Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

America leaves Iraq a toxic legacy of dumped hazardous materials

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 14, 2010

Times Online Oliver August

NY Daily News

American troops going home from Iraq after seven painful years are leaving behind a legacy that is literally toxic.

An investigation by The Times in five Iraqi provinces has found that hazardous material from US bases is being dumped locally rather than sent back to America, in clear breach of Pentagon rules.

North and west of Baghdad, engine oil is leaking from 55-gallon drums into dusty ground, open acid canisters sit within easy reach of children, and discarded batteries lie close to irrigated farmland. A 2009 Pentagon document shown to The Times by a private contractor working with US soldiers mentions “an estimated 11 million pounds [5,000 tonnes] of hazardous waste” produced by American troops.

But even this figure appears to be only a partial estimate. BrigadierGeneral Kendall Cox, who is responsible for engineering and infrastructure in Iraq, told The Times yesterday that he was in the process of disposing of 14,500 tonnes of oil and soil contaminated with oil. “This has accumulated over seven years,” he said.

Iraqis who have come into contact with some of the material suffer from rashes and blistering on their hands and feet. They also complain of gagging and coughing. Rats near sites where waste was dumped have died and lie next to soiled containers.

Abu Saif, a Fallujah scrap dealer who handles US military surplus, lifted up his trouser legs and raised his hands to show blistered skin. “I got this when I worked on what was supposed to be American scrap metal,” he said. “I checked with a doctor and he said these are the effects of dangerous chemicals.”  Read the entire story here

3 Responses to “America leaves Iraq a toxic legacy of dumped hazardous materials”

  1. Going Silent said

    Looks like the burn pit in Bagram or Salerno to me. Is there a problem??

  2. Marlo said

    It amazes me that the over site for these contract companies after all these years is still not in place. We pay these companies out of our tax dollars every year. Millions of dollars wasted. Millions that are lining these companies wallets just so they can have a nicer car, boat and other toys. What about the people that will never have the chance to chase their dreams because of the disreguard of there lives and land.
    When will enough be enough. I stand behind our country, I will stand behind the military but I can not stand behind the companies that are paid very well to dispose of these materials and do nothing. When will these companies learn. When will we be able to be proud of what is being done. I am shamed at the disreguard of peoples lives. Clean up these companies. Clean up the politics behind them.
    It is time that people say enough is enough. Stop treating everyone like crap for a dollar. Peoples lives matter, our world matters. When we walk into these countries we should not destroy what little they have left. Respect the land, the children and the fellow Americans that will still be there. DO YOUR JOB.
    Same does for all these companies that have disreguard for the basic human needs. Shame on them and Shame on our government for not fighting to make these companies do their jobs correctly. Maybe they need everyday people like us on these sites to run the over site. Maybe it needs to be people like us that fight for the rights to stand up and hold them accountable.
    It is time that the government stop politicing and think of what is better for our country. Stop giving these over site jobs to suits because they have “the name” or “the money” or “the power to keep you in power.” The everyday person will fight to have things done right. Get off the old school horse and show us the people that you have what it takes to do the right thing.

  3. anonymousonpurpose said


    I personally put hundreds of used unwashed chemical containers in the burn pit per my Foreman’s orders.

    They never sorted anything, nor were any precautions taken to insure the chemicals were not contaminating the groundwater, air, or soil. Yes, we did leave a mess..I wonder what it is doing to my body, and the bodies of the thousands of Iraqis around the base, right now.

    Only time will tell.

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