EPA’s Superfund database lists Chemicals of Concerns (COCs) and their health effects, valuable information to medical care providers.
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Thousands of veterans and their dependents lived and worked on military installations that are now listed as EPA Superfund sites.
Former MCAS El Toro was once a proud Marine aviation base; today it is a demolished wreck. The soil and groundwater was terribly polluted over the years and many have paid the ultimate price over it.
Veterans of this base in Southern California are spread all over the United States. There’s no central databank to tap into for the names and the current addresses of those who served at El Toro and other Superfund sites.
Superfund is the environmental program established to address hazardous waste sites. It is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA statute, CERCLA overview). CERCLA was passed into law in the wake of the discovery of toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal and Times Beach in the 1970s, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Veterans of military installations currently on the National Priority List (EPA Superfund) need to know the contaminants of concern (COC) found on these sites and the health effects of exposure to receive proper medical treatment.
COC’s are the chemical substances 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.
According to EPA, “Identifying COCs 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.”
Exposure to COC’s can cause serious medical conditions, including cancer and death. Veterans with who were stationed on an EPA Superfund installation need to share this information with their medical care provider. This is not about collecting VA disability compensation, but about helping veterans “connect the dots of serious illness” to military service and giving information to their health care providers that could save their lives.
No one in their right mind would voluntarily live and work on a Superfund site. Veterans are not provided the choice of military assignments. Many of the installations on the NPL were constructed during WW II and experienced decades of environmental contamination.
DOD has spent and continues to spend millions in the remediation of military installations on the Superfund list. Nothing has been spent on health care screening and monitoring of veterans by either DOD or the VA. Many veterans learn for the first time of their exposure to a COC after diagnosis with cancer. Too often the diagnosis is late and the cancer now in stage 4 is a death sentence.
With exception of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, DOD has no efforts to contact veterans who served on Superfund sites. Congress required the Navy and Marine Corps to notify those who served at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987 of the contaminated water wells on the base.
EPA lists 130 military installations as Superfund sites. There is no legal requirement to notify the veterans of the remaining 129 military installations of the COCs they may have been exposed to and their health effects. This is not a mission impossible. It can be done. EPA lists the COCs and the ATSDR has identified the health effects of many of them.
Many veterans belong to Veteran Service Organizations. With the advent of the internet, many of the VSOs have excellent websites and most have newsletters used to communicate important matters to their memberships.
Access to the COC’s and their health effects can easily be obtained from EPA’s Superfund website, if you know where to look and, if you know that you may have been exposed to one or more of the contaminants.
The first page of every EPA Superfund website contains a site progress profile, including important information on contamination. Under the caption “Contamination,” a reader can quickly access all of the site’s COC’s with a hyperlink the health effects as determined by the Agency for Toxic Substances Health Registry (ATSDR), the Federal agency responsible for performing public health assessments of EPA Superfund sites.
The Veterans Administration and the Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) have the capability to establish a website hyperlink to the list of EPA Superfunds. All it takes is the right direction from the leadership.
EPA’s Superfund List of Military Installations
US Air Force
Air Force Plant #4 (General Dynamics) Fort Worth TX Air Force Plant 85 Columbus OH Air Force Plant PJKS Littleton CO American Lake Gardens/McChord AFB Tacoma WA Andersen Air Force Base Yigo GU Andrews Air Force Base Andrews Air Force Base MD Arnold Engineering Development Center (USAF) Tullahoma/Manchester TN Brandywine DRMO Brandywine MD Castle Air Force Base (6 Areas) Merced CA Chanute Air Force Base Rantoul IL Dover Air Force Base Dover DE Edwards Air Force Base Edwards AFB CA Eielson Air Force Base Fairbanks AK Ellsworth Air Force Base Ellsworth AFB SD Elmendorf Air Force Base Anchorage AK F.E. Warren Air Force Base Cheyenne WY Fairchild Air Force Base (4 Waste Areas) Spokane WA George Air Force Base Victorville CA Griffiss Air Force Base (11 Areas) Rome NY Hanscom Field/Hanscom Air Force Base Bedford MA Hill Air Force Base Hill AFB UT Homestead Air Force Base Homestead Air Force Base FL Loring Air Force Base Limestone ME Luke Air Force Base Glendale AZ March Air Force Base Riverside CA Mather Air Force Base (AC&W Disposal Site) Mather CA McChord Air Force Base (Wash Rack/Treatment Area)
Tacoma WA McClellan Air Force Base (Ground Water Contamination) McClellan AFB CA McGuire Air Force Base #1 Wrightstown NJ Mountain Home Air Force Base Mountain Home ID Norton Air Force Base (Lndfll #2) San Bernardino CA Pease Air Force Base Portsmouth/Newington NH Plattsburgh Air Force Base Plattsburgh NY Rickenbacker Air National Guard (USAF) Lockbourne OH Robins Air Force Base (Landfill #4/Sludge Lagoon)
