Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 3, 2010

GAO Finds Lack of Compliance with Burn Pits at All Middle East Military Bases

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will release an investigative report, requested by Feingold and other members of Congress, which reveals the Armed Services are not complying with federal legislation aimed at preventing the exposure of troops to harmful emissions resulting from the burning of mass amounts of trash on bases throughout the Middle East.
GAO report is available here: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-63.

Full Article at: FEINGOLD-REQUESTED STUDY REVEALS U.S. TROOPS EXPOSED TO TOXINS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

PoliticalNews.me – Oct 18,2010 – “Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Russ Feingold is calling on the Defense Department to protect U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from harmful emissions from burn pits. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will release an investigative report, requested by Feingold and other members of Congress, which reveals the Armed Services are not complying with federal legislation aimed at preventing the exposure of troops to harmful emissions resulting from the burning of mass amounts of trash on bases throughout the Middle East. The GAO report indicates that the Armed Forces cannot rule out the possibility of long-term health implications for the nearly two million troops that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I am deeply troubled to learn that the Defense Department has not taken simple steps, such as segregating plastics, to ensure that our troops are not exposed to harmful emissions,” Feingold said. “The Defense Department’s slow reaction has exposed another generation of veterans to the exact same carcinogens found in Agent Orange. I am pleased that the VA has acknowledged the dangers posed by these harmful practices and has taken steps to ensure that veterans who become ill as a result get the care and compensation they need. And while the Defense Department is right to close the pits in Iraq, it must do more to restrict their use in Afghanistan.”

Feingold first heard of this issue in 2008 when he was contacted by a Wisconsinite who served in Iraq and was exposed to potentially hazardous fumes created by the burning of mass amounts of trash on a U.S. base in Iraq. Feingold has led efforts to ensure the Defense Department addresses the issue and worked to pass legislation last year restricting the burning of harmful materials. The military has since issued regulations prohibiting the burning of harmful substances in burn pits and committed to closing major pits in Iraq. In addition, the VA has issued regulations to help ensure that any veterans who become ill as a result of exposure to the fumes receive care and compensation.

The report from the Government Accountability Office found that none of the bases inspected were in compliance with federal legislation, in part due to disputes with contractors. Incinerators that could have prevented the emission of harmful fumes were not installed at bases in Iraq for approximately 5 years due to disputes with contractors.”

A copy of the GAO report is available here: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-63.

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