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Hexavalent Chromium Exposure Suit Filed Against KBR by Oregon National Guards in Iraq

Oregon National Guard soldiers deployed to Iraq were exposed to Hexavalent Chromium Exposure

The Oregon National Guard soldiers deployed to Iraq, and members of the Guard were assigned to duty at the Qarmat Ali facility. Each plaintiff was on site at the Qarmat Ali facility in 2003 and each was exposed to sodium dichromate.

The Qarmat Ali plant was contaminated with sodium dichromate, a toxic chemical used at the site as an anti-corrosive. Sodium dichromate is almost pure hexavalent chromium, a highly toxic  and long-identified carcinogen.

KBR managers knew about both the site contamination and the extreme danger of hexavalent chromium.

Oregon National Guard soldiers providing security for the actual work at Qarmat Ali, along with the British troops and the American civilians actually carrying on the work at Qarmat Ali, were exposed to hexavalent chromium for months, without warning or protection.

When the Oregon National Guard soldiers and American civilians actually working at Qarmat Ali began experiencing the most characteristic symptom of acute hexavalent chromium poisoning, nasal excoriation (bleeding from the nose) known to toxicologists as “chrome nose,” KBR managers told soldiers on site that it was simply an effect of the “dry desert air” and they must be “allergic to sand.”

The Oregon National Guard soldiers were repeatedly told that there was no danger on site, even after KBR managers knew that blood testing of American civilians exposed onsite confirmed elevated chromium levels.  What was not revealed until Congressional Hearings in June 2008 was the extent of knowledge of KBR managers about the danger on-site and the ongoing concealment of the exposures to the Oregon National Guard soldiers and others.

KBR is apparently still withholding from the United States Army the full extent of KBR managers’ knowledge of the dangers to the soldiers and others onsite, dangers directly impacting the current and future health evaluations of the soldiers exposed at Qarmat Ali.

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