VETERANS ‘IN THE DARK’ ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS

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RISK FOR VETERANS AT EPA SUPERFUND SITES

“No mama, no popa, no Uncle Sam. No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces. No rifles, no planes, or artillery pieces. And nobody gives a damn. We’re the sick and dead who lived and worked on contaminated land.” 

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) have not notified veterans of their possible exposure to environmental hazards at 130 military installations on the EPA National Priority List (Superfund sites).

Courtesy: CNN

There’s a critical need for the VSOs to exercise leadership by identifying the 130 military bases on the NPL, including the EPA internet link to Contaminants of Concern for each base.   

There is no legal requirement or interest by the Defense Department or any government agency to notify veterans that they may have been exposed to toxic chemicals, radiation or other environmental hazards.

It’s unlikely that the government will step into this role without specific legislation.  Under intense pressure from Congress, the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune established a website registry for veterans who may have been affected by TCE contaminated drinking water at the base.

A number of Congressional hearings were held, bills introduced into Congress to provide medical care to veterans and their dependents, but as of this date, the Marine Corps has not accepted responsibility for illnesses and deaths linked to the contaminated well water. 

With 130 military bases on the EPA National Priority List (EPA Superfund), veterans are at risk of exposure to environmental hazards. 

The mission of VSOs is to serve veterans and support their needs. Nothing can be more important than your health.  There’s no magic pill for exposure to an environmental hazard.  Medical care providers need to know when a patient has been exposed to particular environmental hazards to provide appropriate medical care.  Failure to provide this critical information is inexcusable.

Not everyone who was stationed on an EPA Superfund base was exposed to an environmental hazard, but an indeterminate number were and the health effects are serious. 

Emails to the national headquarters of the American Legion, VFW, the Marine Corps League and other VSOs asking them to alert their membership of possible exposure to toxic chemicals were left unanswered. 





This is not rocket science.  The information on environmental hazards is resident on the EPA Superfund database.  The link to the websites is contained in this article.  This is literally a ‘no brainer.’  Any VSO with a website only has to cut and paste the list of military bases. 

Courtesy: Salem-News.com

MCAS El Toro.  Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California, has been an EPA Superfund site since 1990. In 1985, the Orange County Water District found trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in shallow irrigation wells down gradient of the base.

Before knowledge of the adverse health effects on humans from exposure to these TCE and PCE were known, they were commonly used as degreasers for aircraft and vehicles.

In 1990, MCAS El Toro was placed on EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) primarily because of a plume of toxic waste of TCE and PCE spreading off base several miles which threatened the local water supply. In 1993, MCAS El Toro was placed on the DoD BRAC list and officially closed in 1999.

At El Toro, the Navy identified 25 contaminated areas on base, including landfills containing both hazardous and solid waste; buried drums of explosives and low-level radioactive waste; and areas where PCBs, battery acids, leaded fuels, and other hazardous substances were dumped or spilled. The Navy spent millions of dollars in cleaning up the former base.

At a September 2010 Irvine City Council meeting, the Navy estimated that it would take 40 years to complete the environmental clean-up at El Toro.

Assuming a Marine veteran “connects the dots of military services to a current medical condition,” their only remedy is to file a claim with the Veterans Administration, assuming they are aware of what happened to them and unless they lived in Orange County, California that’s unlikely.

SUPERFUND: EPA’s Contaminants of Concern

For military bases that are EPA Superfunds, EPA defines environmental hazards as Contaminants of Concern (COC’s).

According to EPA, “COC’s are the chemical substances found at the site that the EPA has determined pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. These are the substances that are addressed by cleanup actions at the site.”

“ Identifying COC’s is a process where the EPA identifies people and ecological resources that could be exposed to contamination found at the site, determines the amount and type of contaminants present, and identifies the possible negative human health or ecological effects that could result from contact with the contaminants.”

A link to the list of COC’s is shown on the first page of each EPA Superfund website under the caption, “view contaminants of concern at this site.”  The health effects from exposure to a particular COC at MCAS El Toro can be obtained by clinking on the ATSDR Profile as shown below. 