Houston County GA Tinker Air Force Base (Soldier Creek/Building 3001) Oklahoma City OK Travis Air Force Base Travis AFB CA Twin Cities Air Force Reserve Base (Small Arms Range Landfill) Minneapolis MN Tyndall Air Force Base Panama City FL Williams Air Force Base Chandler AZ Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Dayton OH Wurtsmith Air Force Base Oscoda MI
Aberdeen Proving Ground (Edgewood Area) Edgewood MD Aberdeen Proving Ground (Michaelsville Landfill) Aberdeen MD Alabama Army Ammunition Plant Childersburg AL Anniston Army Depot (Southeast Industrial Area) Anniston AL Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant Hall County NE Fort Devens Fort Devens MA Fort Devens-Sudbury Training Annex Sudbury MA Fort Dix (Landfill Site) Pemberton Township NJ Fort Eustis (US Army) Newport News VA Fort George G. Meade Odenton MD Fort Lewis (Landfill No. 5) Tacoma WA Fort Lewis Logistics Center Tillicum WA Fort Ord Marina CA Fort Richardson (USARMY) Anchorage AK Fort Riley Junction City KS Fort Wainwright Fort Wainwright AK Iowa Army Ammunition Plant Middletown IA Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (Load-Assembly-Packing Area) Joliet IL Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (Manufacturing Area) Joliet IL Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (Northwest Lagoon) Independence MO Letterkenny Army Depot (PDO Area) Franklin County PA Letterkenny Army Depot (SE Area) Chambersburg PA Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant Texarkana TX Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant Karnack TX Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant Doyline LA Materials Technology Laboratory (USARMY) Watertown MA Milan Army Ammunition Plant Milan TN Natick Laboratory Army Research, Development, and Engineering Center Natick MA New Brighton/Arden Hills/TCAAP (USARMY) New Brighton MN Picatinny Arsenal (USARMY) Rockaway Township NJ Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant Riverbank CA Rocky Mountain Arsenal (USARMY) Adams County CO Sacramento Army Depot Sacramento CA Savanna Army Depot Activity Savanna IL Schofield Barracks (USARMY) Schofield HI Seneca Army Depot Romulus NY Sharpe Army Depot Lathrop CA Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant Desoto KS Tobyhanna Army Depot Tobyhanna PA Tooele Army Depot (North Area) Tooele UT Tracy Defense Depot (USARMY) Tracy CA Umatilla Army Depot (Lagoons) Hermiston OR US Army/NASA Redstone Arsenal Huntsville AL Weldon Spring Former Army Ordnance Works St. Charles County MO West Virginia Ordnance (USARMY) Point Pleasant WV
US Coast Guard
Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard Baltimore MD
Adak Naval Air Station Adak AK Alameda Naval Air Station Alameda CA Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (USNAVY) Mineral County WV Bangor Naval Submarine Base Silverdale WA Bangor Ordnance Disposal (USNAVY) Bremerton WA Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow CA Brunswick Naval Air Station Brunswick ME Camp Lejeune Military Res. (USNAVY) Onslow County NC Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton CA Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station Havelock NC Concord Naval Weapons Station Concord CA Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center North Kingstown RI El Toro Marine Corps Air Station El Toro CA Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head MD
Jackson Park Housing Complex (USNAVY) Kitsap County WA Jacksonville Naval Air Station Jacksonville FL Marine Corps Combat Development Command Quantico VA Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany GA Moffett Naval Air Station Moffett Field CA Naval Air Development Center (8 Waste Areas) Warminster Township PA Naval Air Engineering Center Lakehurst NJ Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island (Ault Field) Whidbey Island WA Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island (Seaplane Base)
Whidbey Island WA Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Virginia Beach VA Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Eastern Pacific Wahiawa HI Naval Industrial Reserve Ordnance Plant Fridley MN Naval Security Group Activity Sabana Seca PR Naval Surface Warfare Center – Dahlgren Dahlgren VA Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station (4 Waste Areas) Keyport WA Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant Bedford MA Naval Weapons Station – Yorktown Yorktown VA Naval Weapons Station Earle (Site A) Colts Neck NJ Navy Ships Parts Control Center Mechanicsburg PA New London Submarine Base New London CT Newport Naval Education & Training Center Newport RI Norfolk Naval Base (Sewells Point Naval Complex) Norfolk VA Norfolk Naval Shipyard Portsmouth VA NWS Yorktown – Cheatham Annex Yorktown VA Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island SC Patuxent River Naval Air Station Patuxent River MD Pearl Harbor Naval Complex Pearl Harbor HI Pensacola Naval Air Station Pensacola FL Port Hadlock Detachment (USNAVY) Indian Island WA Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Kittery ME Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Complex Bremerton WA South Weymouth Naval Air Station Weymouth MA St. Juliens Creek Annex (U.S. Navy) Chesapeake VA Treasure Island Naval Station-Hunters Point Annex San Francisco CA USN Air Station Cecil Field Jacksonville FL Washington Navy Yard Washington DC Whiting Field Naval Air Station Milton FL Willow Grove Naval Air and Air Reserve Station Horsham PA Yuma Marine Corps Air Station Yuma AZ
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.