The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.
Tinker AFB – Jet Fuel
My husband John was a civilian working at Tinker AFB 1981-1999. John passed away in February 2000 after contacting brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme stage 4). His disease was discovered in March 1999. As a civilian he made sheet metal repairs on the B-52 aircraft for the DOD. He also worked on the flight line for several months and in a parts distribution unit.
Even though he wore the protective gear provided, he was exposed to jet fuel fumes. He even stated that he thought the planes may emit radiation. Before he passed away, he turned in a workers compensation claim that was subsequently denied. In the claim, John stated that he believed the cancer was caused by his employment.
- Author, Paula, resides in Oklahoma
Kadena – Toluene
I was stationed at Kadena, AFB in 1969. The B-52’s were bombing Vietnam. Twelve aircraft flew everyday with 88 bombs in the bomb bay and 24 on the wings. The MMS troops brought to my hanger racks of guns that contained a cartridge that fired a device to release the bombs on the wings, These long tubes with o-rings had to be cleaned every day with toluene.
We wore gloves but no masks. I’m glad we worked outside under a canopy. I don’t know what affect the toluene had on me. I breathed it in all day for almost a year. Well, I’m still alive. I would like to know if anyone else did this job? I was an AMMS troop – Airborne Missile Maintenance Squad. I went there to work on pylons but ended up cleaning.
- Author, Thomas, resides in Pennsylvania
Note from the Editor: The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.
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