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Posts Tagged ‘Sodium Dichromate’

Burn Pits Claims

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 4, 2012

Breathing dust, fumes and other and other toxic substances, exposed troops deployed overseas, and those who worked for government contractors abroad and other civilians, to a serious hazards. Some of the chemicals were very toxic carcinogens and are deadly.

At US Senate hearings it was revealed that the toxic carcinogen, Sodium Dichromate (CAS 10588-01-9), was spread across a ruined water-injection facility in Qarmat Ali, Iraq, when the soldiers were there in the spring and summer of 2003. Thousands of individuals may have been exposed.

A simple evaluation may assist in assessing your exposure and disease which includes: a history which characterized the exposure and preexisting medical conditions of each individual exposed; a physical exam that identified any findings potentially related to a chromium exposure, and medical tests including blood, urine, chest X-ray, and a breathing test (called a pulmonary function test).

An exposure to this chemical may produce:

  • Chronic health effects
  • Lung and throat cancer
  • Blisters and deep ulcers
  • Damage to the septum
  • Skin allergy
  • Asthma-like allergy
  • Kidney damage.

As a supporter for the improved health and welfare of individuals against hazardous occupational and environmental exposures, Jon L. Gelman advocates for changes in safety standards and safer use of chemicals. If you have been exposed to burn pit dust, smoke or fumes or Sodium Dichromate, contact Jon Gelman via e-mail or call +1 973-696-7900.

Please see the list of known Burn Pit locations here

Posted in Burn Pits, Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Attorneys, Defense Base Act Insurance, Defense Base Act Lawyers, Department of Labor, Iraq, KBR, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

$85 million awarded to 12 Oregon soldiers; KBR guilty of negligence, not fraud

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 2, 2012

Oregon Live  November 2, 1012

A Portland jury found defense contractor KBR Inc. was negligent, but did not commit fraud against a dozen Oregon Army National Guard soldiers who sued the company for its conduct in Iraq nine years ago. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak announced the decision about 3:35 p.m. the U.S. Courthouse in Portland. Each soldier was awarded $850,000 in non-economic damages and $6.25 million in punitive damages.

“It’s a little bit of justice,” said Guard veteran Jason Arnold, moments after the verdict was announced Friday afternoon. Arnold was one of four of the soldier-plaintiffs in the courtroom was the verdict was read.

The verdict should send an important message to those who rely on military troops, he said.

“We’re not disposable,” said another soldier, Aaron St. Clair. “People are not going to make money from our blood.”

KBR’s lead attorney, Geoffrey Harrison, said the company will appeal.

“We will appeal the jury’s incorrect verdict,” he said. “We believe the trial court should have dismissed the case before the trial.”

Harrison said the soldiers’ lawyers produced a medical expert, Dr. Arch Carson, who offered “unsupported, untested medical opinions” that each soldier had suffered invisible, cellular-level injuries as a result of their exposure to hexavalent chromium.

The verdict means the jury did not hear clear and convincing evidence that KBR intended to deceive the soldiers in the way it operated at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant, near Basra, Iraq. But they did find that the company failed to meet its obligations in managing the work at the plant.

Friday’s verdict closes the first phase of a web of litigation between National Guard and British troops against KBR Inc., the defense contractor they accuse of knowingly exposing them in 2003 to a carcinogen at Qarmat Ali. KBR has denied the accusations.

In Oregon another set of Oregon soldiers are waiting in the wings for their day in court. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak and the attorneys agreed earlier to hold an initial trial with the first 12 soldiers, in order to keep the proceedings from becoming too unwieldy. A second trial, featuring all or some of the remaining 21 plaintiffs, could begin in federal court in Portland this winter.

Another lawsuit brought by Indiana soldiers against KBR is on hold in federal court in Texas, while an appeals court considers a jurisdictional issue.

The cases stem from the chaotic aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The Army Corps of Engineers hired KBR Inc. to run a massive program called Restore Iraqi Oil. The program involved dozens of sites throughout Iraq — sites that neither the Army nor KBR had visited before the invasion. The project was intended to quickly restore the flow of Iraq’s oil, partly to fund the war. The Pentagon remembered the way Saddam Hussein had lit the fields on fire during the first Gulf War, and feared a repeat in 2003.

Qarmat Ali was a compound where water was pumped underground to drive oil to the surface elsewhere. For decades, Iraqis had treated the water with sodium dichromate, an anticorrosion agent that contains hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen. (Sodium dichromate is banned in the United States.)

Iraq’s Southern Oil Co. took delivery of sodium dichromate, an orange-yellow crystalline powder, in bags that were stored on site. Soldiers and others testified that the material was loose and drifting around the site, and had contaminated areas even outside the chemical injection building where it was added to the water.

How contaminated was it? Accounts differ. Even one of the plaintiffs in this case said he didn’t notice any soil discoloration. One of the British soldiers whose testimony was prerecorded said it was everywhere. Another Oregon soldier said it settled heavily on the clothing of the soldiers, who unwittingly carried it back to their camps over the border in Kuwait.

Much of KBR’s defense in the first Oregon trial focused on just how unlikely it was that any soldier — who visited the plant at durations from one day to 21 days — could have been exposed to dangerously high levels of sodium dichromate. But one of the most gripping portions of the testimony was when Oregon veteran Larry Roberta described eating a chicken patty that had been coated with the orange crystals, which he said immediately burned in his esophagus, causing him to vomit.

Roberta now is confined to a wheelchair and takes oxygen from a tank in his backpack. He had a history of gastrointestinal issues, but attributes much of his poor health to his time at Qarmat Ali.

Harrison, KBR’s lawyer, said the company “believes in the judicial process and respects the efforts and time of the jurors,” but believes the process that brought the case to conclusion Friday shouldn’t have been allowed to come so far.

“KBR did safe and exceptional work in Iraq under difficult circumstances,” he said in a brief, prepared statement. “We believe the facts and law ultimately will provide vindication.”

Soldier-plaintiff Arnold said the message of the verdict is unmistakable. He said service members are being exploited “to this day.”

Now, he said, “the voice will be out. There will be a lot more scrutiny.”

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, AWOL Medical Records, Cancer, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, Iraq, KBR, Toxic Exposures, War Hazards Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Defense Department Inspector General says KBR and the military failed to respond quickly to health risks posed to Oregon soldiers

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 28, 2011

The Oregonian   September 28, 2011

The Defense Department and contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root failed to act as quickly as they should have to protect those exposed to a carcinogenic chemical at an Iraqi water treatment plant in 2003, according to a report Wednesday by the Defense Department’s Inspector General.

The report was hailed as a victory for Oregon soldiers by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who was one of a group of senators who sought the IG’s evaluation, and by Oregon National Guard troops who are among those suing KBR. They accuse the contractor of knowingly exposing them to sodium dichromate, an anticorrosive compound that can cause skin and breathing problems and cancer.

Because KBR “did not fully comply with occupational safety and health standards required” under its contract with the Army, the Inspector General found, “a greater number of Service members and DoD civilian employees were exposed to sodium dichromate, and for longer periods, increasing the potential for chronic health effects.”

The report found that “nearly 1,000 Army soldiers and civilian employees were exposed to the compound in the five months it took from the initial site visit until the military command required personal protective equipment.

Please read more here

Posted in Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Iraq, KBR, Political Watch, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Iraq veteran is cancer ‘timebomb’

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 21, 2011

Published on Thursday 21 July 2011 10:30 at Chad UK

AN Iraq War veteran from Skegby has spoken of his fear he may develop cancer as a result of the deadly chemicals he was exposed to while serving in Basra.

Cpl Jon Caunt (35) undertook five tours of Iraq between 2003 and 2007 when he and other members of the RAF Regiment were exposed to a distinctive orange powder at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant.

British troops, who were working alongside US forces and staff from private contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), did not know the orange powder was in fact Sodium Dichromate, which contains a cancer-causing compound.

It is banned in many countries and had been used to stop pipes rusting.

The soldiers were responsible for restoring the plant so Iraqi people could resume oil production in a bid to rebuild their economy after the war – but they had no protection from the chemical and would often sleep on the ground surrounded by it.

Cpl Caunt said: “You have got to understand that we were breathing it in, we were firing in it and it was blown up by the wind – this stuff was everywhere.”

It was only when he was later contacted by Sgt Andy Tosh and underwent a medical examination in April this year that he became aware of the serious threat the exposure had to his health.

He said: “Until I went for the medical, I did not realise how serious it was. When I got the results back, I did not want to look at them.”

Cpl Caunt’s medical revealed he already had the symptoms of several diseases, including respiratory, stomach and skin diseases.

“I have had skin complaints for a while, but I just dismissed it and never really thought anything of it until this came up,” he said.

“I am still fit because I am still serving but I lose my breath a lot more than I used to. There are quite a few of the RAF Regiment lads who are ill and it’s down to the exposure.”

Cpl Caunt fears he could be a ‘cancer time bomb’.

“It could be next year or it could be in 10 years – let’s hope it never happens,” he said. “But it’s a worry I have got to live with I’m afraid

Please read the entire article at Chad UK

Posted in Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Iraq, KBR, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

UK troops join former US personnel in ‘toxic’ lawsuit

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 10, 2010

Hot off the UK Press from Brit Guy

By Rajini Vaidyanathan  Reporter, BBC Radio 4’s PM

Seven former British soldiers are suing an American defence firm, accusing it of exposing them to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals in Iraq.

The men were providing security at a water plant near Basra where sodium dichromate was discovered.

They claim that its operator, Kellog Brown and Root (KBR), failed to protect them from the substance.

The men join 98 US soldiers suing KBR. It denies the allegations, saying necessary precautions were taken.

“If I’d have known what I now know, I would not have gone on that site and I would not have made my men operate on that site,” says Andy Tosh.

The former regiment sergeant served in several combat zones but it is his time in Iraq in 2003 which has left him worried for his future.

“I’m used to risking my life or defending the right cause if you want to call it that. But again that’s against things you would expect.

“You join the military to do a job, not to get exposed to a toxic chemical through a contractor,” he adds.

The lawsuit he and his former colleagues have joined relates to the time they spent providing security at the Qarmat Ali water plant, which was pumping water to nearby oil wells.

‘Rashes and nosebleeds’

The plant was run by the defence contractor KBR, a company which until 2007 was part of the Halliburton oil corporation.

When the men began working on the site in May 2003 they noticed a reddish orange powder, some of it in bags, some of it in the drains and in the sand.

Initially they thought little of it, but Sgt Tosh says he became concerned when he and some of his team developed rashes, nosebleeds, and breathing problems after coming into contact with the substance.

“In August I had a severe rash on my forearms and hands. I’ve operated all over the world, from South America to the Arctic, I’ve never had any rash like that before,” he says.

“I was that concerned that I did go and see the station medical officer in Basra.”

A few months after the men arrived, notices started to appear around the plant, explaining that the coloured powder was in fact a highly toxic substance – sodium dichromate, the same chemical which was brought to attention in the film Erin Brockovich.

“At the time the warning signs went out around a pump room where this sodium dichromate had been stored in bags previously, and then they said that the orange powder…was actually sodium dichromate.

“Later on, they moved us from where we were operating, but not very far, only 100 metres away from the site.

“Once the warning signs went up, we never saw any US national guards again, we were told that there was nothing to worry about, it’s all fine.”

Sgt Tosh says he believes the US guards left in fear for their safety.

During the time he remained on the site he says he saw KBR workers there, many of them wearing protective clothing.

Chemical exposure?

Sodium dichromate is a highly carcinogenic substance, used as an anti-corrosive.

Medical experts say it can cause nosebleeds, damage to the septum, breathing problems and even in some cases lung cancer.

In the 36-page lawsuit, the soliders claim that KBR “disregarded and downplayed” the dangers of being exposed to the chemical.

In response, KBR says the sodium dichromate was left at Qarmat Ali by Iraqi workers under Saddam Hussein’s regime and that it took action to make the site safe.

It adds that it notified the US Army Corps of Engineers of the presence of the substance and its dangers.

A statement from KBR goes on to say: “Air sample tests performed by the US Army Center for Health Promotion Preventative Medicine and the British Military and KBR showed no dangerous levels of airborne chromium hexalvelant.”

The defence contractor further contends that no medical data support the claims that soldiers and KBR workers suffered from nosebleeds and respiratory problems caused by sodium dichromate.

This is something almost 100 soliders in the United States dispute.

Ninety-eight former members of the US military are already suing KBR, claiming they have contracted serious illnesses from their time at the plant.

“I have a laundry list of health problems,” explains Larry Roberta, who served with the Oregon National guard.

“I only have 60% lung capacity, I have very low testosterone, I have two types of inhalers, I can’t walk a block with passing over.

“To me there’s no doubt the cause is sodium dichromate. That was the turning point exactly, that was when my health went like a car over a cliff.”

Roberta says the orange dust was everywhere at the plant, and he even ended up eating it when it landed on his food.

“It’s just a real horrible, disgusting taste. It’s a real heavy metal taste. It’s like if you were to run outside and lick the lampost.”

Side-effects

The issue of chemical exposure at the Qarmat Ali water plant has been the subject of a number of hearings in the US Senate.

Dr Herman Gibb, an expert on sodium dichromate who gave evidence to those hearings, says it can take years for the side-effects of the chemical to manifest.

And that is the concern among the British troops who have filed the lawsuit.

“We just want our day in court,” explains John Gledhill, from Retford in Nottinghamshire.

“I want to know we can get some medical screening because there have been numerous national guardsmen over in America who were at the water treatment plant at the same time as us who’ve got symptoms.

“I’ve got no symptoms at the minute, but it’s a carcinogenic compound so we don’t know what the future holds.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence says it takes “very seriously” any suggestion that troops may have been exposed to levels of sodium dichromate in Iraq in 2003.

But it goes on: “This was examined at the time and there was no cause for alarm…the results of sampling showed that levels of sodium dichromate were significantly below UK government and US Army guidance levels and should not have had any effect on the patrolling guard force.

“Should any new evidence come to light, we will obviously consider it.”

The ex-servicemen on the lawsuit are also calling for an enquiry into the matter at Westminster.

“It’s a bit of a silent risk,” says Jim Garth. “It’s something we knew nothing about.”

“Granted it wasn’t a British installation, but we were tasked with guarding this installation by our superiors – and it looks like this could be a killer as well as the other things in a war zone that can kill you.” Original here

Posted in Burn Pits, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Law and Procedure, Department of Labor, KBR, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

US Senator Byron Dorgan Receives Response from DoD IG

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 8, 2009

Thank you Senator Dorgan for your efforts to expose these issues.
Many Civilian Contractors working in the war zones are suffering from the same toxic exposures as the soldiers.

INSPECTOR GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE ARMY’S RESPONSE TO EXPOSURE

OF U.S. TROOPS TO DEADLY CHEMICAL IN IRAQ

By

U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan

Chairman, Senate Democratic Policy Committee

There’s an important development regarding the exposure of hundreds of U.S. troops to the deadly chemical compound sodium dichromate in Iraq . The Department of Defense’s Inspector General, has agreed to investigate the Army’s response to that exposure.. I requested such an investigation, in a letter in August, along with six other Senators.

The reply we have now received is heartening. What happened to U.S. troops – mostly National Guard men and women from Indiana , Oregon and West Virginia – should never have happened and must not be allowed to happen again. They were exposed because of shoddy work by one of the largest military contractors, KBR, but the Army’s deeply flawed response is just as troubling.

The exposure of troops to this deadly chemical compound was first revealed at a June 20, 2008, hearing by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), which I chair. We found ample evidence that KBR dropped the ball multiple times with regard to the contract it held for assessing the site, cleaning it up, and getting it running again. It failed to inform the Army of the contamination until months after it knew there was a problem and after hundreds of U.S. soldiers had been exposed. It failed to clean up the site properly. KBR failed to warn even its own workers of the danger.

But the evidence suggests the Army’s response was also highly inadequate and compounded the problem.

We found that when the Army finally got around to informing the soldiers, they consistently down played the seriousness of the exposure. When it finally got around to testing soldiers to determine the amount of exposure they had experienced, too much time had passed. The test results were useless.

We found troops back home in the U.S. coping with illnesses consistent with exposure to sodium dichromate with no idea why they were sick. They did not know they had been exposed to sodium dichromate or that that exposure was life-threatening.

When I called the head of the Indiana National Guard after our 2008 hearing to tell him what we’d learned heard about the exposure of his troops in Iraq to the deadly chemical, he said it was the first he’d heard of it. No one at the Army thought to tell the Commander of the Indiana National Guard that his troops, while serving our country in Iraq , had been exposed to one of the most potent carcinogens in the world.

I asked the Army to review its response to the exposure.

The Army appointed a task force, which reported back, months later, that the Army had not only acted appropriately, but that its response had been exemplary!

Hardly.

We scheduled a second hearing to examine the Army’s response ourselves. That hearing was held on August 3, 2009. We heard very little that was reassuring.

Following the hearing, Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Robert Byrd (D-WVA), John Rockefeller (D-WVA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) joined me in formally requesting an investigation by the Defense Department’s Inspector General into the Army’s handling of all this.

We now have a written response from the Inspector General’s Office, agreeing to conduct an investigation and making clear it will get underway immediately.

Someone recently asked me what I hope will come out the investigation. The answer is simple – in a word, accountability. I want to know how all this happened, why it happened, and whose being held accountable for it. I want to know what is being done to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

I also want every soldier exposed at Qarmat Ali to be accurately informed, first, that he or she was exposed, and second, that the exposure presents serious health risks. I want every exposed soldier to have access to on-going health monitoring and, if they should get sick, treatment, through the Veterans Affairs network of hospitals. I want this exposure made part of the service file of every soldier who was at Qarmat Ali during this time, so doctors can proactively look for sodium dichromate exposure related symptoms. Time is of the essence in treating illnesses that result from sodium dichromate exposure. Doctors need to know immediately, and up front, that the soldier was exposed.

I also want there to be no question about whether illnesses that result from this exposure are service connected. They can take years, even decades, to show up. If every exposed soldier’s service record includes information about what happened at Qarmat Ali, there will be no question about whether a resulting illness – no matter when it appears – is service connected, and therefore, eligible for treatment at a VA medical facility. If an illness develops, time is of the essence in treating it. I don’t want anyone to have to waste time fighting to establish that the illness is service connected.

War is risky business. Soldiers know that when they sign up. But there is no excuse for any of that risk to come from sloppy work by a U.S. military contractor. Nor is it acceptable for that risk to be increased because the Army dropped the ball in dealing with the aftermath of that contractor’s failure.

I look forward to the Inspector General’s report.

View Video Of Senator Dorgans response here

Posted in KBR | 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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