What Are Burn Pits, and How Did They Harm U.S. Troops?

On bases established for America’s post-9/11 wars, the U.S. military’s trash was often burned in huge open-air lots on the perimeter of the overseas outposts.

Some of these blazes burned continuously for years as discarded computers, furniture and other refuse like medical waste were thrown in, releasing toxic smoke and particulate matter into the air that troops and civilians breathed into their lungs.

Over time, it became apparent that many former service members exposed to these toxins had become ill. On Wednesday, President Biden signed a law that expands medical benefits to them.

The legislation, known as the PACT Act, is intended to help veterans suffering from respiratory ailments, cancer and other diseases that were most likely caused by exposure to toxins released by trash…

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