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60 minutes US Military’s Toxic Secret

May 26, 2013   //   by admin1   //   News  //  22 Comments

What makes residents of Anniston, Ala., even angrier than their exposure to a toxic chemical is that the company responsible never told them. Steve Kroft reports on America’s most toxic town.

Some 20,000 current and former residents of Anniston are suing Monsanto, the manufacturer of polychlorinated biphenyl’s (PCBs), which were made in the town from 1929 to 1971.

The chemical was banned in 1979, but PCBs can be still found in Anniston’s air, water, soil, wildlife and in the residents themselves, many of whom say it contributed to their illnesses, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Monsanto knew PCBs could be dangerous in 1938, when company documents reveal that rats exposed to the chemicals developed liver damage.

This irks resident Donald Stewart, a former U.S. senator and the lawyer representing 3,500 residents in one of the lawsuits.

The residents of Anniston, he explains, “are not the wealthiest people in the world, so they fish a lot….They consumed these fish that were filled with PCBs. (They) raised poultry,…hogs and at no point did the company ever inform the people in the community about the problems they were facing.”

Monsanto had been urging employees to wear protective gear when working with the chemical since the 1950s, but never alerted the town. Residents found out in 1993, when a fisherman caught a badly deformed fish and sent it to a lab for analysis.

Besides the illnesses, Anniston is unique in another way, says resident David Baker: “Our children have to play in the streets, on the sidewalks, because they can’t play in the grass because it’s contaminated. We have to wear masks if we cut our grass. Where else in the United States of America (are) people doing that?”

Some parts of town are so badly contaminated that residents have been told not to grow vegetables, kick up dirt, eat or smoke in their yards.

Monsanto sold off its chemical business in 1997, and the new company is called Solutia. Its CEO, John Hunter, says the company is now trying to do the right thing.

“Do I wish that things might have been done differently…than they were? Sure I do,” he tells Kroft. “We’re committed to cleaning up the PCBs.”

Hunter says Solutia has spent more than $50 million on its cleanup and that Anniston residents are no longer being exposed to “significant” levels of PCBs.

“We’ve sampled 1,000 residential properties and only 24 of those are required for immediate action,” says Hunter.

While Solutia tries to clean up the land, residents who can rattle off their PCB levels like their ages remain contaminated.

“There’s absolute definitive evidence that (PCBs) cause cancer in animals…(and) evidence in humans consistent with the conclusion that they cause cancer,” says Dr. David Carpenter, a professor of environmental health and an expert on PCBs, who has studied Anniston.

“In my judgment…this is the most contaminated site in the U.S.,” he tells Kroft.

source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-570593.html

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22 Comments

  • Anyone w/ medical issues from suspected issues from Ft. McClellan exposure, please feel free to contact me. I am currently working to become a qualified advocate for the VA and am trying to get in the US Government’s knowledge base. I have been involved as an instructor on Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Agents. w/ over fifteen years as an instructor, with two USMC Schools, four US Army Schools, and two USAF schools, graduated from the USAF Nuclear Operations School as Honor Graduate, and NATO Shape School in Germany. I also continue to work in my community as both past Chairman of the Local Emergency Management Team as both past Chairman and now Vice-Chairman. I have spoken w/ a USAF General on these matters in 1982. All this is to say that I DO have credibility on the subject. My email is the best way to contact me.

    • Monroe Nevels please contact me. I had taken Basic training in the summer of 1982 at Ft. McClellan. They took us out and trained in the areas that they laughed and stated it was like a moon landscape. We crawled through it breathed it, and we even bathed in the streams out on Bivouac. I have now respiratory issues, I have Thyroid issues, I have had some cardio vascular issues whereas they call it Tiny Vein disorder where a mass of tiny veins now surround the heart. I have had veins stripped from my legs because they were and are painful and cause edema and pain.I have had also large problems with depression. I have seen now that the crap we were exposed to causes all these and worse.
      I have fought the VA on this time and time again where they simply state no it is not service connected. The VA website at https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/fort-mcclellan/ is a farse where they state no problems from exposure exist as levels were not high enough to cause a problem. Really?? Really?! The amount of people getting sick, the deformed wildlife, in the area and telling residents dont kick up the dirt, dont smoke outside, dont raise poultry or pork from the area tell a different story. We rolled in that dirt. We bathed in those streams, drank that water, breathed that air. The VA wants us to die off is all they want. I want to file a sucessful compensation claim against them. Please contact me Monroe Nevels.

      • Mr. Barth, thanks for your post. I am experiencing the same similar health issues including an unexplained vasculitis and respiratory issues with a chronic cough. I was there in 1981. I also have experienced some nerve related issues as well. I agree, as to a possible connection and cover-up at the expense of those that served at the post and had developed unexplained health issues. I appreciate your sharing your experience for it helped me get a better view of my situation.

