U.S. senators demand answers from Army
after Reuters report on lead poisoning
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[August 20, 2018]
By Andrea Januta and Joshua Schneyer
(Reuters) - Four U.S. senators on Friday
urged the Army to detail the steps it is taking to safeguard children
from lead poisoning, citing a Reuters investigation into hazards on
"We write to you today concerned about recent reports of lead poisoning
at a number of Army installations," the senators wrote. "The health and
safety of our servicemembers and their families are of the utmost
The letter, written by Democratic Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of
Virginia, along with Republican Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson
of Georgia, came a day after Reuters reported that more than 1,000 young
children tested at military clinics had elevated lead levels between
2011 and 2016.
The Reuters investigation also found that several military bases had not
been reporting children's blood test results to state health
departments, violating state laws and creating public health blind
spots. The Army said those test results are now being reported.
The lawmakers requested a detailed briefing on the Army's strategy to
keep military families safe and proposals for potential action from
"The Army's most valuable asset is its soldiers and their families, and
we honor the sacrifices they make to serve our nation," said Army
spokeswoman Colonel Kathleen Turner.
"We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment on all of
our installations, and to providing the highest quality of care to our
service members, their families and all those entrusted to our care."
As part of its examination, Reuters provided lead testing to families at
several U.S. bases, finding lead paint hazards in Georgia, Texas,
Kentucky and New York.
[to top of second column]
Swab tests at residences in Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S. reveal in
red the presence of lead in this undated handout photo obtained by
FOIA from the US Army, received by Reuters August 15, 2018. U.S.
Army FOIA/Handout via REUTERS
Senators Perdue and Isakson represent Georgia, where Reuters tested
five older homes at Fort Benning and found hazards in all five.
Senators Kaine and Warner represent Virginia, where a 2015 Defense
Department's Inspector General report had discovered lead hazards at
"We ask that you provide our offices with a detailed briefing as
soon as possible outlining the immediate and long-term mitigation
strategy to keep military families safe, provide medical treatment
for those potentially or previously affected, make long-lasting
repairs, and finally, provide legislative proposals or guidance on
legislation needed to hold maintenance contractors accountable," the
senators concluded in their letter.
(Reporting by Andrea Januta and Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Ronnie
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