IN Guardsmen sue defense contractor

By Nathan Ryder - bio | email
Posted by Melissa Greathouse - email

(WFIE) - More than a dozen Indiana National Guard soldiers have filed a federal lawsuit in court after being exposed to a harmful chemical in Iraq.

The soldiers say a defense contractor knowingly exposed them to a chemical called hexavalanet chromium.

The 32-page suit was filed in U.S. District Court Wednesday against KBR Incorporated. KBR is an engineering and construction firm that works as a contractor in Iraq for the Department of Defense.

Sixteen National Guardsmen from a Tell City based unit are suing KBR for being exposed to the chemical. According to the suit the chemical is one of the most potent cancer-causing substances known to man.

The suit says some of those Guardsmen now have tumors throughout their respiratory system. The 16 soldiers were exposed while protecting an Iraqi water pumping station shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2003.

KBR denies the allegations. A company statement says the safety of employees and troops is the company's top priority and that they don't condone any action that would compromise the safety of those it serves.