This episode takes a deep dive into the horrifying realities of burn pits — giant holes that get filled with all kinds of trash, from plastic bags to entire trucks to human body parts and then gets lit on fire with jet fuel. The U.S. military routinely used burn pits to dispose of trash during our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among others. In the process, some 3.5 million soldiers were potentially exposed to the carcinogen-laden smoke released by these massive burning piles. Now many of those soldiers have developed rare respiratory problems and cancers as a result of their exposure to burn pits. There is ample science showing that the chemicals released by burn pits are linked to these diseases, but for a long time the Department of Veterans Affairs claimed there wasn’t yet enough science to prove the service connection. This allowed the VA to deny benefit claims for these vets and to deprive them of the care they desperately needed. To put it nicely, it was a total fucking mess.