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Why did this take 6 years?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Six years after nearly 1,200 U.S. soldiers in Iraq were potentially exposed to a sometimes deadly chemical linked to cancer, the military and Veterans Affairs Department have been tracking them down and asking them to get a medical exam.

The troops were protecting or in the area of workers hired by a subsidiary of the contractor, KBR Inc., based in Houston, to rebuild the Iraqi water treatment plant Qarmat Ali near Basra, Iraq. The chemical was sodium dichromate, and it had contaminated the area.

In June, The Associated Press chronicled the health problems of the soldiers who had served at the site. Sickness with symptoms ranging from chest pain to lung disease and even death among troops who served there have been blamed on exposure at the site.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 10:03 PM on Oct. 13, 2009 in Politics & Current Events

Answers (5)
  • KBR, which is facing at least five pending related lawsuits, denies wrongdoing. It says its conduct was governed by its contract with the U.S. military, which was to ensure work sites were free from environmental hazards. Once the contamination was found, it says it notified the Army and helped clean up the site.

    The military is also asking the soldiers potentially exposed to enroll in a registry that is tracking such health problems, according to a Sept. 19 letter sent by then-Army Secretary Pete Geren to Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., which spells out the efforts to reach the troops.


    Answer by Anonymous at 10:03 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Among those potentially exposed were about 600 members of the National Guard, primarily from West Virginia, Oregon, South Carolina and Indiana, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told Dorgan in a separate letter dated Oct. 8. Shinseki said veterans potentially exposed will receive an annual exam, including a chest radiograph every five years.

    The letters were released by Dorgan's office.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:03 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Why hasn't the government ever admitted that the defoliant agent orange which was used in Viet Nam causes cancer? The legal eagles make sure the government always denies the link. The law suits would have sent us into bankruptcy long ago. Same thing here.


    Answer by jesse123456 at 10:22 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Probably the same reason the gov't won't put a stop to the use of coal ash in our homes and anywhere else it can be used- money!!

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:08 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

  • Do military personnel still have to sign a waiver stating in effect that they nor their families will file any complaint or legal action relating to or associated with illness, disease or death associated with chemical exposure? My father had to sign such a form prior to going to VietNam--he died 18 years ago of widespread invasive cancer (lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys, bone, brain, bladder). Such widespread occurrence is directly related to exposure to agent orange (he fought in jungles that were sprayed and as a result, breathed it in). We have absolute no recourse. There are also studies linking the increased occurrence of autism in male children born to Vietnam vets and chemical exposure. My brother is autistic. There are many questions to be asked and many risks not worth taking with our military. To dedicate one's life to serving his/her country and to be poisoned without recourse is inexcusable. My $.02.


    Answer by PsWifey at 11:28 PM on Oct. 13, 2009

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