Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
A lawsuit was filed alleging that KBR, Inc. endangered the health and safety of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan by exposing them to huge quantities of toxic dust, fumes and other air pollution by burning unsorted waste in vast open-air pits without any safety controls.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in New Jersey by the law firm of Jon L. Gelman LLC on behalf of two military veterans whose illnesses – which include respiratory disease, chronic cough, debilitating headaches, and neurological skin disorders – were allegedly caused by 24/7 hazardous emissions from burn pits.
KBR is accused of operating burn pits in such an unsafe manner that they permitted thick, noxious smoke emerging from the flames, sometimes colored blue or green by burning chemicals, to hang over US bases and camps across Iraq and Afghanistan since 2004.
According to the complaint, the burn pits are so large that tractors are used to push waste onto them and the flames shoot hundreds of feet into the sky. KBR allegedly burned waste such as biohazard materials including human corpses, medical supplies, paints, solvents, asbestos, items containing pesticides, animal carcasses, tires, lithium batteries, Styrofoam, wood, rubber, medical waste, large amounts of plastics, and even entire trucks.
Attorney Jon L. Gelman said, “it is alleged that KBR failed to follow prescribed safety protocols for the proper disposal of waste materials, and protect the health and safety of those soldiers serving in and about those areas. It was common knowledge that open-air incineration of toxic substances, including known carcinogens, endangered those individuals living in and about those areas. A company should not willfully disregard appropriate safety precautions and endanger US Solders heroically serving their country.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The VA list includes:
-Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)-Malaria-Mycobacterium tuberculosis
-West Nile virus
The announcement was made in a press release from the VA. A final regulation will be published after the opportunity for comments are presented. This announcement allows for eligibility for disability compensation.
The VA's decision to list the diseases as related to exposures was based upon the 2006 report of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), entitled, "Gulf War and Health Volume 5: Infectious Diseases." Recently the Institute of Medicine (IOM) began health care studies concerning burn pit exposures.
The IOM plans to investigate:
"An IOM committee will determine the long term health effects of exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. Using the Balad Burn Pit in Iraq as an example, the committee will examine existing literature that has detailed the types of substances burned in the pits and their by-products, and examine the feasibility and design issues for an epidemiologic study of veterans exposed to the Balad burn pit.
The committee will explore the background on the use of burn pits in the military. Areas of interest to the committee might include but are not limited to investigating:
-Where burn pits are located, what is typically burned, and what are the by-products of burning;
-The frequency of use of burn pits and average burn times; and
-Whether the materials being burned at Balad are unique or similar to burn pits located elsewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
A recent report in Mother Jones reveals that soldiers, exposed to the dust and fumes from burn pits, coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, are reporting illness at record numbers. In the last 17 months more than 500 veterans have been in touch with Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and reported symptoms ranging from respiratory problems, rashes, kidney problems, asthma-like symptoms and blood disorders, including leukemia and death.
The US Military contracted with Halliburton's former subsidiary KRB to provide logistical support to US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and provide safe waste disposal and drinking water. Lawsuits have been filed against the contractors seeking damages for their failure to carry out their duties properly. The veterans report that toxic substances, including asbestos, plastics, chromium, medical waste, and unexploded ordinance, were place in open pits and covered with jet fuel and ignited created a toxic cloud. Shoulders who were downwind from the belching toxic plume were exposed in the field, eating areas and housing units.
US Congressman Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) has called for legislation ending the use of burn pits and for the medical monitoring of those exposed. Bishop said, "....A glaring example of this recklessness is the use of burn pits to dispose of hazardous waste across Iraq and Afghanistan. A senior member of a U.S. Army environmental health assessment team called one of these burn pits 'the worst environmental site I have personally visited.'"
Click here to contact Jon Gelman by e-mail about burn pit claims or call 973-696-7988.
Click here to read more about burn pit exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Click here to read more about burn pit claims for benefits and lawsuits.