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Nov-01-2010 22:18printcomments

Veterans Kept in the Dark Over Chemical Exposure

As it turns out, thousands of veterans and their dependents lived and worked on military installations that are now listed as EPA Superfund sites.

El Toro logo patch
El Toro was once a proud Marine aviation base; today it is a demolished wreck. At any rate, the ground was terribly polluted over the years and many have paid the ultimate price over it.

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - DOD is the biggest owner of EPA Superfund sites. The contaminants and health effects of exposure are published on the EPA Superfund website.

A simple website hyperlink to military installations on the National Priority List (EPA Superfund), identifying the contaminants and health effects can save lives, but no one seems interested in setting up this hyperlink.

Veterans of military installations currently on the National Priority List (EPA Superfund) need to know the contaminants of concern (COC) found on these sites and the health effects of exposure to receive proper medical treatment.   

Exposure to COC’s can cause serious medical conditions, including cancer and death. Veterans with serious medical conditions who were stationed on an EPA Superfund installation need to share this information with their medical care provider. This is not about collecting a VA disability compensation, but about helping veterans “connect the dots of serious illness” to military service and giving information to their health care providers that could save their lives.

Superfund is the environmental program established to address hazardous waste sites. It is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA statute, CERCLA overview).

CERCLA was passed into law in the wake of the discovery of toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal and Times Beach in the 1970s, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

No one in their right mind would voluntarily live and work on a Superfund site. For the most part, veterans are not provided the choice of military assignments. Many of the installations on the NPL were constructed during WW II and experienced decades of environmental contamination.

DOD has spent and continues to spend millions in the clean-up of contaminated sites.

With exception of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, DOD has no means of readily contacting veterans separated from military service for years and even decades.

Congress mandated that the Navy and Marine Corps contact veterans of Camp Lejeune regarding the contamination of the base wells.

As it turns out, thousands of veterans and their dependents lived and worked on military installations that are now listed as EPA Superfund sites. No one has notified these men and women that they are at risk for possible exposure to contaminants.

EPA lists 130 military installations as Superfund sites, including the Contaminants of Concern (COC’s) with a hyperlink to the health effects of exposure.

According to EPA, “COC’s are the chemical substances found at the site that the EPA has determined pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. These are the substances that are addressed by cleanup actions at the site.

Identifying COCs is a process where the EPA identifies people and ecological resources that could be exposed to contamination found at the site, determines the amount and type of contaminants present, and identifies the possible negative human health or ecological effects that could result from contact with the contaminants.”

Access to the COC’s and their health effects can easily be obtained from EPA’s Superfund website, if you know where to look and, if you know that you may have been exposed to one or more of the contaminants.

The first page of every EPA Superfund website contains a site progress profile, including important information on contamination.  Under the caption “Contamination,” a reader can quickly access all of the site’s COC’s with a hyperlink the health effects as determined by the Agency for Toxic Substances Health Registry (ATSDR), the Federal agency responsible for performing public health assessments of EPA Superfund sites.  

The Veterans Administration and the Veterans Service Organizations (VSO’s) have the capability to establish a website hyperlink to the list of EPA Superfunds that are military installations.  

Legislation may be needed to require the VA to establish a website hyperlink.  The VA is not looking for more clients so I doubt if they would be interested in promulgating this information.  On the other hand, VSO’s exist solely to service the needs of their membership or at least, that’s the theory.  The VSO’s, many with excellent websites, could easily establish a hyperlink on their own authority.    

Our review of the 45 VSO’s chartered by Congress or authorized by the VA to represent VA claimants showed that many have excellent websites but NONE PROVIDED ACCESS TO THIS IMPORTANT HEALTH INFORMATION.  

If you are a member of one of the following VSO’s chartered by Congress or recognized by the VA to represent VA claimants, take a few minutes to email your organization, asking them to help to save veterans’ lives by establishing a link to the military installations that are EPA Superfund sites.  The life you save may literally be your own. 

