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KBR hit by Iraq, Afghan waste disposal lawsuits

Dozens of US military personnel have filed 34 lawsuits against KBR accusing the defense contractor of incinerating and releasing into the atmosphere toxic waste in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"File photo shows a US marine cleaning his rifle inside a military compound in Fallujah. Dozens of US military personnel have filed 34 lawsuits against the contractor KBR accusing it of incinerating and releasing into the atmosphere toxic waste in Iraq and Afghanistan which allegedly harmed their health."

Susan Burke, one of the lawyers bringing the suits, said they have been filed over the past year, 18 of them in recent days.

"All the cases are being put together before a federal judge in Greenbelt, Maryland," she told AFP Tuesday.

Each of the lawsuits represent several soldiers but were filed on behalf of at least 100,000 others who are alleged to suffer from health problems resulting from exposure to emissions released by the incineration of waste at military bases.

Kellogg Brown and Root and its former parent company Halliburton, which at one time was led by former vice president Dick Cheney, had a government contract to destroy waste at US bases and camps in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One lawsuit filed in federal court in Nashville, Tennessee charged that they "ignored their contractual obligations and burned vast quantities of unsorted waste in enormous open air burn pits with no safety controls."

"Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan holds up a towel embroidered with the log of company KBR during a hearing on military expenditure in Washington, DC. Dozens of US military personnel have filed 34 lawsuits against the firm accusing the defense contractor of incinerating and releasing into the atmosphere toxic waste in Iraq and Afghanistan which allegedly harmed their health."

"This misconduct began in 2003 and continues unabated to date," it alleges.

"Every type of waste imaginable was and is burned on these pits, including trucks, tires, lithium battery, Styrofoam, paper, rubber, petroleum-oil-lubricant products, metals, hydraulic fluids, munitions boxes, medical waste, biohazard materials (including human corpses), medical supplies (including those used during smallpox inoculations), paints, solvents, asbestos insulation, items containing pesticides, polyvinyl chloride pipes, animal carcasses, dangerous chemicals and hundreds of thousands of plastic water bottles," the lawsuit claims.

In a statement posted on its website, KBR said the company posted lists compiled by the US Army of items that could not be disposed of in burn pits.

"If KBR observes a waste generator delivering a prohibited item, its practice is to refuse or remove such items," the company said.

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