Burn Pit (noun):
During the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the burn pit is an area used to store temporary garbage and waste. Types of waste include plastics, batteries, appliances, medicine, dead animals, and human waste. Anything in this area is eventually lit on fire, (using an accelerant such as jet fuel) giving off potentially toxic and fatal fumes.
I’ve worked in the trash pit before for 3 months in Iraq, and let me tell you, it’s quite possibly one of the worst places to be stuck at, besides the obvious. The fumes they give off are extremely vile, and can make anyone within a few meters sick for days! The only real plus was you didn’t have to walk very far to toss an MRE wrapper.
Thousands of military personnel have got ill or died from exposure to burn pits. They’re known to cause respiratory problems, blood disorders, and even cancer! The sad part is, there are just as many military contractors that have been exposed to the burn pit as well. During my stay at the trash pit, we had a dog named “Waffles”, and man she was a beauty! She was also exposed to the burn pit, just as much as I or my battle buddies had been. I’m not a veterinarian, but I can’t imagine that being good for a dogs health!
The point I’m trying to make is this: burn pits are the devil. Here’s a recent (2015) survey of 28,426 Afghanistan and Iraq veterans that have been afflicted with some kind of respiratory condition since being exposed:
If you or anyone you know* has been exposed to a burn pit in Iraq or Afghanistan, PLEASE be sure to stop by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ Burn Pit Registry and fill out the required forms. There are about 64,000 other names currently on the list. If you-know-what hits the fan, you want to be covered!
Learn more or sign up for the Registry Here.
*Civilian Contractors may or may not be covered, but I encourage them to sign up anyways, and raise hell if the V.A. tries to decline your claim. You’re as much as a valuable asset as the men and women fighting for our freedom while deployed!