Soon after Erin Card moved to within two miles of the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia two years ago, she began to notice threads of smoke that occasionally rose above the heavily wooded site. She started asking about the source, and eventually was stunned by what she learned: Toxic explosives were being burned in the open air.

“It just seems crazy to me,” said Card, 36, who lives with her husband and their three young boys.

The open burning and open detonation of hazardous waste explosives is banned in many countries, including Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. Likewise, in this country, private industry long ago was forced to abandon the primitive disposal practice. Read more.