A group of British soldiers is attempting to claim compensation from an American company after being exposed to dangerous cancer causing chemical, hexavalent chromium.
The seven servicemen from 26 Squadron allege they came into contact with the toxins while guarding a water plant in Qarmat. The firm in question, Kellogg Brown and Root were given the contract to ensure a quick restoration of the plant, as it supplies water to the desert oil fields.
When the allied forces invaded Iraq, it is alleged that workers at the plant spread the chemical around the area as they fled. Hexavalent chromium can cause lung, skin and chest problems, as well as cause a variety of cancers. Two US servicemen who also guarded the plant have already sadly passed away from cancer. Many other servicemen – both US and British – have developed conditions ranging from persistent nose bleeds and rashes, to chest problems and tumours.
Now a group legal action is being made against the Texan company by soldiers from both sides of the Atlantic. It is alleged that the company’s health and safety official was informed of the risks but that no action was taken. The Ministry of Defence has recorded a risk to soldiers who served at the plant and recorded risk of exposure on their medical records.
Kellogg Brown and Root are vigorously fighting the compensation claims, arguing that the presence of any toxic chemicals was not their responsibility.