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Burn Pits A Danger To Troops’ Health, Says Leaked Memo

Burn pit
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Above: Burn pit

Burn pits used by the U.S. military at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan to dispose of trash could harm troops' long-term health, according to a leaked Army memo obtained by Wired.com's Danger Room blog.

The memo's information is based on an eight-year study conducted at Bagram Airfield (BAF) about the possible health hazards of breathing in toxic fumes from burn pit smoke. According to the memo:

"The long term health risk associated with air conditions on BAF ... indicates there is a potential that long-term exposure at these levels may increase the risk for developing chronic health conditions such as reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, atherosclerosis, or other cardiopulmonary diseases."

A non-profit group called Burnpits 360 has been pushing for a national registry of service members and veterans who believe their health has been damaged by exposure to toxic burn pit fumes. In November, GOP Rep. Todd Akin and Democratic Sen. Tom Udall introduced a bill that would create such a registry.

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