While the focus of our practice is representing injured Illinois workers, we have created a network of experienced attorneys throughout both Illinois and the country. Our goal is to help any injured worker we can. One of the attorneys we work with helps contractors injured overseas.  Those workers fall under a work comp program called The Defense Base Act.  It typically applies to people working for military contractors in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.  We can help you no matter where you live.  Call us at 888-705-1766 for free.

United States contractors working overseas often face challenges and risks on the job that they wouldn’t see at home. Some of those challenges are minor, such as differences in food and customs. A language barrier or less desirable living conditions may be bigger challenges. And at the far end of the spectrum are significant risks to one’s health and well-being.  The obvious one is the thought of being shot or injured by an IED.  There are a ton of car accidents as the roads in some of these countries aren’t great.  A common one that might not be as obvious is exposure to burn pits.

What are burn pits?

A burn pit is an area of a deployed military base where waste is burned in the open air. The term “burn pit” became widely used in the 21st century, especially in U.S. military sites in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the practice was used well before that. Burn pit operations can be an effective way to reduce waste, but they increase the risk of fire and produce dangerous fumes. Smoke and toxic compounds are emitted from the burning of plastic, metal, chemicals, electronic waste, shipping materials, etc. in the pits. U.S. military and military contractors have developed myriad health problems as a result of exposure to these toxic compounds and carcinogens.

What are the symptoms and health issues caused by burn pit exposure?

Burn pit exposure affects people differently. Those suffering from pre-existing heart conditions or lung conditions such as asthma may be impacted more severely. Proximity to the burn pit and the duration of the exposure are also variables impacting how greatly an individual might be affected.

Individuals exposed to burn pits often experience initial, short-term issues such as eye irritation, coughing, difficulty breathing, and rashes. Most of those exposure symptoms are temporary and resolve themselves. Unfortunately, exposure to burn pits have also caused long-term, very serious health issues including, but not limited to:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Cancers (stomach, respiratory, skin, or brain cancers; President Biden believes his son Beau’s brain cancer was a result of his prolonged exposure to burn pits)
  • Leukemia
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Infertility and adverse birth outcomes
  • High blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions
  • Skin lesions and eczema

What should you do if you were exposed to burn pit smoke and are experiencing health issues?

First of all, see your doctor and share as much as you can about your exposure to burn pits. Where were you exposed to burn pits? When and for how long was that exposure? What health issues are you experiencing since that exposure? Secondly, feel free to give us a call to see if you might have a workers’ compensation case. Your medical care and expenses might be covered through workers’ compensation.

If you think you might have a case and want to discuss it for free with an experienced lawyer, call us at 888-705-1766 or fill out our contact form and we will call you.