African Amer. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Assoc.
Air Force Sergeants Association
American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor
American Ex-Prisoners of War
American GI Forum of the United States
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
American Legion
American Red Cross
American War Mothers
Armed Forces Services Corporation
Army and Navy Union, USA, Inc.
Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America
Blinded Veterans Association
Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc.
Catholic War Veterans, USA, Inc.
Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America
Disabled American Veterans
Fleet Reserve Association
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
Italian American War Veterans of the USA
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Korean War Veterans Association, Inc.
Legion of Valor of the USA, Inc.
Marine Corps League
Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America
Military Officers Association of America
Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., Inc.
Military Order of the World Wars
National Amputation Foundation, Inc.
National Association for Black Veterans, Inc.
National Association of County Veterans Service Officers, Inc.
National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA)
National Veterans Legal Services Program
National Veterans Organization of America (NOVA)
Navy Club of the United States of America
Navy Mutual Aid Association
Non Commissioned Officers Association
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Inc.
Polish Legion of American Veterans, USA
Reserve Officers Association of the United States
Swords to Plowshares: Veterans Rights Organization
The Retired Enlisted Association
United Spinal Association
United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.
US Submarine Veterans of World War II
Veterans Assistance Foundation, Inc.
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc./Vets. Coalition
Veterans of World War I of the USA, Inc.
Vietnam Veterans of America
Women`s Army Corps Veterans Association
Wounded Warrior Project

I’ve listed the military installations that are EPA Superfund sites by military service below.  Please pass this information on to a veteran. 


US Air Force

Air Force Plant #4 (General Dynamics) Fort Worth TX
Air Force Plant 85 Columbus OH
Air Force Plant PJKS Littleton CO
American Lake Gardens/McChord AFB Tacoma WA
Andersen Air Force Base Yigo GU
Andrews Air Force Base Andrews Air Force Base MD
Arnold Engineering Development Center (USAF) Tullahoma/Manchester TN
Brandywine DRMO Brandywine MD
Castle Air Force Base (6 Areas) Merced CA
Chanute Air Force Base Rantoul IL
Dover Air Force Base Dover DE
Edwards Air Force Base Edwards AFB CA
Eielson Air Force Base Fairbanks AK
Ellsworth Air Force Base Ellsworth AFB SD
Elmendorf Air Force Base Anchorage AK
F.E. Warren Air Force Base Cheyenne WY
Fairchild Air Force Base (4 Waste Areas) Spokane WA
George Air Force Base Victorville CA
Griffiss Air Force Base (11 Areas) Rome NY
Hanscom Field/Hanscom Air Force Base Bedford MA
Hill Air Force Base Hill AFB UT
Homestead Air Force Base Homestead Air Force Base FL
Loring Air Force Base Limestone ME
Luke Air Force Base Glendale AZ
March Air Force Base Riverside CA
Mather Air Force Base (AC&W Disposal Site) Mather CA
McChord Air Force Base (Wash Rack/Treatment Area) Tacoma WA
McClellan Air Force Base (Ground Water Contamination) McClellan AFB CA
McGuire Air Force Base #1 Wrightstown NJ
Mountain Home Air Force Base Mountain Home ID
Norton Air Force Base (Lndfll #2) San Bernardino CA
Pease Air Force Base Portsmouth/Newington NH
Plattsburgh Air Force Base Plattsburgh NY
Rickenbacker Air National Guard (USAF) Lockbourne OH
Robins Air Force Base (Landfill #4/Sludge Lagoon) Houston County GA
Tinker Air Force Base (Soldier Creek/Building 3001) Oklahoma City OK
Travis Air Force Base Travis AFB CA
Twin Cities Air Force Reserve Base (Small Arms Range Landfill) Minneapolis MN
Tyndall Air Force Base Panama City FL
Williams Air Force Base Chandler AZ
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Dayton OH
Wurtsmith Air Force Base Oscoda MI

