May 5, 2015

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Instances of Military Involvement with PCBs

Focusing on two instances of the military’s involvement with PCBs results in notable findings. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are organic compounds proven to cause harmful side effects to those whom are exposed to it. In the 1950s, the Navy ran tests on a hydraulic fluid that contained PCBs. Information acquired from this test provided useful and was acted upon. Secondly, anyone at the military base of Fort McClellan in Alabama could have been potentially exposed to the chemical.

Because chemical waste and weapons were deposited at Fort McClellan Army base, those who were stationed there were exposed to their harmful side effects. According to The Fort McLellan Registry Act, any military personnel stationed at Fort McClellan could have been exposed to Monsanto PCBs through contamination of the air. Monsanto is an agriculture company that manufactures products for farmers, however used PCBs in their production. Because of this, people who were at the base are posed to experiencing the side effects of PCBs; these include liver disease, lesser IQ in children, heart disease, and tumor formation.

While the first instance of PCB exposure involved potentially affected people at a specific base, the next regards a decision made by the Navy as a whole. Hydraulic and coolant fluids are widely used in United States Military operations. In the 1950s, Pydraul 150, produced by Monsanto, was proposed for potential use in submarine operations.

Pydraul 150 contains polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are organic compounds proven to cause detrimental health effects. After the Navy conducted internal tests on the hydraulic fluid, they concluded that it caused death and liver damage to the rabbits they tested. After their analysis, they rejected the use and endorsement of Monsanto’s fluid for their intended purpose.

There are innumerable instances in which military personnel can come into contact with PCBs. However, when possible, it is imperative to take action against coming into contact with the harmful toxin. Whether it is through following health regulations, or acquiring products that are manufactured responsibly, any company or institution can limit their employers from being affected by PCBs.

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