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Bombs in Our Backyard

Investigating One of America’s Greatest Polluters

The Pentagon has poisoned millions of acres and left Americans to guess at the threat to their health. Its oversight of thousands of toxic sites has been marked by defiance and delay.

Featured

How Military Outsourcing Turned Toxic

Fraud. Bribery. Incompetence. The military’s use of contractors adds to a legacy of environmental damage.

Open Burns, Ill Winds

The Pentagon’s handling of munitions and their waste has poisoned millions of acres, and left Americans to guess at the threat to their health.

Other Entries

Reporting Recipe: Bombs in Your Backyard

We published data on 40,000 hazardous sites across the country polluted by U.S. military operations. Here’s how journalists can use the data to find local stories.

Bombs in Your Backyard

The military spends more than a billion dollars a year to clean up sites its operations have contaminated with toxic waste and explosives. A full map of these sites — which exist in every state in the country, some near schools and residential neighborhoods — has never been made public; until now.

Dangerous Pollutants in Military’s Open Burns Greater Than Thought, Tests Indicate

The first results in a national effort to better measure the levels of contaminants released through the burning of munitions and their waste show elevated levels of lead, arsenic and other toxins.

Kaboom Town

The U.S. military burns millions of pounds of munitions in a tiny, African-American corner of Louisiana. The town’s residents say they’re forgotten in the plume.

In Colfax, Echoes of Another Conflict

A photographer who covered the war in Iraq appreciates how threats can come to seem routine.

One Year, One Facility, 1.7 Million Pounds of Hazardous Waste Burned in Open Air

Explore every shipment of hazardous waste sent to Colfax in 2015 and was burned or detonated into open air.

Toxic Fires

Across the Country, Military Sites Burn Hazardous Waste Into Open Air

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