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Posts Tagged ‘Senator Byron Dorgan’

Senator Byron Dorgan Says DOD Response Still Falls Short on Sodium Dichromate Exposure

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 22, 2010

DORGAN: DOD IG REPORT CONFIRMS PENTAGON DROPPED THE BALL ON CHEMICAL EXPOSURE OF U.S. TROOPS IN IRAQ   See the video here

Read the IG Report here

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                            FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Friday                                                                                                                                      CONTACT: Barry E. Piatt

October 22, 2010                                                                                                                PHONE:   202-224-0577

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said Friday a preliminary report of an investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General confirms that the Pentagon dropped the ball in responding to the exposure of hundreds of U.S. troops to a deadly chemical in Iraq. Those failures left some exposed soldiers unaware that they had been exposed to the deadly chemical and without follow up health monitoring and treatment. Monitoring tests performed on other soldiers who were informed of their exposure were so inadequate that the agency that performed them now admits they have a “low level of confidence” in those tests.

A second and more detailed Inspector General’s report, originally scheduled to be released this month, has now been moved back to the end of the year, a development Dorgan said he finds “disappointing.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee and Dorgan requested IG investigations after he chaired hearings by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), in June 2008 and August 2009. The hearings revealed that troops from Indiana, Oregon, South Carolina, and West Virginia were exposed to sodium dichromate, a known and highly potent carcinogen at the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility in Iraq. The DPC hearings revealed multiple failures by the contractor, KBR, and the Army’s failure to adequately monitor, test, and notify soldiers who may have been exposed of the health risks they may now face.

The IG is releasing two reports on its investigation, The first report was released in September. The second, expected to be a more detailed response to specific DPC concerns, was originally slated for release by late October. But the Department of Defense Inspector General now states a draft of that report won’t be available until the end of the year.

The first report provides no indication — seven years after the exposure – that the Army ever notified seven soldiers from the Army’s Third Infantry Division who secured the Qarmat Ali facility during hostilities that they had been exposed. It also confirms that the Army’s assessment of the health risks associated with exposure to sodium dichromate for soldiers at Qarmat Ali are not very reliable. In fact, the organization that performed these assessments, the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine (CHPPM), now says it has a “low level of confidence” in its test results for the overwhelming majority of those exposed.

Equally troubling, Dorgan said, is the report’s finding that the Department of Defense is refusing to provide information to Congress about the incident, because of a lawsuit to which it is not a party.

“I am very concerned about the findings we now have, and I am disappointed in the delayed release of Part II of this report. The IG’s investigation and its findings are very important to the lives of U.S. soldiers and workers who were at the site. Details and definitive findings will help us ensure accountability for this exposure and flawed follow up, but even more importantly, they will help ensure that all exposed soldiers receive appropriate notice and medical attention,” Dorgan said.

Posted in Cancer, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Iraq, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

DOD INSPECTOR GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE ARMY’S RESPONSE TO EXPOSURE OF U.S. TROOPS TO DEADLY CHEMICAL IN IRAQ

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 7, 2009

Dorgan jpeg
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Wednesday                            DORGAN: Barry Piatt – 202-224-0577
September 30, 2009

DOD INSPECTOR GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE ARMY’S RESPONSE TO EXPOSURE OF U.S. TROOPS TO DEADLY CHEMICAL IN IRAQ
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The Defense Department’s Inspector General (IG) will investigate the U.S. Army’s response to the 2003 exposure of hundreds of U.S. soldiers to the deadly chemical sodium dichromate in Iraq.

A major component of sodium dichromate is hexaalent chromium, one of the most carcinogenic substances on earth. The Senate Democratic Policy Committee has held two hearings on the exposure, revealing a number of failures by contractor KBR to warn troops, and even their own employees, of the exposure and to clean up the contamination. The hearings also exposed multiple failures by the Army to hold KBR accountable and to properly inform and test soldiers once the Army did learn of the contamination.

The Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General’s investigation of the Army’s actions was requested in August by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), who called and chaired the DPC hearings on the issue, and six other members of the U.S. Senate, including Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV), Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA), Evan Bayh (D- IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Charles Beardall, the Deputy Inspector General for Policy and Oversight, has informed the Senators by letter that the IG will initiate an investigation that will begin this month. The Senators asked the IG to investigate seven specific areas related to the exposure and the Army’s response to it.

Dorgan said the hearings revealed “repeated and almost unbelievable failures by both the contractor, KBR, and the Army to take needed steps to protect and even to inform soldiers and workers who were needlessly exposed to this deadly chemical. We want to know how it happened, why it happened, and who is being held accountable. An IG investigation is not only welcome, it is overdue.”

“Oregon National Guard members have suffered serious health problems as a result of the deliberate contamination of the facility by the Iraqi army,” Wyden said. “This investigation will determine whether the U.S. Army and KBR took appropriate precautions to safeguard the health of National Guard members and appropriate action after exposure. I thank the Inspector General for conducting this investigation and look forward to his report.”

Another concern of the Senators has been whether the Army is adequately informing the Department of Veterans Affairs about the exposure and its potentially deadly consequences. Having such information is vital to proper treatment and even the ability of former soldiers to be treated by the VA for a “service connected” sickness that could take years after the initial exposure to develop.

In his letter informing the Senators of the investigation, Beardall said the IG will coordinate his investigation with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Posted in KBR | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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