at Joint Base Balad, wrote: "In my professional opinion, there is an
acute health hazard from individuals. There is also the possibility for
chronic health hazards associated with the smoke." Air Force
bioenvironmental engineers are experts in occupational and environmental
workplace hazards. The military has no standard operating procedure or
training policy for ensuring the burn pits are operated properly. Consequently, per the above referenced memo, the following items have found their way into the burn pit at Balad: paint and solvents; styrofoam; unexploded ordnance; petroleum products; plastic; rubber; dining facility trash; and medical waste (including amputated limbs). The memo further states other contaminants that troops may have been exposed to include: benzene (an aircraft fuel known to cause leukemia); arsenic; dichlorofluorometha ne (Freon); carbon monoxide; ethylbenzene;
While the above information specifically pertains to the burn pits at
Balad, burn pits are being used all over Iraq and in Afghanistan. A
total of 41 incinerators have been approved for use at U.S. bases in
Iraq, but only 17 are presently fully operational. Another 17 are being
built with 7 awaiting funding. An additional 22 are planned.
Incinerators for Afghanistan are still being planned/designed.
The DAV has been gathering information on this issue. There are
currently 182 combat vets on their database. Of these, 48 have
lymphoma, luekemia or another type of cancer; 55 have pulmonary ailments
including asthma and asthma-like symptoms; and others report multiple
sclerosis, sleep apnea and heart problems. At least 16 veterans on this
list have died. This is another Agent Orange or Gulf War Syndrome
situation in the making.
Burn pits are unacceptable refuse disposal method for any permanent
military installation here in the States or elsewhere in the world. The
Silver Star Famiies of America believes there is more than enough
evidence to suggest that burn pits are and will be detrimental to the
health of our armed forces. Thus it is our position that the practice
stop or be revised.
This position statement will be included in written testimony to the
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
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The mission of the Silver Star Families of America is to remember, honor and assist the wounded of our Armed Forces