Exposure to toxic ‘burn pits’ the new Agent Orange

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WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Some are calling toxic “burn pits” near military installations in Iraq and Afghanistan the “new Agent Orange.” Veterans at an event in Waterbury Friday say they had to live and breath contaminated air from the burn pits for extended periods of time, and now they’re worried about their health.

This appears to be emerging as a new health problem for veterans coming home from the recent wars. It’s now being reported that some active duty personnel have complained about respiratory difficulties and headaches, and now disability claims are staring to show up.

Some veterans say the pits burn constantly and fumes are spread through sandstorms. They say the military puts everything from batteries to munitions and plastics in the burn pits because it’s easier than packing the stuff up for proper disposal.

“I’ve heard from individual service men and women pretty much every time I have a veterans’ event that involves Iraq and Afghanistan veterans,” said Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn. “I hear from them, ‘oh and by the way, there were these burning pits of tires and munition, batteries and human waste,’ and it’s appalling.”

The V.A. has admitted some veterans could have long-term aftereffects, especially those with preexisting conditions like asthma or other heart or lung conditions.  They have established a burn pit exposure registry and are conducting research into it.  For more information, click here.

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