And that change, he admits, is “hard to accept” for a man who once lived “at 100 miles per hour.” Some mornings, he must will himself out of bed.
read more here

Afghanistan Burn Pits

Burn Pits

Iraq Burn Pits


Soldier's family blames death on burn pits
By St. John Barned-Smith
July 3, 2014

Elizabeth Thomas says her husband, David, "was my soulmate." He died June 27 of lung cancer at age 47.

The cough started during David Thomas' last deployment with the U.S. Army.

"We thought maybe he had a cold," said his wife, Elizabeth Thomas.

After months battling what he thought was a chronic dry cough, he saw a doctor, who told him he had stage IV lung cancer, which already had metastasized to his brain. Thomas came to believe he'd contracted the cancer after being exposed to toxins from burn pits while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Friday, Thomas will bury her husband at the Houston National Cemetery, less than two weeks after a federal online registry opened for veterans to document adverse health effects they believe they suffered due to exposure to smoke from the burn pits. The registry, Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, is a database experts hope will provide more information about how veterans' service in the Middle East affected their health.
read more here

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Iraq Veteran Gets Special Graduation Ceremony

Army vet, after missing graduation because of mysterious illness, gets special ceremony Friday
Sedeño completed his master's degree in secondary education
Lubbock Avalanche Journal
By Karen Michael
Posted: June 13, 2014
With Texas Tech President Duane Nellis, Jeremy Sedeño and Tech Regent John D. Steinmetz beaming for cameras, the degree transfer was quickly completed.

An Army veteran who earned two Bronze Stars while serving two tours of duty in Iraq was honored in a small graduation ceremony at Texas Tech on Friday afternoon after being too sick to attend graduation in May.

Jeremy Sedeño returned to Lubbock after serving in the U.S. Army as a medic to finish his education at Texas Tech.

He worked to complete his master’s degree in secondary education after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in history.

About a week and a half before his graduation, he became ill with flu and was admitted to the hospital, where doctors found nodules on both sides of his lungs. Four days before graduation, he had a lung biopsy, with doctors going into his body through his back and ribs to take a piece of his infected lung.
In the time since graduation, Sedeño has traveled to the Mayo Clinic to find out what is wrong with him, but he still has no conclusive answers. Some doctors have speculated he could have come into contact with something toxic during his service in Iraq.
read more here

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

OEF OIF Veterans Burning For You

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 21, 2014

Burn Pits have been making troops sick and Congress was fixing it in 2008. If you think any of what is going on with our troops and veterans is new, it isn't. It has been one long nightmare for all of them.

This is another reminder of what Congress did not take care of. Aside from the troubles with the VA, there are so many other things Congress could have fixed but they played politics with the troops the same as they played politics with our veterans. It is like a game to them but the men and women serving this country had to pay for it.
Seven members of Congress have added their names to a growing list of legislators concerned about service members who say burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan have made them sick.

“It has come to our attention that a growing number of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are becoming sick and dying from what appears to be overexposure to dangerous toxins produced by burn pits used to destroy waste,” reads a letter from Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., to Eric Shinseki, the new secretary of veterans affairs. “Further conversations with other veterans have revealed that the armed forces have not investigated this threat adequately.”

That piece of news didn't come out last year or the year before. It came out in 2009.

What did Congress do? They wrote a bill.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., would amend Title 38 of the U.S. Code, which deals with veterans benefits, by adding a passage stating that a veteran exposed in the line of duty to “an occupational and environmental health chemical hazard of particular concern” is eligible for hospital care, medical services and nursing home care for any disability, even if there is “insufficient medical evidence to conclude that such disability may be associated with exposure.”

The bill comes in the wake of a series of hearings about troops being exposed to carcinogenic material at Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in Iraq; a sulfur fire in Mosul, Iraq; and burn-pit smoke throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.

The veterans felt they had no other choice but to sue KBR in 2010.
Some 241 military personnel and contractors who became ill after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq are suing a Houston-based firm, claiming they were poisoned by smoke from trash fires, the Washington Post reported Friday.

The claimants, who are from 42 states, are suffering from a range of conditions including cancer and severe breathing problems, which they blame on the thick, black smoke. The symptoms were reportedly nicknamed "Iraqi crud" by troops.

They are taking legal action against Kellogg Brown & Root, which operated more than two dozen burn-pits in the two countries, the Post reported. It used to be a subsidiary of Halliburton, which is a also a defendant in the case.

Veterans Returning Home From Iraq, Afghanistan Point To Open Air Burn Pits As New ‘Agent Orange’
CBS News
Ken Bastida
May 20, 2014
They’ve filed class action lawsuits, alleging the operator of the pits KBR and its former parent company Halliburton acted negligently. KBR denies that, and argues as a military contractor it shares the same immunity as the government from lawsuits over war related injuries.

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Hundreds of veterans coming back from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are falling ill and many are dying of what’s being called the new “Agent Orange”: open air burn pits.

There’s no proven cause but vets and their families say they know why.

Lieutenant Colonel Gwen Chiaramonte is proud to have served her country. At Balad Air Force Base in Iraq she was a combat stress therapist, familiar with exposure to danger off base. “You worry but you think you just have to live,” she said.

Now she believes there was danger from within too: An open air pit where the base’s garbage was burned. “They they just threw everything in. Vehicles, tires, plastic bottles, trash, medical waste, dead animals. Then they would pour jet fuel on it and just light it,” she said.