US Army

Aberdeen Proving Ground (Edgewood Area) Edgewood MD
Aberdeen Proving Ground (Michaelsville Landfill) Aberdeen MD
Alabama Army Ammunition Plant Childersburg AL
Anniston Army Depot (Southeast Industrial Area) Anniston AL
Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant Hall County NE
Fort Devens Fort Devens MA
Fort Devens-Sudbury Training Annex Sudbury MA
Fort Dix (Landfill Site) Pemberton Township NJ
Fort Eustis (US Army) Newport News VA
Fort George G. Meade Odenton MD
Fort Lewis (Landfill No. 5) Tacoma WA
Fort Lewis Logistics Center Tillicum WA
Fort Ord Marina CA
Fort Richardson (USARMY) Anchorage AK
Fort Riley Junction City KS
Fort Wainwright Fort Wainwright AK
Iowa Army Ammunition Plant Middletown IA
Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (Load-Assembly-Packing Area) Joliet IL
Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (Manufacturing Area) Joliet IL
Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (Northwest Lagoon) Independence MO
Letterkenny Army Depot (PDO Area) Franklin County PA
Letterkenny Army Depot (SE Area) Chambersburg PA
Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant Texarkana TX
Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant Karnack TX
Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant Doyline LA
Materials Technology Laboratory (USARMY) Watertown MA
Milan Army Ammunition Plant Milan TN
Natick Laboratory Army Research, Development, and Engineering Center Natick MA
New Brighton/Arden Hills/TCAAP (USARMY) New Brighton MN
Picatinny Arsenal (USARMY) Rockaway Township NJ
Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant Riverbank CA
Rocky Mountain Arsenal (USARMY) Adams County CO
Sacramento Army Depot Sacramento CA
Savanna Army Depot Activity Savanna IL
Schofield Barracks (USARMY) Schofield HI
Seneca Army Depot Romulus NY
Sharpe Army Depot Lathrop CA
Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant Desoto KS
Tobyhanna Army Depot Tobyhanna PA
Tooele Army Depot (North Area) Tooele UT
Tracy Defense Depot (USARMY) Tracy CA
Umatilla Army Depot (Lagoons) Hermiston OR
US Army/NASA Redstone Arsenal Huntsville AL
Weldon Spring Former Army Ordnance Works St. Charles County MO
West Virginia Ordnance (USARMY) Point Pleasant WV

US Coast Guard

Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard Baltimore MD

US Navy - US Marine Corps

Adak Naval Air Station Adak AK
Alameda Naval Air Station Alameda CA
Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (USNAVY) Mineral County WV
Bangor Naval Submarine Base Silverdale WA
Bangor Ordnance Disposal (USNAVY) Bremerton WA
Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow CA
Brunswick Naval Air Station Brunswick ME
Camp Lejeune Military Res. (USNAVY) Onslow County NC
Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton CA
Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station Havelock NC
Concord Naval Weapons Station Concord CA
Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center North Kingstown RI
El Toro Marine Corps Air Station El Toro CA
Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head MD
Jackson Park Housing Complex (USNAVY) Kitsap County WA
Jacksonville Naval Air Station Jacksonville FL
Marine Corps Combat Development Command Quantico VA
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany GA
Moffett Naval Air Station Moffett Field CA
Naval Air Development Center (8 Waste Areas) Warminster Township PA
Naval Air Engineering Center Lakehurst NJ
Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island (Ault Field) Whidbey Island WA
Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island (Seaplane Base) Whidbey Island WA
Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Virginia Beach VA
Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Eastern Pacific Wahiawa HI
Naval Industrial Reserve Ordnance Plant Fridley MN
Naval Security Group Activity Sabana Seca PR
Naval Surface Warfare Center – Dahlgren Dahlgren VA
Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station (4 Waste Areas) Keyport WA
Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant Bedford MA
Naval Weapons Station – Yorktown Yorktown VA
Naval Weapons Station Earle (Site A) Colts Neck NJ
Navy Ships Parts Control Center Mechanicsburg PA
New London Submarine Base New London CT
Newport Naval Education & Training Center Newport RI
Norfolk Naval Base (Sewells Point Naval Complex) Norfolk VA
Norfolk Naval Shipyard Portsmouth VA
NWS Yorktown – Cheatham Annex Yorktown VA
Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island SC
Patuxent River Naval Air Station Patuxent River MD
Pearl Harbor Naval Complex Pearl Harbor HI
Pensacola Naval Air Station Pensacola FL
Port Hadlock Detachment (USNAVY) Indian Island WA
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Kittery ME
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Complex Bremerton WA
South Weymouth Naval Air Station Weymouth MA
St. Juliens Creek Annex (U.S. Navy) Chesapeake VA
Treasure Island Naval Station-Hunters Point Annex San Francisco CA
USN Air Station Cecil Field Jacksonville FL
Washington Navy Yard Washington DC
Whiting Field Naval Air Station Milton FL
Willow Grove Naval Air and Air Reserve Station Horsham PA
Yuma Marine Corps Air Station Yuma AZ

