Death, illness linked to service at water treatment plant in Basra

According to a report by the Associated Press, the military and VA are contacting 1,200 soldiers who were assigned to protect a water treatment plant in Basra, Iraq, in 2003. The plant, Qarmat Ali, was being rebuilt by contractors from KBR Inc. (based in Houston, Texas) when toxic contamination was discovered.

The deadly chemical, sodium dichromate, is suspected of causing numerous medical conditions in the soldiers, ranging from chest pain to death. At least five lawsuits are pending against KBR Inc. for its alleged negligence.

Soldiers are being asked to enroll in a registry to track health problems according to a September 19 letter that was sent by former Army Secretary Pete Geren to Senator Byron Dorgan.