Chiaramonte says the burn pit spewed columns of ashy smoke that often blew right into her nearby housing unit. “It would smell like it would be on fire,” she said.

She started getting constant nose bleeds. Then when she got home, the really bad news: A rare form of aggressive ovarian cancer.
read more here
This makes all of this seem even worse since this is what came out in 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Senator Akaka wants answers on burn pit toxins

Akaka wants DoD, VA to review war-zone toxins

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Dec 1, 2008 19:08:25 EST

Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has asked that the co-chairs of the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs Oversight Committee begin a review of environmental toxins — including those coming from burn pits — at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Reports of possible exposure to smoke from burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan have come to the committee’s attention,” Akaka wrote in a letter dated Dec. 1. “Concerns about such exposure would appear to be an ideal opportunity for focused efforts to track the location of service members in relation to the possible exposure sites.”

The letter was addressed to Gordon England, deputy defense secretary, and Gordon Mansfield, deputy VA secretary.

Friday, March 21, 2014

VA needs to add Constrictive bronchiolitis

VA urged to make lung disease service-connected
Army Times
By Patricia Kime
Staff writer
March 21, 2014

A New York congressman wants the Veterans Affairs Department to make a rare lung disease found in some Iraq and Afghanistan veterans service-connected, meaning having the condition automatically would rate compensation and care from VA.

Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop wrote VA Secretary Eric Shinseki on March 12 urging him to designate constrictive bronchiolitis a service-connected condition.

The Social Security Administration in 2012 added the condition to its “compassionate allowances” list, meaning it is among conditions expedited through the claims process because they are “so serious they obviously meet disability standards,” according to the administration.

“I commend the Social Security Administration for making it a little easier for our nation’s veterans to access the benefits they have earned through their service; it is now time for the Veterans Administration [sic] to do the same,” Bishop said.

Constrictive bronchiolitis, also called obliterative bronchiolitis or bronchiolitis obliterans, is characterized by the narrowing or obstruction of the lung’s smallest airways, the bronchioles, by scarring or fibrous tissue.
read more here

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

VA Open Air Burn Pit Registry Late

Senators Press VA to Explain Delay in Burn Pit Registry
NBC News
March 18, 2014

Two U.S. senators insisted Tuesday that Veterans Affairs Secretary Erik Shinseki reveal why his agency is nearly three months late in creating a legally-mandated registry of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans potentially poisoned — some lethally — by exposure to toxic trash-fire trenches.

The so-called "burn pits," scattered throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, spewed acrid smoke while breaking down damaged Humvees, ordnance, mattresses, rocket launchers, and even amputated body parts. Some were ignited by jet fuel.

Perhaps the largest such dump was in Balad, Iraq, spanning the length of 10 football fields. The plumes produced have been dubbed "this generation's Agent Orange."

On Jan. 10, 2013, President Barack Obama signed a law giving the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs one year to create and maintain the Open Air Burn Pit Registry, meant to identify and monitor veterans who inhaled the pollutants. The VA also was directed to later report its findings to Congress.
read more here

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Terminally Ill Burn Pit Veteran Needs Help to Golf

Veteran with terminal illness finds new passion
Written by Elizabeth Watts
Posted: Jan 14, 2014


Retired Staff Sgt. Daniel Meyer served in Iraq and Afghanistan. While there, he said he was exposed to burn pits.

The pits are used to dispose of the military's trash. Items burned include everything from paint cans to tires. Meyer said he breathed the toxic air in while living next door to the pits.

"I suffer from a disease called bronchiolitis obliterans. It's a terminal progressive illness," the 29-year-old said.

One day he won't be able to breathe and will need a double lung transplant. He also has bilateral masses on his legs, confining him to a wheelchair.

He's not alone.

"I know other guys who were at the same base as me at the same time, and they have the same lung disease," Meyer said.

In 2012 Meyer was invited to a golf camp for wounded veterans. The Harmon's Heroes Foundation gave him custom-made Titleist golf clubs and exposed him to the links.

"It was an event that definitely changed my life," Meyer said.
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FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Monday, December 16, 2013

Millions spent on incinerators in Afghanistan that were never used

SIGAR: Millions spent on incinerators in Afghanistan that were never used
Stars and Stripes
Alex Pena
December 16, 2013

Troops and personnel at Forward Operating Base Sharana in Afghanistan resorted to hazardous open-air burn pits to dispose of waste after the U.S. Army spent $5.4 million on faulty incinerators that couldn’t be used, a government watchdog said in a report released Monday.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found that because of construction delays and safety issues with the facility’s electrical supply, the incinerators were unusable.

Open-air pits can pose serious health hazards to troops and personnel living in surrounding areas, the report said. Their continued use after a base of a certain size has been established is also in violation of a 2011 U.S. Central Command regulation, according to the report. That regulation says that once a base exceeds 100 personnel for more than 90 days — a threshold that FOB Sharana met — it must establish a plan for installing waste-disposal technologies such as incinerators.

“Nearly 3 years after the initial scheduled completion date for the incinerator facility at FOB Sharana, the incinerators have never been used,” the report said.

Despite known problems with the incinerators, SIGAR said, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accepted possession of them and paid the contractor, Denver-based International Home Finance and Development LLC, the full contract price $5.4 million.
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