Express-News: Metro and State
Stinson: At Kelly, depleted uranium contamination 'remains in cracks'
http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=180&xlc=282354&xld=180
San Antonio Express-News
Web Posted : 08/29/2001

 Here is the latest and most specific and alarming information about radioactive contamination at Kelly AFB...

 Building 375:

 "Flight controls shop ... in operation from 1977-94. Counterweights on C-5 ailerons were removed & replaced. Counterweights contained depleted uranium. (Depleted uranium) contamination remains in cracks in former shop area."

 Building 324:

 "Radium paint shop from 1934 to 1942. Repaired & refurbished aircraft instruments and parts, adding radioactive radium paint to surfaces. Radiation remains in floors & walls."

 Building 326:

 "Radium paint shop from 1942 to 1952. Repaired, refurbished, repainted aircraft instruments & parts, adding radioactive paint to surfaces. Residual radium radiation remains on floor, walls & drain lines interior to B326 & also exterior to B326 in sewer lines & wastewater treatment plants."

 Those clear descriptions of radioactive hazards at Kelly were taken from a document "Relative Risk Site Evaluation ... Radioactive Sites, Kelly AFB" obtained by this column Wednesday.

 The document, dated Aug. 8, also included the only detailed information about base-employee risks that I have found during a four-year investigation of Kelly contamination.

 To wit:

 Building 375

 "Brief description of potential pathways (to workers).

 "Inhalation of air/dust contaminated w/radiation.

 "Ingestion of contaminated building materials.

 "Contact w/contaminated building materials."

 Building 324

 Same as Building 375

 Building 326

 Same as Buildings 375 and 324, plus these potential hazards:

 "Ingestion of (and/or) contact with contaminated soil, sediment, surface water ... both interior to B326 & exterior to B326, in the southeast & far southwest areas within former Kelly AFB."

 A description of environmental problems around Building 326 included a note that "contaminated soil is one-foot deep in front yard of B326."

 How many Kelly workers walked across that yard every day for 10 ... 20 ... 30 years?

 Only heaven knows.

 Were their lives endangered?

 No one in the federal government seems to know ... or care.

 Worse, San Antonio City Hallers have consistently demonstrated indifference to the search for an answer to that question.

 At no point in the Kelly-endangerment story has that indifference been more obvious than in the search for reasons why dozens of base employees contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

 I end this column with a reference to the ALS puzzle because of the following information, which I came across while searching through Express-News archives for information on buildings 375, 324 and 326:

 "... of 64 former Kelly workers with ALS surveyed, 17 worked at Building 171, eight worked in the Security Hill complex, another eight in Building 375 ...."

 The headline on the April 26 Express-News report from which that sentence was taken read:

 "Kelly claims site healthy; Study discounts Building 171's link to ALS."

 There was no mention of a study of the connection between ALS and Building 375 ... because there has been no such study.

 And there won't be.

 Ever.

 Air Force officials wouldn't be able to keep straight faces if they announced that a building with depleted uranium contamination in its cracks was "healthy."

 On second thought ...

 I take that back.

 They could do it.

 To contact Roddy Stinson, call (210) 250-3155, or e-mail rstinson@express-news.net.

 08/30/2001



Commento: ALS, una nuova malattia candidata per l'uranio impoverito?