Burn Pits

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Peter1469
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Burn Pits

Postby Peter1469 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:11 pm

The Things we burned

Burn pits were a big problem in Iraq- the Air Force did a study that contradicted the Army study that said there was nothing to see here. I burned the trash on a checkpoint in the Sinai back in 88. I was a natural fire bug so I didn't mind.

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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.

“Ash spread over everything,” Leon Russell Keith, a military contractor who was stationed at Balad, testified at a Senate hearing in 2009. “Our beds, our clothing, the floor.” Thick black smoke poured into the barracks. The air conditioners blew ash. Ash stained the bed sheets. Their teeth turned black from the soot. Ash rained down on the men, on the American troops, the Iraqi detainees, the Iraqi correctional officers. One soldier described the smoke as thick “like San Francisco fog.” Another called it “pollen dust.” The color of the smoke changed depending on what was burning that day. It could be blue and black, or yellow and orange. Mostly it was black. Everyone inhaled it. They ingested it. It was on their skin.

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Don
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Re: Burn Pits

Postby Don » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:42 pm

Weren't the "coalition" troops camped outside Iraq for 5 months + doing the same thing during the lead up to Desert Storm? Maybe that could account for some of the mystery ailments that befell so many of our people. That and the added benefit of inhaling smoke from all the oil well fires set at the order of S. Hussein.

I worked in the chemical industry for 25 years and that list of pollutants really stuck out to me. I know its war but maybe the armed forces ought to study some EPA material. We didn't have any choice but to study it in private industry.
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Re: Burn Pits

Postby Peter1469 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:48 pm

Don wrote:Weren't the "coalition" troops camped outside Iraq for 5 months + doing the same thing during the lead up to Desert Storm? Maybe that could account for some of the mystery ailments that befell so many of our people. That and the added benefit of inhaling smoke from all the oil well fires set at the order of S. Hussein.

I worked in the chemical industry for 25 years and that list of pollutants really stuck out to me. I know its war but maybe the armed forces ought to study some EPA material. We didn't have any choice but to study it in private industry.



Burn pits are pretty much status quo wherever there is a large troop deployments. I suppose a lot depends on what all you burn. When I was in Iraq the last time a high level congressional delegation came and the top of our wish list was for construction money for incinerators. They refused because that would look like a permanent presence.


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