Burn pits making U.S. soldiers ill

Feb. 18, 2010 at 10:19 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious medical conditions attributed to burn pits on dozens of U.S. bases, a veterans group says.

The advocacy group Disabled American Veterans says it has a registry of more than 500 veterans with disorders ranging from leukemia to skin rashes, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

"The military needs to step up and address this problem," says John Wilson of the advocacy group.

In addition to leukemia and skin rashes, returning veterans have reported developing lymphoma, congestive heart problems, neurological conditions, bronchitis and sleep disorders.

All are being attributed to the burning of medical waste, plastics, computer parts, oil, lubricants, paint, tires and foam cups in pits on military bases.

Wilson said the burn pits could become the Agent Orange of the current war zone.

Agent Orange was an herbicide and defoliant used in the Vietnam War that caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries.

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