Burn Pits Exposed: A Look at How Military Got Rid of 'Anything and Everything' on Overseas Bases
NBC 10 News
By NBC10 Investigators
Published Nov 16, 2018
They served. Now they're sick. Thousands of former soldiers claim they are suffering ill effects from the garbage disposal methods on overseas bases.
In the middle of the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, garbage disposal on American military bases was historically a simple thing.
"Anything and everything burned in a burn pit — from mail to dead animals to anything," Ryan Conklin, a former soldier, says.
Asbestos and other chemicals? Yes, retired Army Lt. Col. Dan Brewer, says.
Medical waste? Yes again, according to a doctor now researching the effects of burn pit dust. "It was always burning, always black smoke coming of there," another veteran, Michael Ray, says.
Several former soldiers and medical doctors spoke to NBC10 Investigators about their experiences with burn pits: large holes dug by crews who then filled the pits with trash and lit them on fire with jet fuel. For many soldiers deployed to the desert and living on bases adjacent to the debris disposal, the billowing black smoke was just part of their daily life.
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