Search for Superfund Sites Where You Live:


Bob O’Dowd is a former U.S. Marine with thirty years of experience on the east coast as an auditor, accountant, and financial manager with the Federal government. Originally from Pennsylvania, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 19, served in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings in 52 months of active duty in the 1960s.

This subject is where Bob intersected with Bob served in the exact same Marine Aviation Squadron that Salem-News founder Tim King served in, twenty years earlier. With their combined on-site knowledge and research ability, Bob and Tim and a handful of other ex-Marines, have put the contamination of MCAS El Toro on the map.

El Toro, a Superfund site, was closed in '99, and most of the former base sold by the Navy at a public auction in '05. The base is highly contaminated with organic solvents like trichloroethane (TCE) and other chemicals of concern. No veteran, dependent or civilian employee was informed of their possible exposure to toxic chemicals and their health effects.

You can reach Bob O’Dowd, Environmental and Military Reporter, here:; or email Bob O’Dowd, Environmental and Military Reporter, at this address:

Source: Special Features Dept.


Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Dudley Barber July 24, 2022 4:45 pm (Pacific time)

The Schofield Barrack HI link is broken

My email is
I was stationed st Schofield from December 1991 till Dec to Dec 1994.
EDITOR: Thank you, the link is now working

Robert D Webb June 16, 2022 1:09 pm (Pacific time)

Link to Cherry Point MCAS Havelock, NC is not working.

EDITOR: Thank you, the link is now working

Mark DAV April 28, 2022 5:21 pm (Pacific time)

The link for Norton AFB is not working, I was stationed there 1/1/1978 to 12/26/1980, I was an Air Cargo Spec and in charge of Passengers and cargo that moved throughout the branches of service. I at one time had an article about the storage and shipping both in and out of Norton of Agent Orange, It got lost when my computer crashed.

 EDITOR: Thank you, the link is now working 

Anonymous December 3, 2021 12:19 am (Pacific time)

The link for ft wainwright is broken.

EDITOR: Thank you, the link is now working 

Brian E February 22, 2021 1:06 pm (Pacific time)

I have a Marine Veteran Im working with who served at NWSE.. He has Leukemia which I can connect but also Parkinson's. He served 75-79 at Earl and according to other sources, AO was Stored and/or tested there. Any other Veterans serve there have Parkinson's?

Anonymous February 3, 2021 6:55 pm (Pacific time)

Looking for a corrected link for Loring AFB please. They were due to shut down in the late 1980s with water contamination but was kept open for Desert Shield/Storm then...I was there until 93. After the bombers also bombed in Iraq and landed in Diego with fallout on the skin-maintenamce had no protection, just turned the planes around again. We know from VN that AO cant be washed off a/c skin. This had to add to Loring AFB's already toxic environment

Norm Cooper November 14, 2020 4:56 pm (Pacific time)

Cannot open link to USN airstation Cecil Field, Jacksonville FL Where do I locate this information? thanks

EDITOR: The link has been corrected, but here it is, as well: .

