Thu, Apr 30, 2009 - Page 6 News List

US soldiers suing Halliburton over toxic trash in Iraq

BLOOMBERG

US soldiers who say they were poisoned while serving in Iraq by smoke and ash from the burning of toxic trash sued Halliburton Co, KBR Inc and two of its Kellogg Brown & Root units.

KBR and Halliburton, hired by the US government to manage waste disposal at US military sites in Iraq, burned lithium batteries, munitions boxes, medical waste and human corpses in open-air pits from which the toxins were emitted, sickening the men, a complaint filed in an Illinois court said.

“Every type of waste imaginable was and is burned in those pits,” US Army soldiers David Lackey and Randall Robinson said in their complaint, which was filed on Tuesday.

Nine suits are being filed in state courts in Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina and Wyoming on behalf of 21 current and former military personnel, private contractors and the families of those who allegedly died as a result of the exposure, attorney Elizabeth Burke said yesterday.

“KBR has not reviewed the complaints and therefore we cannot comment on the specifics of the allegations,” Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for the Houston-based company, said in an e-mailed statement.

Cathy Gist-Mann, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said the company hadn’t been served with the lawsuits and that she couldn’t comment on specific allegations.

“If they are based on KBR activity in Iraq and Afghanistan, then we believe that Halliburton is improperly named,” she said in an e-mailed statement.

The lawsuit filed by Lackey and Robinson seeks class action, or group, status on behalf of soldiers and employees of all nationalities who worked for government contractors and were sickened by the smoke and ash from the pits.

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