Ban the practice of open burning and open detonation of hazardous wastes

What's At Stake

For decades, military bases and private facilities across the country have relied on a practice known as open burn / open detonation (OB/OD) to destroy excess, unserviceable, or obsolete military munitions, including small arms cartridges, rockets, mortars, and missiles, and other toxic wastes.

Open burn and open detonation harm the environment and human health as these practices result in the uncontrolled release of toxic constituents into the air, soil, and water.

OB/OD facilities collectively burn and detonate millions of pounds of munitions and other hazardous waste in the open air as part of their day-to-day operations, releasing significant amounts of harmful chemicals and heavy metals into surrounding communities and the environment. This includes facilities that have long and alarming histories of contaminating the soil, air, and water of nearby communities with toxic chemicals like lead and arsenic and violating environmental laws.

As a result, nearby residents face an elevated risk of health harms like asthma and cancer.

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency prohibited the use of OB/OD in 1980, the agency also created a giant loophole to allow facilities to continue using OB/OD for explosive wastes, claiming there were no alternatives at the time. And while EPA has since identified numerous alternatives for these hazardous wastes, it continues to allow the archaic and harmful practice of OB/OD to continue.

Now, EPA has released long-overdue proposed revisions to OB/OD regulations and is currently accepting comments on the proposed rule. It’s critical that we tell EPA to ban OB/OD now.

Tell EPA it’s time to protect frontline communities from toxic threats posed by OB/OD and demand that the agency finally put an end to this archaic practice.

A fireball rises above the 36th Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Tarague range seconds after the detonation of an M117 bomb, as a part of the flight's training, on Andersen Air Force Base (AFB), Guam.
A fireball rises above the 36th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Tarague range seconds after the detonation of an M117 bomb, as a part of the flight's training, on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. (A1C Joshua P. Strang / USAF)

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