Mar 3, 2022

What's a burn pit? And why it matters

Newsweek - President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address on Tuesday to highlight the risks of burn pits and the effect they have had on the health of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan...Materials burned in these pits included chemicals, paint, medical and human waste, metal/aluminum cans, munitions, and other unexploded ordnance, petroleum and lubricant products, plastics and Styrofoam, rubber, wood, and discarded food.

Some of the waste burned in these pits could give rise to toxic smoke-containing substances with potential to cause long and short-term health effects. The VA says that the burning of waste in such pits gives rise to more hazards than the burning of waste in controlled conditions such as commercial incinerators.

Short terms effects of exposure to burn pit smoke include nose, skin, and eye irritation, coughing and soreness in the throat, and breathing difficulties...

The VA uses the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, which it launched in 2014, to track and monitor vets exposed to burn pits during service. According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) it is estimated that 3.5 million service members and veterans were exposed to burn pits.

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