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In an interview with Ted Baker, Host of the Finger Lakes Morning News, Donald Hassig shares his experiences with US military burn pit waste disposal in Iraq and Afghanistan. After being contacted about waste fire smoke exposures by naval veteran Anthony Thornton, Mr. Hassig wrote to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to advocate for the elimination of this heavily polluting activity. Major General Lee Levy II, United States Air Force, responded to the letter to Secretary Hagel, stating that open waste burning was a tactical necessity. There were over 250 military trash burning operations in Afghanistan in 2010. By the end of 2013, there will be only two military sites where open burning takes place.
Since leaving the military,Anthony Thornton has been operated on twice for removal of brain tumors. Mr. Thornton was stationed at Camp Bucca in Iraq. He was exposed to heavy clouds of waste fire smoke every day during the course of nearly a year. Cancer Action NY has written to the Department of Veterans Affairs advocating for compensation for Mr. Thornton. Carcinogens emitted by open waste burning include: dioxins, PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium and mercury. The exposures that Mr. Thornton received while stationed at Camp Bucca certainly increased his risk of developing cancer.
Ted Baker, host Finger Lakes Morning News and News Director Finger Lakes Radio Group
This program consists of a recording of an interview with Cancer Action NY Director Donald L. Hassig, which was conducted by Ted Baker of the Finger Lakes Morning News.