[ RadSafe ] Former Boeing Employee Joins the Anti-DU Bandwagon

Roger Helbig rhelbig at california.com
Sat Apr 14 22:46:23 CDT 2007

Looks like another person has found that there is "gold" in "depleted uranium" .. wonder what symptoms he claims to be suffering from

Insider Contradicts Boeing Statements
by: Kirt Ramirez 

A Boeing insider has come forward to reveal what he knows about Boeing's past use of depleted uranium at the former C-1 facility in Long Beach.

The source, who still works for Boeing, fears retaliation by the company and has requested anonymity. The Beachcomber has verified the source's credentials and will protect the source's identity under the state shield law and First Amendment of the US Constitution. 

The source speaks of having ground and filed depleted uranium during the mid 1980s in a subassembly area of Building 80, on Lakewood Blvd. between Carson and Conant St.

The source told the Beachcomber this:
"Three or four times over the course of a year, I was asked to fit depleted uranium counterweights to various flight surface assemblies. The hole spacing in the weights did not match that of the attachment bolts, so we had to elongate the holes by using a hand file or a rotary file and drill motor. We were given no special instructions on how to protect ourselves or our community at large from the waste we generated by filing the weights."

The information provided by the source contradicts Boeing's previous statements that the weights "were not chemically, physically, or metallurgically treated or manufactured at the site," which Boeing told the California Regional Water Quality Control Board during a meeting on Jan. 17, 2006. 

The meeting was in response to a complaint from a member of the public, Kirt Ramirez, who told the water board on Jan. 13, 2006 that he believes Boeing exposed him to uranium, a rare element, while living near the plant from 1999 to 2002. Ramirez has since become a reporter and is the writer of this article.

Meanwhile, the Boeing insider told the Beachcomber that on or around Jan. 13, 2006, a Boeing staffer walked on the shop floor to question employees about the past use of depleted uranium at the site. The source wanted to speak with the staffer and found him sometime later that day.

"That afternoon I had to actively seek him out to tell him that I had indeed filed depleted uranium at the site. He told me this was in regard to an inquiry by a 'community group.' I do not know who that individual was, but Boeing knows who they sent to the shop floor that day," the source said.

Shortly thereafter, the source told other Boeing officials about the past handling of depleted uranium and made formal requests to find out what Boeing had told the "community group" about the use of the material at the site.

Depleted uranium is slightly radioactive and has a half-life of 4.5 billion years according to scientific reports.

"Over the course of two months, I made a diligent and concerted effort to tell Boeing the truth about my personal use of depleted uranium at the site. I spoke with the legal department, three Boeing ethics advisers and a Boeing spokeswoman. All of these Boeing entities and individuals knew that I had filed depleted uranium at the site and none of them were forthcoming with the information that I had formally requested.

"I got the message loud and clear: I was being stonewalled, so I left it at that," the source said.
Over one year later, on Apr. 2, 2007, the source read a Beachcomber newspaper referencing stories printed about Boeing's past use of depleted uranium. He was intrigued.

The source called the Beachcomber office to speak with the writer of the articles and an appointment was set to meet at the newsroom the following morning. The reporter showed the source public letters written about Boeing, indicating that Boeing never ground or filed uranium at the site, which the source described as "disturbing."

"According to my timeline, it appears that these statements by Boeing were made after my substantial effort to inform Boeing officials that I did indeed file the depleted uranium at the site," the source said.
But the depleted uranium matter is a secondary issue to what the source considers a bigger problem of chromium 6 usage in the past. The movie "Erin Brokovich" was based on that chemical. 

Past chromium 6 contamination at Boeing was proven and resulted in remediation, in which toxic soil was removed and dumped into a hazardous waste landfill, according to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. 
The source spoke of knowing four people who worked on the C-17 who are currently in the advanced stages of cancer.
The source is also worried that a cancer cluster may exist within Boeing and that many past employees who die, appear to die from cancer.

However, Lea Brooks of the California Dept. of Health Services said, "Cancer clusters are extremely difficult to prove, in fact they are rarely proven." 

Brooks said anyone concerned that Boeing may be contributing to cancer may report their findings to their local health department. The state health department will get involved only at the request of the local health department. 

The Long Beach Health Department can be reached at (562) 570-4000.

Katherine Spangle, spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society, says cancer is common, and estimates California will have 151,250 new cases of cancer in 2007.

"Cancer is quite common," Spangle said. "About two in five will get cancer in California." But she added that for two years now, both cancer incidents and mortality have declined across the country.

Meanwhile, a woman, Sherri, called the writer of this article to say that her "man friend" has "uranium poisoning" and works for "Boeing in Long Beach." The man is afraid to speak with the Beachcomber because he still works for Boeing, Sherri said. The woman identified herself but would not identify the man.

And a woman who said she works for Boeing called the Beachcomber to inquire about depleted uranium and to report that she is a cancer survivor. The woman gave her full name, but wanted to remain anonymous for the article. 
And a man, Ed Olson, who says he is connected with Boeing wrote an e-mail to express concerns about the potential of the heavy metal cadmium being present at Boeing, since it is a known carcinogen and because he says he has Boeing colleagues who have prostate cancer.

Meanwhile, during the week of Apr. 5, 2007, the writer of this article e-mailed the following questions to Boeing:
"How does the remediation process for the Douglas Park project work? Where does the contaminated soil go? Did the EIR include testing the soil and groundwater for uranium? Has the Douglas Park project been put on hold? If so, when will the project resume?

"When did McDonnell Douglas/Boeing start using depleted uranium at the C-1 facility? I understand they stopped using the material in 1992.

"When Boeing sweeps or cleans the shop floors, where is the dust and waste disposed, and how? Did McDonnell Douglas bury waste in the past in or around what is today Boeing property in East Long Beach?"

Boeing responded with a statement, which had already been publicly released on Apr. 2, on Monday, Apr. 9: "The Boeing Company (Boeing) is committed to safe development of the Douglas Park project. Boeing is in the process of developing a sampling plan with State agency involvement to address the recent concerns raised related to the use of depleted uranium counterweights in aircraft assembled at the former C-1 Facility.

"This sampling plan will be based on a review of historical processes at the facility. A meeting has been scheduled with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Radiation Management unit on Apr. 4, 2007. A status update will be provided to the City Council after this meeting. 

"Boeing is dedicated to completing the appropriate action in a timely manner with agency involvement and oversight. It is currently anticipated that several weeks will be required to outline the sampling plan elements and obtain conceptual agreement from the involved agencies. At that time, an implementation plan and schedule will be communicated to the City Council."

The two-part Beachcomber expose, published Mar. 2 and 16, that resulted in the above actions being taken may be found online at www.longbeachcomber.com, in print at the Beachcomber office, or at any Long Beach library. 
Ramirez can be reached at kirtramirez at hotmail.com.


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