Returning from a combat deployment without being hit by anything the enemy throws at you is pretty impressive. Surviving enemy assaults does not, however, mean soldiers will return home unharmed. Returning home wounded because of something the American government has done is another story.
The military operated burn pits in Iraq throughout the entire United States presence in country. Those burn pits emitted toxic, black smoke that constantly covered many military bases and has since been found to cause detrimental effects in soldiers. Jet fuel was used as an accelerant in the pits, which were filled with:
- Amputated body parts;
- Military vehicle parts;
- Human waste;
- Plastic; and
Thousands of soldiers and private contractors have been exposed to the burn pits, and the toxic contaminants contained in the smoke. The military, of course, spent years denying that the burn pits were dangerous, up to around October 2008. Jump to April of 2010, and burn pits have become responsible for so many health issues, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) felt it necessary to put forward a 25-page letter outlining what should be paid attention to when processing disability claims associated with the burn pits.
Yet, the military still refuses to appropriately supervise the burn pits and follow their own rules as far as what not to burn in the pits. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), there were still 251 pits in Afghanistan and 22 in Iraq as of August 2010. More military troops being deployed to Afghanistan with the United State’s new mission means there will likely be a higher demand for more burn pits.
Research is already being conducted in an attempt to discover specific health issues caused by burn pit exposure. The VA is handling claims on a case-by-case basis and only approving claims for certain diseases.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.