Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Burn Pits: The Things That They Burned

The following article is authored bj Jennifer Percy and is shared from newrepublic.com

"Everything—all the trash of the war—was thrown in a burn pit, soaked with jet fuel, and torched. There were hundreds of open-air garbage dumps, spread out across Afghanistan and Iraq, right next to encampments where American soldiers lived and worked, ate and slept. The pits burned day and night, many of them around the clock, seven days a week. There were backyard-size pits lit by patrols of a few dozen men, and massive, industrial-size pits designed to incinerate the endless stream of waste produced by U.S. military bases. Camp Speicher, in Iraq, produced so much trash that it had to operate seven burn pits simultaneously. At the height of the surge, according to the Military Times, Joint Base Balad was churning out three times more garbage than Juneau, Alaska, which had a comparable population. Balad’s pit, situated in the northwest corner of the base, spanned ten acres and burned more than 200 tons of trash a day.


"Much of the waste in the pits was toxic, and burning it released a lethal array of pollutants: particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, hydrocarbons, neurotoxins. JP-8, the jet fuel often used to ignite trash, released clouds of benzene, a known carcinogen. One analysis conducted on dust samples from Camp Victory in Iraq found hazardous levels of copper, iron, and titanium particles. Other researchers detected dioxin, the cancer-causing chemical found in Agent Orange. Burning plastic bottles released dioxin and hydrochloric acid, and burning foam cups released dioxin, benzene, and other carcinogens.

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The exposed individuals and their families brought a lawsuit against KBR for its allegedly improper use of the burn pits and for failing to warn veterans and civilians of the hazards of being exposed.

The cases allege that prolonged exposure to the burn pits' smoke, ash and fumes, and improper water treatment, may have resulted in chronic diseases, risk of future illness and death. The lawsuit alleges that KBR burned large amounts of unsorted waste, including hazardous waste, medical waste, and human waste, at military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The case, In re KBR Inc, Burn Pit Litigation, is a consolidated action, and is venued in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, before Judge Roger W. Titus.

The Court has stayed the Case Management Order at the request of counsel and will be holding a status conference on November 30, 2016 to determine further scheduling.

Click here to REQUEST more information about The Burn Pit Lawsuit now.