Common Illnesses Associated with Burn Pits

In the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, burn pits were used to dispose of solid and human waste. They were often located near the living quarters of military personnel, exposing them to airborne health hazards. Although service members have complained about the health problems they’ve experienced likely due burn pit exposure, in the past it was difficult to officially link respiratory disorders to burn pits. However, there is now mounting evidence to support the fact that burn pits have caused various lung conditions for service members post-deployment.


Here is a list of common illnesses linked to exposure to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq:

1. Cancer

Brain cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, head or neck cancer, kidney cancer, lymphatic cancer, lymphoma, melanoma, pancreatic cancer, reproductive cancers, respiratory cancers

2. Chronic Bronchitis

Long-term irritation of the breathing tubes

3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

A lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs, which may include emphysema and chronic bronchitis

4. Constrictive Bronchiolitis

Obstructions to the airways in the lungs or damaged or destroyed airways

5. Emphysema

A lung condition in which the air sacs in the lungs are damaged, resulting in shortness of breath

6. Granulomatous Disease

A condition in which a certain type of white blood cells that helps fight bacterial and fungal infections doesn’t work properly

7. Interstitial Lung Disease

A group of lung diseases caused by progressive scarring of lung tissue

8. Lymphoma

Cancers that start in the tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells (the lymphatic system)

9. Pleuritis

Inflammation of the lining of the lungs

10. Pulmonary Fibrosis

A lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred

11. Sarcoidosis

A disease in which small patches of swollen tissue develop in the lungs (or other organs)


If you are suffering from any of the ailments listed above and you were exposed to burn pits in Afghanistan or Iraq, there may be a direct correlation between your service and the health issues you’re suffering from. Veterans who have been exposed to burn pits and have developed problems with breathing can benefit from talking to an expert at the Veteran Health Services Group. We believe our veterans deserve the best possible care and we seek to help you find the necessary resources to manage the health issues you face. Contact us today at 833-218-2792 to learn more about exposure to burn pits and what you can do to get treated and live a higher quality life.



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