    • Please contact me. I have numerous “idiopathic” issues, and am quite ill.

  • Basic July 1976. I’ve had lumber fusion to relieve excruciating spasms and spinal stenosis bulging disc. Arthritis increased after surgery. Place On Medicare disability in 2015.😢Daughter passed at 6weeks Respiratory complications in 1977; 3 miscarriages. Abdominal discomfort. Gallbladder surgery. I asked a VA doctor if my health issues could be from biochemical toxic exposure? “No, it would of affected you sooner.” 😮impressed diagnosis’s with visual only. Just insulted my intelligence. My questions why so long before shutdown. Why the Women Army Corp? Depopulation? However, women still outnumber men. I never received a notification of being exposed, found out about Fort shutdown by EPA . In February 2018 wanted to rehash memories. I was😮. It did help shine light on health issues.

  • I really need help due to serious medical issues, and I’m a mcclellan basic training grad and Gulf War veteran with debilitating issues.

  • Press your representatives. The “Lazarus bill” (as I call it) is back and only has 1 co-sponsor so far.

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3666

  • Was anyone there in November of 1976?
    I remember being outside in formation after supper and we all saw a weird cloud of some kind of gas overhead . It was purple and green and very strange and after formation as we headed to Echo Co. we were abuzz talking about it . I was 18 what did I know ?! They called us all into the Day room and told us that cloud was just a ” atmospheric condition” and they didn’t want to hear anymore talk about it !
    Well today , my body is a hot mess of deteriorating bones, and nerve damage .

  • I went to my new Dr appt in Temple TX and was scheduling my diabetes appt. The clerk there asked if I was stationed at ft. McClellan àl. I said yes why were you stationed there. She began to tell me my diabetes may have been caused from contamination by chemicals there! That answered a big question . My whole family tree never had diabetes . Why me! 8t all fell into place. Now I am researching to see what else it could have done.

    • I know. We didn’t ask for this when we took the oath.

      Diabetes is closely associated with Agent Orange (AO) exposure. Agent Orange is a product of was a mixture of equal parts of two herbicides, 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. Both of those chemicals were at Fort McClellan in large quantities in the mid 1970s.

      We have requested inventory records of herbicides and pesticides for Fort McClellan (filed yearly) but were stonewalled by the archives stating that they didn’t keep “routine maintenance records.” Interestingly enough, one of our Fort Mac vets was able to get those routine maintenance records for another army base that was closed the year before Fort McCellan so they obviously kept *some*.

      There are 1970s era WACs who reported seeing Agent Orange barrels behind the WAC barracks.

      We also have a copy of BRAC (Base Realignment and Closing) that states grounds control people were, at times, not properly certified.

      The Chemical Corp., the soldiers responsible for handling and spraying AO, trained at Fort McClellan.

      There was at least one area, the mock Vietnam Village on Pelham Range, that was named in a successful appeal by a Vietnam era soldier who stated his CO said he’d just walked through AO. The government stated that there are no records of non-tactical use of herbicides and conceded based on the statement of the CO.

      Follow up with your doctor. Keep pushing for answers. We are too.

  • I was stationed Ft McClellan for basic training in 1987 I too have been diagnosed with lymphoma non-hodgkin and my health has been declining since the diagnosis I’ve never heard of any of this I’ve been living out west for the past 20 years since I’ve gotten out of the military I’m in constant pain nowhere to turn to. The VA is too busy trying to get people off opioids and denying any such situation. Once again the government has created another problem turn their back on the veterans again as if they had nothing to do with what they are calling mass opiate addiction a pandemic they created it n now they’re trying to cure it I find it odd that they would pay for five different types of cancer treatments. Is a generosity or guilt but we all know they would never admit to anything.

    • We have to keep fighting to find out what we were exposed to at Fort McClellan. It’s the only answer.

      I sympathize with veterans dealing with diseases that cause chronic pain. There are only two ways to go, live with the pain or treat the pain medically. I lived through the 1990s opioid cutback at the VA and the whoosh of pain when they stop prescribing took years to overcome. I use an alpha-stim unit (prescribed by the VA), acupuncture & chiropractic adjustments when I can get them, music, and meditation. It is cruel to force people to live with pain that stops them from enjoying their lives, being productive, and getting along with others. Yes, some are at risk of abusing opioids. They have pain management contracts. They can and do monitor use through urine tests. I don’t see why people with legitimate pain cannot get medical help. They are playing a dangerous game, balancing suicides due to pain with overdoses due to misuse. Either way, someone’s dead. (this may not reflect the views of Poisoned Veterans).

