2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 21 Feb 2003 16:38:14 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Services Working on Ways to Beat Battlefield Environmental Hazards
Services Working on Ways to Beat Battlefield Environmental Hazards
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2003 -- Military environmental health risk experts
were unprepared in 1991 when Saddam Hussein ordered engineers to blow up
hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells. Over the next seven months, more than 1
billion barrels of oil went up in flames, some creating huge, dark soot

Kuwait and much of the Persian Gulf was shrouded in poisonous smoke,
creating a large-scale environmental disaster and possible medical
problems for U.S. troops breathing the contaminated air.

"We have preventive medicine specialists throughout the services, but
they were concentrating on things like food, water, and basic sanitation
and hygiene," said John Resta, director of health risk management at the
Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine at Aberdeen
Proving Ground, Md. "The oil well fires showed us other hazards out
there that we had not been prepared for, such as industrial chemicals,
air pollution, and contaminated soil from hazardous waste disposal

The center works to maintain the health of deployed troops by reducing
the impact of potentially harmful environmental exposures. Teams are
dispatched worldwide to provide technical expertise and services in the
areas of occupational health, industrial hygiene, medical surveillance,
laboratory work and health promotion. In addition to Aberdeen, the
center has subcommands in Landstuhl, Germany; Camp Zama, Japan; Fort
Meade, Md.; Fort McPherson, Ga.; and Fort Lewis, Wash.

In May 1991, the center sent an environmental surveillance team to
Kuwait to investigate the occupational and environmental health hazards
associated with the oil well fires, Resta noted.

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