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Old 08-06-2009, 04:22 PM
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chemical exposure

***OPEN TO THE PUBLIC***
Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing
The Exposure at Qarmat Ali:
Did the Army Fail to Protect U.S. Soldiers Serving in Iraq?
Monday, August 3, 2009
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
628 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Find more information about the issue here.
In April 2003, the Army assigned members of the IN, OR, and SC National Guard to escort and protect KBR contractors working on the "Restore Iraqi Oil" contract. This contract was for the assessment and repair of Iraqs oil infrastructure. Repairing the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant, which maintained pressure in nearby oil wells, was a key part of this mission.
Weeks after soldiers arrived at Qarmat Ali, a newly arrived KBR safety officer complained of widespread orange and yellow dust piled feet deep in places. That powder was sodium dichromate, a hexavalent chromium compound used as a corrosion fighter in the oil pipes. The same deadly chemical made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich. The safety officer at Qarmat Ali reported that 60 percent of the soldiers and staff at the site reported suffering adverse health effects including nose perforations, nose bleeds, spitting up blood, and itchy lungs.
According to the Army, KBR did not test conditions at Qarmat Ali until August 2003 -- and waited to notify the military of the potential sodium dichromate exposure until one month later, in September 2003. The Indiana Guard learned of the contamination when KBR managers arrived in protective suits in August.
Witnesses at this hearing will discuss the Armys response to U.S. soldiers exposure to sodium dichromate, a potentially deadly carcinogen, at the Qarmat Ali water injection facility. The hearing will include testimony from soldiers from the IN, OR, and WV National Guard who have become sick after being exposed at the site. Senators will examine the Armys response to the exposure, including its oversight of contractor KBR, testing and monitoring of those who were exposed, and communications with soldiers about the nature, extent and possible health consequences of their exposure.
For more information contact Carl Segerblom at (202) 224-1833 or carl_segerblom@....
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