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.
This appears to be emerging as a new health problem for veterans
coming home from the recent wars. It’s now being reported that some
active duty personnel have complained about respiratory difficulties and
headaches, and now disability claims are staring to show up.
Some veterans say the pits burn constantly and fumes are spread
through sandstorms. They say the military puts everything from batteries
to munitions and plastics in the burn pits because it’s easier than
packing the stuff up for proper disposal.
“I’ve heard from individual service men and women pretty much every
time I have a veterans’ event that involves Iraq and Afghanistan
veterans,” said Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn. “I hear from them,
‘oh and by the way, there were these burning pits of tires and
munition, batteries and human waste,’ and it’s appalling.”
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.