Burn pits used to destroy everything from diesel engines to human waste on military bases may cause lung problems in servicemembers, but it's too early to tell for sure - according to a new study. The pits are used in Afghanistan and Iraq by the military and military contractors to get rid of waste that can't be destroyed any other way.
Researchers at the federal Institute of Medicine say there needs to be a long-term study on the effects of exposure to the kind of pollutants released at burn pit sites, according to USA Today. Some of the report's findings show troops deployed in areas of Iraq several years ago were breathing in very dirty air:
"Using air samples the military took at Joint Base Balad in Iraq — two in 2007 and one in 2009 — the researchers found particulate matter levels higher than the most congested cities in the world, including Beijing."
ABC News reports the Department of Defense has ordered all burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan be shut down. Meanwhile Ret. Spc. Edward Adams is suing KBR and Halliburton for health effects he says he suffered from burn pits operated by the defense contractors in Iraq. For more on that story, watch the ABC News report posted below: