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Scientist Who Exposed Health Impacts of Burn Pits in Iraq Awarded Rachel Carson Prize


Scientist Who Exposed Health Impacts of Burn Pits in Iraq Awarded Rachel Carson Prize

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Environmental toxicologist Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani will be awarded the 2015 Rachel Carson Prize for her work highlighting the impact of war on the environment and public health.

Savabieasfahani, who was born in Iran and is now based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, researches the link between the chemicals and metals left behind by the U.S. military after the 2003 Iraq invasion and the rise in birth defects in Iraqi cities. U.S. forces burned much of their military waste for years, exposing both soldiers and citizens.


The bill for the cleanup and the compensation to all victims should be taken from the traitorous contractors, they are the scum that deliberately poisoned both troops and civilians. Even a monkey would know better.



What are we looking for in these children
of war? What story will their blood
unfold, all the poisons in their hair and teeth,
the short lives in a world of grit and soot.

I walk my little girl
down to the water where the goats rot
orange and black and drift
into the reeds and oil stain. My child

knew nothing else, born after
the conflagration, conceived in the kiss
of uranium, embers that burn
clear down to the soul, they still sing

those children. They know nothing
else. We, the parents and other
survivors, wake again in a sweat of terror
for what was stolen from us

our brothers and mothers
taken in the dark, a taste of iron
on the tongue, a burst heart,
a plundered museum

of our lungs. There has been
no kindness in these reports, the popping
of distant guns, the piles of waste
burning, what’s left

of what was used to scorch and sunder
the very heart of the eyes of
where we all were born.
My children are born toxic:

too many fingers, an eye
where an eye does not belong.
How can we love them as we love them?
It is not a question with answers.

Everything is broken.


Yes!!! It is years ago that I read the first hint that the soldiers manning the burn pits were being harmed, and by extension, so were the residents of the near-by villages/towns. I was incensed and immediately began educating and advocating for my soldier clients who had been anywhere near a burn pit. I wrote letters to the base commander where I lived and to the pertinent congresspeople. I wanted my clients to receive the medical assessments and treatment they deserved and needed. Of course, I got responses that were LIES, just like with Agent Orange. I also asked for the kids and adults we harmed in the villages to receive reparation. I think not one of my soldiers was willing to advocate for her or himself. They were all afraid of retribution and were having a hard enough time as it was. Needless to say, no one in Iraq or Afghanistan got one single consideration. I am thrilled Ms Sava… got the word out and got her award. May her work bring treatment and some kind of reparation and support for all, ALL, who need it. It’s too much to hope for that such war and consequences end…especially with these Repub reprobates in the driver’s seat.


Unfortunately, if there ever were to be reparations they would no doubt fall upon the taxpayers…


Worked on a large trash-burning power plant that shut down by order just several years after start-up. Heavy metals concentrations went off the charts despite design attempts, and cancers rose. Municipal authority couldn’t reliably separate certain things from the waste stream. I can only imagine what was downwind of those burns in Iraq.

Back before George Bush took a dump on international treaty, the occupying force was imagined in the post-war world to be responsible and answerable for the security and safety of the population. We prohibit doing this this in our back yards, but we freely do it in theirs. After mutilation by bomb, missile, fire and firearm, who’s gonna notice a little ultra-toxic smoke?


BobVance, Your response is one powerful piece of writing. Heart-rending. Thank you.