Medical Screening of Qarmat Ali Veterans
In 2009, VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) conducted a no-cost medical screening as a part of the Qarmat Ali Medical Surveillance Program. This program is designed for Veterans and Service members who guarded the Quarmat Ali Water treatment facility in the Basrah oil fields in Iraq during the spring and summer of 2003.
The Qarmat Ali Water treatment facility was contaminated with sodium dichromate, a chemical compound used in water treatment in the oil industry. Personnel performing guard duty at the treatment facility may have inhaled sodium dichromate dust. Sodium dichromate contains hexavalent chromium Cr (VI), a chemical known to cause medical conditions, including lung cancer, nasal and skin irritation, and respiratory problems.
In a review of the health status of screening participants, no abnormalities specific to hexavalent chromium exposure (e.g., nasal septum perforation) were found. Read a summary of the findings at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27046175. VA and DoD are planning a second round of medical screening. Eligible Veterans will be notified by mail when the medical screening is available.