The VA keeps a “burn pits registry,” which lists more than 100,000 veterans exposed to the open-air burning of all types of waste during the first and second Gulf Wars. More and more veterans in that registry who were exposed to smoke from the burning of “everything from plastics to metals to chemicals and human waste” are now being diagnosed with various cancers and other diseases.
The problem, however, is that the VA refuses to acknowledge a link between the exposure to those carcinogenic toxins while deployed and subsequent cancer diagnoses in exposed troops. The VA maintains this conclusion despite these findings from its own scientific study:
“Exposures to high levels of specific, individual chemicals that may be present in burn pit smoke have been shown to cause long-term effects on the skin, respiratory system, eyes, liver, kidneys, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, peripheral nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract in some cases.”
Sadly, this of course means that the VA doesn’t have to compensate these veterans—and their immediate families—when the veterans come down with a life altering disease.
You can read more about this topic here: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/07/21/burn-pits-are-the-new-agent-orange-for-cancer-stricken-veterans/; http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/02/26/hundreds-attend-service-veteran-who-warned-burn-pit-hazards.html