In this file photo from Iraq, smoke billows in from all sides as Sgt. Richard Ganske, 84th Combat Engineer Battalion, pushes the bulldozer deep into the flames of the burn pit to keep burnable items constantly ablaze, disposing of them so they do not clutter up the base. Abel Trevino/Courtesy U.S. Army
May 22, 2012 - An 8-year assessment of the air quality at one of the largest military bases in Afghanistan reveals that servicemembers' and civilians' exposure to air contaminants from the "burn pits," used for disposing of trash, could pose long-term respiratory problems, according to an Army memo.
"The long term health risk associated with air conditions on BAF ... indicates there is a potential that long-term exposure at these levels may increase the risk for developing chronic health conditions such as reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, atherosclerosis, or other cardiopulmonary diseases," reads a portion of the one-page memo, dated April 15, 2011, obtained by Danger Room and posted to its website.
Preventative medicine teams took weekly air samples at Bagram Air Field, just north of Kabul, beginning in 2002, and measurements for contaminants exceeded healthy standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the posted memo states. read more>>>