“Though the US government disputes it, new evidence shows a link between service in Iraq and Afghanistan and cancers and untreatable bronchial illnesses.”
The health risk of this is astronomical, and the combat veteran community is losing people to this important factor that the government is refusing.
Imagine you go to a concert, and hundreds of people start coming down with illnesses. Then you find out that the concert was releasing toxic chemicals during the show. There would be outrage.
Now imagine being exposed to those chemicals during the course of 365 days. 730 days. 1,095 days…
The following statement comes from the Department of Veterans Affairs website regarding the burn pit health concerns.
At this time, research does not show evidence of long-term health problems from exposure to burn pits. VA continues to study the health of deployed Veterans.
Contrast that with the warning on the Environmental Protection Agency website on burning backyard trash in 2016.
It’s a Health Hazard
Most people who burn their waste do not realize how harmful this practice is to their health and to the environment. Current research indicates that backyard burning is far more harmful to our health than previously thought. It can increase the risk of heart disease, aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema, and cause rashes, nausea, or headaches. Backyard burning also produce harmful quantities of dioxins, a group of highly toxic chemicals that settle on crops and in our waterways where they eventually wind up in our food and affect our health. The Human Health page provides more information about the dangers of dioxin.
The American public is seeing an increase in the knowledge of the health effects of military service.
Now, new information is beginning to surface as to the level of health hazards these burn pits are responsible for. From a 2016 article from TheGuardian, burn pits were built in unsavory places.
Based on clusters of similar cases, scientific studies and expert opinions, author Joseph Hickman proposes in The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers that US service members in Iraq and Afghanistan confronted more than one unexpected enemy that followed them home. Many soldiers complain of respiratory issues relating to their burn pit exposure. But others likely developed more life-threatening conditions such as cancers, Hickman contends, because of what the burn pits were built on top of: the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons program.
The information about the risk keeps building. At some point, the DoD and the VA are going to have to address this potential health crisis as tens of thousands of veterans who circulated through the Middle East. While the VA was able to hide much of the information about Agent Orange for decades and cause tremendous pain for those who suffered from the effects of the defoliant that was sprayed onto soldiers.
While Vietnam veterans are gaining some ground with the advent of the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle if it concerns veterans which is rarely strikes the outrage. The momentum that the “Global War on Terrorism,” generation are moving the needle a bit more.
I believe the reason veterans issues are not high on the agenda because of the insignificant population that veterans represent.
Full disclosure, the link for the EPA trash burning states it is now an archive. The updated page has less information on it, so it was opted to use this page that was updated just last year.)