Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Toxic Tour

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 31, 2011

Theresa Campbell Daily Commercial  August 31, 2011

Jill Wilkins’ husband never mentioned the thick, black smoke that smoldered from toxic burn pits in Iraq.

It wasn’t until Kevin was dying from a brain tumor when a doctor questioned the Air Force Reserve nurse about his military service.

“Kevin, when you were over there were you exposed to anything?”

“Oh, yeah, all kinds of stuff,” he replied.

Those words stunned the Eustis wife and mother of two. Jill also learned through research that burn pits were being used in place of incinerators in Iraq and Afghanistan, where garbage, lithium batteries, tires, water bottles, human waste, metal, aluminum, hydraulic fluids, medical supplies and old medicines were doused with jet fuel and would burn 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Kevin had walked through the smoke daily, without a mask, while working at a clinic at Balad Air Base in Iraq during the summer of 2006. A second tour followed in 2007 in Qatar.

“I’m sure that even as he was exposed to it, in the back of his mind he wasn’t thinking that it could do something to him,” Jill said.

The U.S. government recently acknowledged the harmful effects of burn pits. In a report released last year by the United States Government Accountability Office, “burn pits help base commanders manage waste, but also produces smoke and harmful emissions that military and other health professionals believe may result in acute and chronic health effects to those exposed.”

The burn pit at Balad reportedly burned 250 tons of waste a day, exposing about 25,000 U.S, military personnel and thousands of contractors to the toxins.

It was shut down in 2009, however as of last year, 22 other burn pits were still in operation

Please read the entire story here

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