Anonymous August 4, 2020 10:44 am (Pacific time)

The link to US Air Force, Castle AFB, Merced California does not work.

 EDITOR: The link has been corrected.  Here it is, as well: 

PRandall June 28, 2020 8:54 am (Pacific time)

Posted a comment previously about loring afb, on this list I was also stationed at Chanute afb, where toxic chems were disposed in barrels in the lake on base it is now shut down. Also stationed at Eielson afb and mountain Home afb, hmmm guess I’m in for a healthy life, not

PRandall June 28, 2020 8:49 am (Pacific time)

I was stationed at loring afb in 1981 and had massive exposure to asbestos. I remember the pipes covered with a asbestos wrapping in dorms and in the tunnels around base. I even remember the pipes shaking and would wake up in the morning and the bed covered in white powder. And walking through the tunnels to different areas on base it was always clouded with white dust. Now I have numerous nodules in my lungs and skin cancer. I believe it is related.

Pierre Chaney April 3, 2019 7:09 pm (Pacific time)

How can Seneca Army Depot be on this list, and Sierra Army Depot not? Or Ft. McClellan, Ala not???

Larry A Pianzio June 7, 2018 7:35 am (Pacific time)

As a recip. mech. from 1972 -1975 at McCullan AFB I sure wash and stored a lot of C 123 Eng. Now I lost my prostate to cancer and have Hep C and kick to the curb.

patrick denny September 17, 2016 8:39 pm (Pacific time)

In the summer of 1972 I was at marbo annex,Anderson air base,Gaum. I have sense had bladder cancer. I wonder if the drinking water there could be the cause?

Doug D January 22, 2016 6:34 pm (Pacific time)

I served at F E Warren from Jan 83 thrust Oct 84. I lived in the dorms and worked in the WSA. I also spent my final year at Loring AFB. Both are on the EPA superfund list. While at Warren I was hospitalized several times as well as seen at sick call for abdominal pain. Since my separation my health has been gradually declining with more than a dozen illness's that are connected to a autoimmune disease called sjogrens syndrome. This disease is connected with exposure to several chemicals released at these bases. In 1984 i witnessed personnel in chem suits trapping small animals around the WSA at Warren AFB. They were carrying geiger counters as well. Nothing was ever said about this and it stayed in the back of my mind for years. As I was getting more sick i asked several doctors if there could be a connection from working around nuclear weapons, never thinking about chemicals until I came across the epa list. I could use help with an appeal if anyone else from these bases witnessed the trapping or is suffering illness. We need to help each other with these cases. Thanks for reading my venting......Doug!

jeff s, harwell August 15, 2012 12:36 pm (Pacific time)

i was born at clark a.f.b. philippines august 1964. was chemicals used there im a veteran in the us army as a baby i had kidney and skin problems and now as aduilt heart kidney liver problems could they sprayed chems at clark a.f.b.?

Anonymous November 3, 2010 7:44 am (Pacific time)

I am wondering if theree is a link also to or regarding Edgewood Aresonal over in Desert Rock, Nevada as I am battling this same issue with the VA right now about this paticular installation and what all was tested there between 1956-66. I know what I was Told by my father who was there, but I need to Prove it now fo service connected death. Any help or directio you could give or point, I would so Greatly appreciate it! Great work in this, and thank you so much for answering the call and fighting for our nation! God Bless you sir! Have a good day, and please let me know what if anything you can - thanks again! Joy

Jim Davis, Veterans-For-Change November 2, 2010 1:01 pm (Pacific time)

Excellent article... I'd be interested in hearing the replies from the various VSO's as to why they don't help Veterans via publishing information on their websites. After all, their mission statements clearly state their purpose and mission to help Veterans, so where is this help?

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