America leaves Iraq a toxic legacy of dumped hazardous materials: report

Some of the dumped materials have labels identifying them as US military property or come with paperwork from the Department of Defence. The Times discovered a 2008 e-mail from Allied Chemical of Morristown, New Jersey, to Pentagon officials warning of hazardous effects.
A printout was attached to a discarded canister of sulphuric acid, a highly corrosive liquid used in wastewater treatment. It said of the substance: “Causes severe burns to skin and lungs … Get immediate medical attention … Use gas mask.”
As the majority of US troops depart from Iraq this year, hundreds of bases are being closed and all hazardous material is supposed to be either returned to the US by ship via the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr or recycled in specially built facilities in northern and western Iraq.
Brigadier-General Stephen Lanza, the US military spokesman in Baghdad, said: “We take this issue very seriously and want to solve the problem. There is a variety of ways in which this [dumping] could have happened. We are now putting a system into place. There is a lot of catching up to do.”
The spokesman will hold a press conference today to explain how the military intends to clean up after itself. He said: “There may have been things that were collected improperly. We will send teams through our dumps to see if there is anything in the wrong place.”


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