Letter to EPA and President on Open Burning and Detonation of Hazardous Waste

Photography by Chris Rhoads

Published Nov. 3, 2022

Letter to EPA and President on Open Burning and Detonation of Hazardous Waste

Communities in Florida and across the United States are dealing with open burning and detonation of hazardous waste explosives resulting in the uncontrolled release of toxic heavy metals, PFAS, perchlorate, nitrogen oxides, dioxins, and other carcinogens to the environment. This not only places workers risk at risk but the surrounding communities. 

Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) states, "The Department of Defense currently operates 38 toxic burn sites in the U.S. – almost all in low-income, rural communities. The military collects excess, obsolete, or unserviceable munitions at these sites, including bullets, missiles, mines, and the bulk explosive and flammable materials used to manufacture them. It destroys them by adding diesel, lighting them on fire, or blowing them up. Last fiscal year, the Department of Defense destroyed 32.7 million pounds of explosive hazardous waste on U.S. soil using these methods, known as open burning and open detonation."

Dear Mr. President, U.S., and Regional EPA Administrators,

I am writing you as an impacted community member exposed to harmful contamination of toxic chemicals on Florida's space coast, where we have an open burn and open detonation unit (OBOD) in Cape Canaveral. I urge you to protect human health and the environment by calling for the immediate implementation of safer alternatives to open-air burning, open detonation, and incineration/combustion of military munitions.

I urge you to require safer alternatives that encourage waste prevention and recycling, prevent the release of toxic emissions and pollutants, and advance the principles of environmental justice by assuring that all people enjoy the same degree of protection and access to the decision-making process.


Stel Bailey 

Executive Director, Fight for Zero

You can help by writing a petition to the President and EPA administrators: https://cswab.org/cease-fire-campaign/cease-fire-petition/

Stel Bailey

Stel Bailey, a cancer cluster survivor and environmental health advocate, is a researcher and journalist with more than two decades of multimedia experience, having been published globally.

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