2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 16:25:49 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Mustard Bomb Site Cleanup Sickened Workers
Memphis (TN) Commercial Appeal - Page B1 - Saturday - October 14, 2000
Mustard Bomb Site Cleanup Sickened Workers
by Tom Charlier, The Commercial Appeal

Officials overseeing the removal of buried chemical warfare bombs at
the old Defense Depot Memphis said Friday the public should have been
notified of an incident last month in which three project workers were
taken to a hospital.

The workers had been digging up soil surrounding buried bomb casings
that had contained German-made World War II-era mustard gas when they
complained of headaches, nausea and sinus irritation on Sept. 15.
The symptoms struck while the workers were inside a tightly sealed
vapor-containment structure enclosing one of the excavation sites on the 
640-acre base in South Memphis. The employees work for UXB 
International, a Virginia-based contractor hired by the Corps of 

They were taken to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, where the
examinations and followup visits showed no evidence of exposure to
chemical-weapons materiels, authorities say. The workers had been 
wearing protective masks with vapor filters.

Air monitoring and soil testing at the excavation site revealed no
sign of chemical-warfare agents. But further investigations turned up 
low levels of thioxane and dithiane, which are created by the breakdown 
of sulfur mustard.

Although the incident apparently did not significantly harm the
workers or endanger the public, it should have been relayed to the 
public and the agency in charge of the excavation, officials said 


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