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olhamada
02-17-2009, 10:45
Got an email today asking me to call in regarding increased brain and ENT cancer rates in veterans of OEF housed on ex-Soviet bases. Specific to our unit, 3 have developed brain cancer, and 1 ENT cancer. Has anyone else's units experienced widespread health issues post-deployment? How are you handling it?

FMF DOC
02-17-2009, 11:38
Is there a list of said Soviet Bases?

Red Flag 1
02-17-2009, 11:44
Interesting post.

Who e-mailed you, if you don't mind my asking?

What other "wide spread" health issues are you looking for??

:munchin

RF 1

olhamada
02-17-2009, 17:44
Interesting post.

Who e-mailed you, if you don't mind my asking?

What other "wide spread" health issues are you looking for??

:munchin

RF 1

My old Sr Medical NCO forwarded me an email from an external civilian agency contracted by the DoD and VA to make post-deployment contact with "high-risk units and individuals". This agency calls itself the PDHRA Division (Post-Deployment Heath ReAssessment) of Logistics Health out of Lacrosse, WI.

I called them and talked to them for close to an hour. They said they would be sending me a DD-2900 and recommended I take it to the nearest VA facility. They said, if I was still active they would file a LOD through my Command just because I was deployed to Central Asia and was housed part of the time at a specific ex-Soviet airbase in 2002-2003. Evidently we were exposed to multiple aromatic florocarbons, phenols, and esters, as well as "potential radioactive sources". We were aware of some of this then so I sent a letter detailing these issues up our Chain of Command at the time. Now, in the past 6 years, several of our fellow soldiers have developed severe life-threatening illnesses. Is there a link? I don't know, but it is interesting that the DoD is chasing this down and filing LODs or DD-2900 on everyone that was there.

The health issues that have been mentioned are worsening respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, brain and ENT cancers, and of course, hearing impairment.

I think naming these bases on an open forum may be a violation of OPSEC, even though they are readily available on the internet thanks to our liberal media.

Brush Okie
02-17-2009, 18:03
Not sure if this is related or not. But here is something that MAY give you some info.



Fears of dirty-bomb attack spur hunt for radioactive Gamma Ears
November 12 2002




The search is on to find nuclear remnants from tests in the 1970s, Joby Warrick writes in Tbilisi, Georgia.


In the 1970s scientists in the former Soviet Union developed scores of powerful radioactive devices and dispatched them to the countryside for a project known cryptically as Gamma Kolos - Gamma Ears. Its purpose: to deliberately expose plants to radiation and measure the effects.

Some tests were aimed at simulating farming conditions after a nuclear war. In rugged eastern Georgia researchers bombarded wheat seed with radiation to see if the plants would grow better. All the experiments used a common source of radiation, a lead-shielded canister containing enough radioactive cesium 137, United States officials say, to contaminate a small city.

The experiments stopped long ago, but last year's terrorist attacks in the US have kindled an intense interest in Gamma Kolos that revolves around a single question: Where is the cesium now?

Spurred by fears of a dirty-bomb attack that could spread radioactive poisons across big cities, US and international nuclear experts have begun quietly searching former Soviet republics to recover the remains of the Gamma Kolos project before someone else does.

Unknown in the West until recently, the Soviet project is viewed as especially dangerous because its cesium devices could be easily exploited for terrorism - they are small, portable and possess a potent core of cesium chloride in the form of pellets or, more frequently, a fine powder. Cesium 137, a silvery metal isotope used commonly in medical radiotherapy, emits powerful gamma radiation and has a half-life of three decades.



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"It's like talc - extremely dispersible," said Abel Gonzales, director of radiation and waste safety for the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations-chartered nuclear watchdog.

"You don't even need a bomb. Just open a can and people will die."

With heightened urgency and new backing from the US Energy Department, the IAEA led a 10-month sweep of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, now a troubled but independent state.

