The report will be published next month in the journal of Allergy and Asthma Proceedings and comes a few days after a similar study by the American Lung Association that urged that the burn pits be shut down immediately because the emissions contain significant amount of cancer producing chemicals.
The research was conducted by Dr, Anthony Szema who reported the significant increase in illness. He studies soldiers who were deployed at Balad Air Base. His research revealed that 7% of those soldiers were assigned to Balad reported respiratory condition upon their return. The doctor said, "“We shouldn’t be seeing these injuries,” he said. “But we’re not supposed to be living 100 yards away from where they’re burning water bottles and other waste either.”
The increased disease has been cause for alarm by the Veteran's Administration. The agency last month published guidelines for claims for shoulders with burn pit claim and resulting medical issues.
Dr. Szema, Chief of the Allergy Section at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northport, New York, recently testified to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee that burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistanare making our soldiers sick. "Individuals have reported uncontrolled burning of waste in the burn pits in Iraq. The chemicals generated from slow, low-heat burning present a variety of health risks. The type of plastic (PVC) used to make plastic bottles produces dioxin and hydrochloric acid when burned. These chemicals are associated with immune dysfunction, IQ deficit, and reproductive abnormalities. Polystyrene foam cups can be a source of carcinogens including dioxin, benzene, styrene and furans when burned. Chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood contains pro-carcinogenic arsenic. Bleached or colored paper contains harmful chemicals. Bleached paper contains halogenated hydrocarbons and furans associated with leukemia and liver disease. Colored paper contains heavy metals like lead and cadmium associated with blood, liver and kidney disease. Particle board and plywood release formaldehyde when burned; this is associated with nose and throat cancer, as well as liver and kidney disease and airway inflammation. Cardboard used for packaging of foodstuffs may contain fungicides which are associated with neurological disorders. The variety of materials burned at the burn pits in Iraq produces an enormous array of chemicals which may plausibly combine when burned to produce unknown dangers."
Click here to read more about burn pit exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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