Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dan Rather TV Documentary Highlights Burn Pit Health Hazards

An investigative report, concerning the alleged environmental health hazards of the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, was broadcast on HDNet on Tuesday, May 4, 2010.  The program, Dan Rather Reports, highlighted interviews of physicians, shoulders and environmental experts who spoke of toxic hazards of burn pits and related medical conditions and illnesses. 

Dan Rather reported, "A mystery that doctors and scientists are just beginning to unravel. It began when servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan began complaining of breathing problems. And it has grown into what may be the next gulf war syndrome, the next 9-11 ground zero disease, maybe even the next agent orange. All of those maladies were initially dismissed as figments of the imagination. We now know they were all too real, each caused by exposure to environmental hazards. In this case, the military initially said that the suffering soldiers were only victims of coincidence. But that didn't satisfy a small group of doctors and soldiers. They're convinced it can all be traced to something in the air."

"They can be seen curling into the sky or hanging low to the ground over many U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Billowing clouds of smoke emanating from mountains of burning trash. They're called burn pits, and at one point there were estimated to be hundreds of them in both countries-- some small some enormous. Staggering amounts of waste are generated in military operations. Not only do commanders have to figure out how to fight, they have to figure out what to do with all that garbage for example here in Baghdad where thousands of soldiers live and work, hundreds of tons of trash are produced each day. That trash includes many thousands of things like plastic water bottles and foam trays -- along with a lot of other stuff. For years much of it ended up in burn pits."