Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Senators press for burn pit update from military

TAMPA BAY ONLINE  May 18, 2011

Armed with a new study showing military personnel deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq are eight times more likely to suffer respiratory problems than those who are not, two senators are asking the Department of Defense to provide an immediate update on what is being done about the problem of burn pits, which have operated in both countries.

Armed with a new study showing military personnel deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq are eight times more likely to suffer respiratory problems than those who are not, two senators are asking the Department of Defense to provide an immediate update on what is being done about the problem of burn pits, which have operated in both countries.

Democrats Bill Nelson of Florida and Charles Schumer of New York got involved with the issue after the December death of retired Army Sgt. Bill McKenna, who was born in New York but lived in Spring Hill.

McKenna, 41, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, died at HPH Hospice, of Spring Hill, from cancer he contracted after constant exposure to the thick smoke that wafted almost every hour of every day across Balad Air Base in Iraq, where McKenna was stationed about 18 months.

In bases across Afghanistan, amputated body parts, Humvee parts, human waste, plastic meal trays and other garbage are incinerated using jet fuel in large trenches called burn pits. The military halted the practice in Iraq last year.

Thousands of military personnel may have been exposed to the toxic fumes and, across the United States, more than 300 have joined a class-action lawsuit against KBR, the military contractor that operated some of the burn pits at bases in Iraq.

The company is fighting the suit, filed in federal court in Maryland, claiming it operated some pits at the military’s direction; most were operated by the Army.

Late last year, after a News Channel 8-Tampa Tribune investigation, the Department of Veterans Affairs ruled McKenna’s cancer was directly related to burn pits and awarded him 100 percent service-connected disability.

Please read the entire story here

May 18, 2011 - Posted by | Burn Pits, Civilian Contractors, Toxic | , , , , ,

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