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Because of potential health hazards, such as cancer, respiratory problems, skin lesions and infections, burning waste as a means of disposal has been curtailed in the United States.
On military bases (including Balad Air Force Base in Iraq and Bagram Airfield Base in Afghanistan) highly toxic chemicals, plastic bottles, paints, and unexploded ordnance, were routinely burned in open pits. As a result, many members of the military, who lived or worked on or near those and other bases are developing serious health problems because they were exposed to toxic smoke.
Although the Department of Defense claims there are no health problems related to the waste burning, a 2008 report by a non-profit research organization says the US Army is creating a toxic mess in Afghanistan and Iraq and has no effective policy to ensure that troops are protected from environmental problems. Meanwhile, the Veterans Affairs Department is gathering information from the soldiers to try to determine if their claims are valid.
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