Air Drive Finds Hazardous Chemical substances in Some ICBM Services

The Air Drive has discovered hazardous chemical substances exceeding acceptable ranges at two launch management facilities at Malmstrom Air Drive Base, Mont., and has ordered an instantaneous clean-up, in keeping with an Air Drive memo obtained by Air & House Drive Journal. 

The Aug. 4 memo summarizes the outcomes of air and swipe environmental testing that was executed as a part of the Missile Neighborhood Most cancers Examine and written by Col. Tory Woodard, who instructions the U.S. Air Drive Faculty of Aerospace Drugs (USAFSAM).

One of many functions of testing was to seek for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in some LCCs, the underground bunkers the place missileers work in 24-48 hour shifts, and in different amenities. 

PCBs are “possible human carcinogens” in keeping with the Environmental Safety Company, which provides that they “have been demonstrated to trigger a wide range of antagonistic well being results.”

Not all the samples have raised alarms. 300 air and swipe samples have been taken at Malmstrom’s Launch Management Facilities and Missile Alert Services and 279 of those yielded “non-detectable outcomes,” an AFGSC spokesman mentioned. No PCBs have been detected in any of the air samples.

Two launch management facilities seem problematic. Of the 40 swipe samples taken there, 11 contained PCBs. 9 of these samples have been under acceptable ranges. Two of these samples have been above acceptable ranges, prompting the Air Drive to take rapid motion. 

“Primarily based on the preliminary outcomes from the survey staff, which found PCB ranges above the cleanup threshold designated by legislation in two of our amenities, I directed twentieth Air Drive to take rapid measures to start the clear up course of for the affected amenities and mitigate publicity by our Airmen and Guardians to probably hazardous circumstances,” Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, the top of Air Drive World Strike Command, mentioned in an announcement. “These measures will keep in place till I’m glad that we’re offering our missile neighborhood with a secure and clear work setting.” 

PCB manufacturing was banned in 1979, however the intercontinental ballistic missile amenities are a long time outdated. A World Strike Command official acquainted with the research beforehand instructed Air & House Forces Journal the Air Drive started phasing out PCBs at ICBM amenities within the Nineteen Eighties. 

Former missileers and different personnel have lengthy been involved in regards to the danger of most cancers stemming from their duties on the base. These worries have been strengthened when a presentation detailing circumstances of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood most cancers, at Malmstrom appeared on-line earlier this 12 months. 

Bussiere ordered a evaluation of the difficulty, which led to the Missile Neighborhood Most cancers Examine overseen by U.S. Air Drive Faculty of Aerospace Drugs. The research has two elements: environmental sampling and an epidemiological research, which can take 12-14 months to finish, to evaluate most cancers charges.

Members of the research staff carried out preliminary visits in February and March on the ICBM bases to know what they need to search for and the place. The Air Drive’s three ICBM bases are Malmstrom Air Drive Base, Mont.; F.E. Warren Air Drive Base, Wyo.; and Minot Air Drive Base, N.D. The ICBM silos themselves are unfold out over huge fields that attain into 5 states.

Among the many potential risks, the research groups discovered stickers indicating the presence of PCBs in older electronics.

“They have been broadly used throughout industries in electrical, warmth switch, and hydraulic gear and might persist for lengthy intervals within the setting,” Air Drive World Strike Command mentioned of PCBs in an announcement.

PCBs are usually not the one concern. In addition to the air and swipe samples from Malmstrom, water and soil sampling has been executed to check for radon, natural phosphates, and different hazards.

“The water and soil samples for Malmstrom and all the take a look at knowledge from each F.E. Warren and Minot AFB websites haven’t been obtained and analyzed but,” the AFGSC spokesman mentioned. “We count on to have that knowledge full in a few months.”

The staff additionally carried out extra testing to determine any hazardous circumstances associated to indoor air high quality. Samples will determine if there are any dangerous ranges of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ambient temperature, and humidity.

Officers mentioned the deliberate environmental monitoring is in depth—roughly 2,000 samples per base, Woodard mentioned in an interview in June. Environmental sampling at Malmstrom was executed June 22-29 by consultants from USAFSAM and Protection Facilities for Public Well being, in keeping with Woodard’s Aug. 4 memo.

“Our staff will work with acceptable management and businesses to assist additional examine, advise, and help in creating clean-up, follow-up and medical suggestions based mostly on the above findings,” Woodard wrote of the presence of PCBs.

Woodard promised “a radical have a look at all environmental and occupational hazards.”