   CAS # Contaminant Name ContaminatedMedia Area of SiteFound (OU) More Information    
    71-55-6 1,1,1-TCA Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    71-55-6 1,1,1-TRICHLOROETHANE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    71-55-6 1,1,1-TRICHLOROETHANE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    79-34-5 1,1,2,2-PCA Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    79-00-5 1,1,2-TCA Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    79-00-5 1,1,2-TRICHLOROETHANE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    75-34-3 1,1-DCA Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    75-35-4 1,1-DCE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    75-35-4 1,1-DICHLOROETHENE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    107-06-2 1,2-DCA Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    540-59-0 1,2-DCE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01)      
    107-06-2 1,2-DICHLOROETHANE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    540-59-0 1,2-DICHLOROETHENE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02)      
    540-59-0 1,2-DICHLOROETHENE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02)      
    78-87-5 1,2-DICHLOROPROPANE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    78-93-3 2-BUTANONE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    78-93-3 2-BUTANONE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    78-93-3 2-BUTANONE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    591-78-6 2-HEXANONE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    50-29-3 4,4-DDT Soil SOIL SITES: 8, 11, 12 (03) ATSDR Profile    
    72-54-8 4,4-DICHLORODIPHENYLDICHLOROETHANE Soil SOIL SITES: 8, 11, 12 (03) ATSDR Profile    
    108-10-1 4-METHYL-2-PENTANONE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01)      
    108-10-1 4-METHYL-2-PENTANONE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02)      
    67-64-1 ACETONE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    67-64-1 ACETONE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    67-64-1 ACETONE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    7429-90-5 ALUMINUM (FUME OR DUST) Soil NFA SITES (06) ATSDR Profile    
    7429-90-5 ALUMINUM (METAL) Soil NFA: SITES 7 & 14 (07)      
    11097-69-1 AROCLOR-1254 Soil SOIL SITES: 8, 11, 12 (03)      
    11096-82-5 AROCLOR-1260 Soil SOIL SITES: 8, 11, 12 (03)      
    7440-38-2 ARSENIC Soil NFA SITES (06) ATSDR Profile    
    7440-38-2 ARSENIC Soil NFA: SITES 7 & 14 (07) ATSDR Profile    
    7440-38-2 ARSENIC Soil BURN PITS: SITE 16 (09) ATSDR Profile    
    71-43-2 BENZENE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    71-43-2 BENZENE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    71-43-2 BENZENE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    205-99-2 BENZO(B)FLUORANTHENE Soil SOIL SITES: 8, 11, 12 (03)      
    205-99-2 BENZO(B)FLUORANTHENE Soil NFA SITES (06)      
    207-08-9 BENZO(K)FLUORANTHENE Soil NFA SITES (06)      
    56-55-3 BENZO[A]ANTHRACENE Soil NFA SITES (06)      
    50-32-8 BENZO[A]PYRENE Soil SOIL SITES: 8, 11, 12 (03)      
    50-32-8 BENZO[A]PYRENE Soil NFA SITES (06)      
    50-32-8 BENZO[A]PYRENE Soil NFA: SITES 7 & 14 (07)      
    7440-41-7 BERYLLIUM Soil BURN PITS: SITE 16 (09) ATSDR Profile    
    75-27-4 BROMODICHLOROMETHANE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    75-27-4 BROMODICHLOROMETHANE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    75-25-2 BROMOFORM Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    75-15-0 CARBON DISULFIDE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    75-15-0 CARBON DISULFIDE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    75-15-0 CARBON DISULFIDE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    56-23-5 CARBON TETRACHLORIDE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    56-23-5 CARBON TETRACHLORIDE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    56-23-5 CARBON TETRACHLORIDE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    108-90-7 CHLOROBENZENE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    67-66-3 CHLOROFORM Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    67-66-3 CHLOROFORM Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    74-87-3 CHLOROMETHANE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    74-87-3 CHLOROMETHANE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    218-01-9 CHRYSENE Soil NFA SITES (06)      
    53-70-3 DIBENZO(A,H)ANTHRACENE Soil SOIL SITES: 8, 11, 12 (03)      
    53-70-3 DIBENZO(A,H)ANTHRACENE Soil NFA SITES (06)      
    53-70-3 DIBENZO(A,H)ANTHRACENE Soil NFA: SITES 7 & 14 (07)      
    53-70-3 DIBENZO(A,H)ANTHRACENE Soil BURN PITS: SITE 16 (09)      
    124-48-1 DIBROMOCHLOROMETHANE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    124-48-1 DIBROMOCHLOROMETHANE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    60-57-1 DIELDRIN Soil SOIL SITES: 8, 11, 12 (03) ATSDR Profile    
    100-41-4 ETHYLBENZENE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    100-41-4 ETHYLBENZENE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    100-41-4 ETHYLBENZENE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    193-39-5 INDENO(1,2,3-CD)PYRENE Soil NFA SITES (06)      
    7439-96-5 MANGANESE Soil NFA SITES (06) ATSDR Profile    
    7439-96-5 MANGANESE Soil NFA: SITES 7 & 14 (07) ATSDR Profile    
    7439-96-5 MANGANESE Soil BURN PITS: SITE 16 (09) ATSDR Profile    
    93-65-2 MCPP Soil SOIL SITES: 8, 11, 12 (03)      
    75-09-2 METHYLENE CHLORIDE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    75-09-2 METHYLENE CHLORIDE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    75-09-2 METHYLENE CHLORIDE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    127-18-4 PCE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    127-18-4 PCE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    127-18-4 PCE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    100-42-5 STYRENE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    100-42-5 STYRENE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    TBD-00000010 TCA Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01)      
    79-01-6 TCE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    79-01-6 TCE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    79-01-6 TCE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    127-18-4 TETRACHLOROETHENE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    127-18-4 TETRACHLOROETHENE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    108-88-3 TOLUENE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    108-88-3 TOLUENE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    108-88-3 TOLUENE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    79-01-6 TRICHLOROETHENE Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    79-01-6 TRICHLOROETHENE Ground Water BURN PITS: SITE 16 (09) ATSDR Profile    
    79-01-6 TRICHLOROETHENE Soil SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    79-01-6 TRICHLOROETHYLENE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    75-69-4 TRICHLOROFLUOROMETHANE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01)      
    75-01-4 VINYL CHLORIDE Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    1330-20-7 XYLENES Ground Water BASEWIDE GROUNDWATER (01) ATSDR Profile    
    1330-20-7 XYLENES Ground Water SOIL VOC SOURCE AREA: SITE 24 (02) ATSDR Profile    
    1330-20-7 XYLENES Soil SOIL VOC      

