This Friday, the nation pauses to honor those who have served in our military. In a timely episode of “Informed Rant,” the podcast of Joshua Scheer, Scheer speaks with Joseph Hickman. Hickman, a former marine, is also the author of “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers.”

A “burn pit” refers to “a common way to get rid of waste at military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan” by igniting piles of (often hazardous) waste. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs writes that “[t]oxins in burn pit smoke may affect the skin, eyes, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, gastrointestinal tract and internal organs.”

Unlike other types of toxic warfare, “burn pits” are not started by the enemy, but by American military contractors. “People don’t realize how much trash war accumulates,” Hickman says. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is harmful.”

Listen to the full interview below:

—Posted by Emma Niles


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