“I have worked with a number of my constituents who were exposed to burn pits while serving in the military,” Rep. Akin, a Republican from Missouri, said in a statement. “The health consequences have been severe.”
Indeed, the Sergeant, who has since been diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder and chronic respiratory infections, isn’t alone: Thousands of recently returned troops are coming down with myriad ailments, including respiratory problems, cancer and neurological defects, that many suspect were caused by the pits.
Akin’s announcement comes only three days after the publication of a new federal report, issued by a committee at the Institute of Medicine, that should have shed some light on whether the substances in the burn pits were responsible for a host of health ailments, including respiratory problems, neurological conditions and even increased rates of cancer, that are afflicting recent veterans.
Instead, researchers came up empty-handed: They detected 53 toxins in the air around Joint Base Balad, home to the military’s largest pit, but couldn’t determine which came from the burn pits and which were from other sources, including toxic dust storms and local industry emissions — largely because, they noted, the military had compiled so little documentation on the burn pits, such as what was burned and when, that it was impossible to generate any meaningful conclusions.
Jesus. I hope these people can get treatment for their injuries. But if they can’t, at least millionaires get to keep their tip money…