      • I also was exposed to the chemical hodge-podge of Agent Orange and other similar chemicals. I now have a very rare gastro disease called Gastroparesis which has no cure and no treatment except to try and treat the symptoms as they appear. I have bones and teeth that bend and the teeth keep breaking off, the VA does not treat dental problems unless they are service connected. Since I am not Service Connected they won’t help but the major cause of death among GP patients is malnutrition having poor teeth just makes it worse. Only 1 in a million people have GP so no one cares as it won’t pay them anything to do research. If anyone else has Gastroparesis PLEASE LET ME KNOW as it is lonely out here by myself. Keep the faith and keep fighting.

        • Charity, I, to have gastroparesis. I attended Ft. MAC 1985. Another veteran friend, who was there a couple years before me, in 1983 i believe, also has gastroparesis. She has a pacemaker in her stomach because of it. I’ve had to have a gastrojejuostomy. Among all the other ailments …we havein common, fibro, ddd, thyroid issues, the same dental issues, bone and joint problems, etc. You are not alone. Look me up on most any of the ft mac Facebook pages. Robin Bower.

        • I served at McClellan from 1997-1998 and lived in several housing units on the base. I’m a Type II diabetic despite not being obese, with fairly severe neuropathy and a recent diagnosis of gastroparesis. My doctor is stumped as to why any of this is happening. I believe it’s from McLellan.

  • See if 60 min. can help you. In Florida the don’t want to helps us. If your is South Carolina the va there is pretty good.

  • I too have been diagnosed with lymphoma. I was there in 1978. If there is any further information please let me know. Also please let me know how you were able to collect disability for it.

    • I was there in 78 also.just finding out abt this now. Went thru alabama on my way frm Panama City. Was going to visit the place where i went for basic. Found out it no longer exists. Hmm…I have type 2 diabetes now. Hv had my uterus removed in 93. In AIT in ft sam tx i was told i had a tumor on my uterus. I was 19. My children has jaundice,crooked feet, and behavior issues. My youngest is autistic.

  • I went to basic training at Ft. Mac in 1976. I went on disability at the age of 56. I was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer at that time. I was also diagnosed with lupus and rumatoid arthritis. I had a VA Doctor tell me she has seen this a lot in women my age and we all went to Ft. Mac and had the same problems. She also stated that the VA will not do anything about it.

    • Hi Dianna,

      Unfortunately, the VA doctor is right. The VA is not doing anything for us as a group. But if you can prove a connection between military service and your health conditions, you can (and should) receive compensation. The question I have is will the VA doctor write a nexus letter for you that says it’s likely that exposure to PCBs at Fort Mac caused your cancer, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis? That letter would be the basis for a comp claim. I’m sorry you’re suffering.

      Adrienne

    • I was there for Basic In July 1976. I found out about closing of fort McClellan February 2018😮Placed on Medicare disability age 56 for (spinal)stenosis DJD, Arthritis and abdominal issues. Gall bladder removed. 2013 Spinal fusion (bad idea) no more career in nursing.. First born died of Respiratory complications at 6 months in 1977. Followed by several miscarriages. I thought it was me. Now I’m thinking.
      Fort McClellan, Alabama? I noticed the odor in the air up on arrival when I first stepped off the bus at Army Depot. I asked someone what was that smell. “ Oh, that’s the plant outside the
      fort “. I thought nothing more of it, My motto all things occur for a reason. My theory on Fort MAC “a part of depopulation” what better way than. “Women Army Corp “. KARMA, there are more women than men today. I signed online for Fort MAC Health Registry to be tested. “A day late and a dollar short “. The damage has been done and the Government keep using that word “potential” to hide behind. We were all human Lab 🔬rats 🐭. Government now want to conduct (my opinion) analysis of their biochemical toxic exposure to humans over the years. Will file a claim. It’s a double edge sword. I asked a VA doctor, do you think my heath issues come from being exposed biochemical toxins “.No, it would of affected you sooner and as you age your body goes through changes” 😮 impressed she can do a visual without testing. Anyway, not my gene pool we only have heart disease. Which I’m very Grateful and blessed that I do not. I will continue to live best life possible doing whatever it takes. (Vented) .

  • I lived there for a 18 mo. when I was 13 – 14 (1968 and 1969) I have been diagnosed with 5 autoimmune disorders and will be tested in two weeks for my thyroid nodules and 6th auto. disorder. At 58 I had 30 pollups removed from 3 different areas of my colon. I have spinal stenosis and other spine disorders. Peripheral neuropothy and neuro problems. At 30 my internist told me that I stopped growing at 15 for unknown reasons. My sister died at 55 with mutiple cancers. The man next door developed MS. The others died at what I considered a young age. Our back yards backed up to the Anniston Depot. I now live in Georgia and was declared disabled at 55. When my Dr.s ask me about exposure to a list of chemicals I said I did not know. My 5 specialists will be delighted to know what caused this “cluster” of problems after I led a heathly active “productive with a struggle” life. Do you know who I can contact?

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