Merkley Statement on Hexavalent Chromium Registry for Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that they will be establishing the Hexavalent Chromium Registry to track the special health concerns of veterans who may have been exposed to hexavalent chromium during their military service. Senator Merkley released the following statement:

“The establishment of this registry will help our service members who were subjected to harmful toxins while protecting our country overseas get the necessary medical help and attention they deserve.  Over the last year, I have met with Oregon National Guard troops who were exposed to hexavalent chromium while serving at the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility in Iraq in 2003.   Last summer, I listened as these veterans testified to members of Congress about the health impacts of the toxic materials to which they were exposed.  I have been moved by the suffering they continue to experience because of the poor environmental standards to which they were subjected while serving in Iraq.

“It was Oregon soldiers who took the risk in bringing litigation against the practices of contractors in Iraq and first brought to light the widespread problems of hexavalent chromium.  It’s been an honor to work with them and I’ll continue to fight for them.  The veterans who have been in contact with hexavalent chromium still face an uphill battle, but this registry is a critical step towards getting them the medical care and justice they deserve.”