Tags: guantanamo | gitmo | cancer | carcinogens

Military Lawsuit Claims Gitmo Facilities Contain Carcinogens

Image: Military Lawsuit Claims Gitmo Facilities Contain Carcinogens
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By    |   Tuesday, 11 Apr 2017 01:01 PM

A lawsuit filed against the Department of Defense by a group of military lawyers based in Guantanamo Bay claims the facilities they live and work in contain dangerous levels of carcinogens, reports McClatchy D.C. for Stars and Stripes.

The suit accuses the Navy of improperly investigating health hazards after reports of high cancer rates among personnel at Camp Justice, where the various legal teams work on defenses for Guantanamo inmates, and dwell in a trailer park on an abandoned airstrip.

"This really is having a human level impact on people who have signed up to do this work," attorney Daniel Small of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, who's assisting the Guantanamo lawyers pro bono, told Stars and Stripes.

"These are soldiers, sailors, Marines who have signed up to do some of the hardest legal work that exists in my opinion in the Department of Defense, and these people deserve better," he added. "We should be making sure that we are protecting them, taking care of these soldiers who have signed up to a fairly thankless task."

Two years ago, a former Guantanamo lawyer requested that the Pentagon look into the cases of seven former service members and civilians who developed cancer after working at the military base.

"The Department of Defense is aware of concerns about possible carcinogens around the Department of Defense Military Commissions site," base spokeswoman Kelly Wirfel told The Miami Herald in 2015, about two weeks after the request was made. "We take any health concerns very seriously."

The lawyer's filing claims that "air samples tested positive for mercury and formaldehyde, and the soil samples tested positive for benzoapyrene — all carcinogenic substances," in a 2015 assessment. However, a Navy-Marine Corps risk assessment from February 2016 concluded that, "at this time, the potential cancer risk and non-cancer health effects associated with Camp Justice and any final conclusions (and risk management actions) cannot be determined."

"It's in the air that's breathed all day long by people working and living in those spaces, even though it was determined it was above EPA screening levels," Small said.

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A lawsuit filed against the Department of Defense by a group of military lawyers based in Guantanamo Bay claims the facilities they live and work in contain dangerous levels of carcinogens, reports McClatchy D.C. for Stars and Stripes.
guantanamo, gitmo, cancer, carcinogens
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2017-01-11
Tuesday, 11 Apr 2017 01:01 PM
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