 

MILITARY BASES ON THE NPL (EPA SUPERUNDS)

US Air Force

 

US Army

 

US Coast Guard

 

US Navy

 Keywords:  Superfund

Author Details
Robert O’Dowd served in the 1st, 3rd and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings during 52 months of active duty in the 1960s. While at MCAS El Toro for two years, O’Dowd worked and slept in a Radium 226 contaminated work space in Hangar 296 in MWSG-37, the most industrialized and contaminated acreage on the base. Robert is a two time cancer survivor and disabled veteran. Robert graduated from Temple University in 1973 with a bachelor’s of business administration, majoring in accounting, and worked with a number of federal agencies, including the EPA Office of Inspector General and the Defense Logistics Agency. After retiring from the Department of Defense, he teamed up with Tim King of Salem-News.com to write about the environmental contamination at two Marine Corps bases (MCAS El Toro and MCB Camp Lejeune), the use of El Toro to ship weapons to the Contras and cocaine into the US on CIA proprietary aircraft, and the murder of Marine Colonel James E. Sabow and others who were a threat to blow the whistle on the illegal narcotrafficking activity. O’Dowd and King co-authored BETRAYAL: Toxic Exposure of U.S. Marines, Murder and Government Cover-Up. The book is available as a soft cover copy and eBook from Amazon.com. See: http://www.amazon.com/Betrayal-Exposure-Marines-Government-Cover-Up/dp/1502340003.
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