The search turned up five of the Gamma Kolos devices, all of which are now in safe storage. Four more devices have been found in Moldova, while in Russia US officials are helping to construct security systems for agricultural research centres where large quantities of powdered cesium are stored.

But elsewhere across the old Soviet empire the search is hampered by a lack of funding and a dearth of information. None of the cesium devices is known to be have been stolen, but in some Central Asian states there are no records showing how many of the devices exist or what has happened to them. Estimates of the total number of devices are vague - "anywhere from 100 to 1000", not counting stocks of cesium in loose storage in Russia, an IAEA official said.

Russia is beginning to co-operate in the search, although it cannot yet account for all the cesium, Bush Administration officials said.

The US interest in helping destroy nonfissile radioactive material such as cesium 137 grew in June after the threat became personal for many Washingtonians when the Justice Department announced it had foiled an al-Qaeda plot to explode such a device in the US.

The concerns prompted the Energy Secretary, Spencer Abraham, in September to call for a global house-cleaning to secure material that could be used in dirty bombs.

Dirty bombs can inflict widespread disruption for relatively little cost. One bomb could contaminate large swaths of suburbia with radiation, unleashing panic and rendering some areas uninhabitable for decades.

The Washington Post



http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/11/11/1036308631294.html

Red Flag 1
02-18-2009, 12:29
ohl,

Are you symptomatic?


RF 1

olhamada
02-18-2009, 14:28
ohl,

Are you symptomatic?


RF 1

Now that you mention it..... not seriously, but I have noticed occasional wheezing and coughing and occasional urgent loose BMs that all started in theater and have never gone completely away. I've basically ignored them and chalked them up to aging until now (I'm 42). I never really connected these symptoms to our deployment, but you never know. You know, we all tend to be a bit stoic and deny or ignore things that we probably ought not to if we were smarter. So I guess I might follow up on these things - especially if my wife makes me. :)

But if this is the worst of it, which I bet it will be (along with some high frequency hearing loss), it is really nothing compared to what others have sacrificed - life, limbs, eye sight, and those who have come down with cancer and more serious disease.

I am curious to know if anyone else or other units have experienced the same and why the DoD seems so interested now. What are we not being told?

Red Flag 1
02-18-2009, 15:02
ohl,

I have no data or specific input for you. I've got over twenty years on you, and age can be blamed for some things. Some of the things I struggeled with over the years of practice is that: 1. Knowledge does not confer immunity , 2. Others know how to treat me better than I do. 3. Without taking time to get treated for things, I will become very ill. FWIW.

I suppose the easiest thing to rule out is any chronic infectious event. My bottom line urging would be to get the "Mumba" workup. Should the VA pick up the tab or not, run this to ground before it runs you to ground. Outside of the VA, you have your choice of providers. I am not throwing stones at the VA. People I know and trust, I go to first.

My $.02.

Be well!


RF 1

Leozinho
02-18-2009, 17:17
I got an 'urgent' email message two weeks through my CoC, asking for everyone to report whether they were in K2 in Uzbekistan in 2002-2003 due to a possible link between high levels of cancer and chemicals in bunkers there.

It was one of those emails that had been forwarded to about 15 people before it got to me.

I don't mind putting it here, because I imagine that there are a lot of people that have gotten out since then and aren't aware that they were possibly exposed to carcinogens.

olhamada
02-18-2009, 18:54
I got an 'urgent' email message two weeks through my CoC, asking for everyone to report whether they were in K2 in Uzbekistan in 2002-2003 due to a possible link between high levels of cancer and chemicals in bunkers there.

It was one of those emails that had been forwarded to about 15 people before it got to me.

I don't mind putting it here, because I imagine that there are a lot of people that have gotten out since then and aren't aware that they were possibly exposed to carcinogens.

That's where I was as well. Were you with FOB 201?

Leozinho
02-18-2009, 20:48
Sending you a PM, but no, I wasn't there.