Reminder: DPC Hearing On Troop Exposure To Toxic Chemicals at 2 pm ET
The Democratic Policy Committee (the DPC) has another in its series of hearings today. This one regarding negligent exposure of US troops and Iraqis to a highly toxic chemical: sodium dichromate.
Yet again, KBR’s negligence is one of the questions at issue. From the committee press release:
…Witnesses include National Guard members from Indiana, Oregon and West Virginia who were exposed to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali, a water injection facility in 2003. Also scheduled to testify is one of the world’s leading experts on health risks associated with exposure to sodium dichromate.
Military contractor KBR had the contract for cleaning up Qarmat Ali, which provided water to Iraq oil pipelines and which was critical to the U.S. effort to restore the Iraqi economy after the invasion. Sodium dichromate was found throughout the site. In some places it was several inches thick and filled the air during frequent windstorms.
KBR’s role in the exposure of troops was examined at a June 20, 2008, DPC hearing which found multiple failures to take action to protect troops. The August 3 hearing will examine whether the Army responded appropriately to KBR’s actions, including whether the Army followed up with exposed soldiers to ensure they were tested, monitored, and received potentially life-saving medical treatment.
“Our previous hearing found KBR’s failures to be widespread and serious,” Dorgan said. “Now, we want to know whether the Army held KBR accountable and acted quickly to protect soldiers when KBR failed to do so. Did the Army tell soldiers the truth about the exposure and its health consequences? After the exposure, did the Army properly test and monitor the soldiers who were exposed and make sure they received the treatment they need?”
More to come on this, I’m certain.
My understanding is that DPC plans to webcast the hearing — check back here for the link when it goes live.