Many tie Iraq, Afghanistan War veterans’ illnesses to burn pits, dust

By Steve Liewer / World-Herald:  Burn pits used especially in the early days of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to destroy trash sent piles of wood, paper, medical waste, metal, plastics and even human waste up in smoke.  “It’s just a toxic battlefield,” said Dan Sullivan, president and CEO of the Sergeant Sullivan Center, a nonprofit organization that supports veterans with post-deployment health problems. “You’ve got a bunch of toxic stuff floating around in an atmosphere that picks everything up.”

There’s a fierce debate, though, over whether breathing noxious fumes or dust is actually causing soldiers to get sick. It is notoriously tricky to link a specific case of illness to a specific environmental cause.

That’s what government officials with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have argued for years. They say their studies show little increase in respiratory problems among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.  To read full article, click here: