News on KBR Chemical Exposure Litigation

This site is not affiliated with nor sponsored by KBR or its affiliated companies

Home» News Coverage » Charleston Gazette » Rockefeller urges care for W.Va. soldiers exposed to chemical in Iraq
|

Rockefeller urges care for W.Va. soldiers exposed to chemical in Iraq

Original Article at:

By: Paul J. Nyden

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — On Monday, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller asked the U.S. Department of Defense to make sure 122 members of the West Virginia National Guard — as well as Guard members from other states including Oregon and Indiana — receive health care after being exposed to sodium dichromate, a cancer-causing chemical, while on duty at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in southeastern Iraq.

West Virginia National Guard members serving in Iraq back in 2003, Rockefeller said, were not notified of their exposure to sodium dichromate until early 2009.

Last month, the DOD’s Inspector General released a highly critical report, entitled, “Exposure to Sodium Dichromate of Qarmat Ali Iraq in 2003.”

The report criticizes failures by the DOD and by Kellogg Brown and Root, a major contractor hired by the U.S. military to work in Iraq and other countries.

About 1,000 U.S. Army soldiers and civilian employees were exposed to the chemical at the Qarmat Ali plant.

“DOD military, civilian and contractor personnel did not effectively address environmental hazards found prior to beginning work to restore to service the water treatment plant at Qarmat Ali, Iraq, in 2003,” the IG report states.

“The delay occurred because KBR did not fully comply with occupational safety and health standards required by the contract, and Task Force Restore Iraqi Oil [TFRIO] failed to enforce contractor compliance.”

The DOD ‘s response to initial reports in 2003 about the cancer-causing chemical “lacked urgency and was incomplete.”

The IG report adds that “DOD military, civilian and contractor personnel did not effectively address environmental hazards found prior to beginning work to restore to service the water treatment plant at Qarmat Ali.

“As a result, the government was made vulnerable to potential health care liabilities for individuals exposed to contamination.”

Seven senators — including Rockefeller and the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va. — requested the Inspector General to investigate what happened at the water treatment plant in an Aug. 11, 2009 letter they sent to Inspector General Gordon S. Heddell.

The Qarmat Ali water treatment plant was built in the 1970s by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the IG’s report notes.

Water processed in the plant was routinely distributed to 11 “cluster pumping stations” and also pumped underground to create pressure to drive oil reserves to the surface in Iraq.

Sodium dichromate was used to inhibit corrosion and extend the lives of those pipes, pumps and other water-distribution equipment.

Rockefeller said the new report “proves that the DOD’s and KBR’s actions prior to and after finding out about the presence of sodium dichromate were absolutely unacceptable — they can and must do better.

“This tragedy is yet another example of why we need to pass my bill to give the National Guard a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Rockefeller said.

Dick Cheney, who was vice president under George W. Bush between 2001 and 2009, was president of Halliburton between 1995 and 2000. KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, has received tens of millions of dollars in federal government contracts over many years, including years when Cheney was vice president.

“For those West Virginians who were affected by these chemicals, my office will work with anyone who was affected to get the treatment they need,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. “For those West Virginians who were affected by these chemicals, my office will work with anyone who was affected to get the treatment they need.”

Rockefeller urged National Guard members who may have been exposed to the cancerous chemical to add their names to the Veterans Administration’s registry. The VA will then contact them about any new developments. The VA may be reached, toll free, at 800-749-8387 .

Short URL: http://kbrlitigation.com/?p=2399

Posted by on Oct 30 2011. Filed under Charleston Gazette. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Recently Commented

  • Reggie Faas: Rattling nice style and design and fantastic content material , nothing else we require : D.
  • Michael Hobson: As usual, corporations have worked with our supposed elected representatives/leaders (Dick Chaney,...
  • Burn Pit Voices: We are kindly asking you to be the voice for troops; we need your support to have our voice’s be...
  • David lyle: I was there from April 2003 to aug 2003. What are the symptoms now in 2012? Am I going to die? What...
  • Larry Roberta: http://media.oregonlive.com/he alth_impact/other/Qarmat%20Ali %20FINAL%20Report%20Sept%2028. pdf Here...