The Eighth US Army Division Discharged Toxic Fluid (Formaldehyde) into the Han-River

On February 9th, in the US Eighth Army Mortuary Building 5498, 20 boxes of toxic fluids used for embalming, formaldehyde and methanol, were dumped without any detoxification in a drain.  Mr. Albert L. McFarland GS-11, DAC, after issuing an order to pour these fluids down the drain, was refused by his subordinate on the basis that the drain led to the Han River, and that the chemicals are known to cause cancer and birth defects.  Mr. McFarland swore at the soldier, and ordered him to execute the order. Although Mr. McFarland, the subdirector of the mortuary, was required to send the boxes to the American base in Okinawa, the boxes were covered in dust, and he ordered the chemicals to be poured down the drain.

This case was reported to the 34th Headquarters of the Eighth Division in a statement made May 15 by the soldier who executed the order.  On July 10th, the 34th Headquarters concluded that, 'there was no problem if the chemicals were diluted with water'.  The soldier, after having disposed of the chemicals, had headaches and nausea, and was given three weeks sick leave.  Formaldehyde is a very toxic chemical and the case was brought to attention by the soldier taking sick leave.

Even though the soldier's sick leave was reported, the 34th Headquarters concluded and announced (internally) that 'the dilution of the chemicals posed no threat to the body, and that since the Han River would dilute the chemicals, there would be no problem.'  In outrage, a worker reported the events to Green Korea United.

In confirming the case, we obtained some bottles of formaldehyde, pictures of the event and official documents relating to the events.

Formaldehyde is a colorless, pungent, and irritating gas CH2O used chiefly in aqueous solution as a disinfectant and preservative and in chemical synthesis.  Formalin is a clear aqueous solution of formaldehyde containing a small amount of methanol.  According to the 1981 Schenke Report, anyone exposed to formaldehyde will have symptoms of emotional anxiousness, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating.  Liquid exposure of formaldehyde kills aquatic life; 50-100 ppm is a lethal dose for fish.  If humans are exposed to as little as 30 ppm of this liquid, illness symptoms result; if exposed to 100 ppm for over 1 minute, serious damage can be caused. Normally, doctors use formalin for preservation, the fluid is used in autopsies and it serves as an embalming agent.  According to one American statistic, it is estimated that 1,400,000 medical, biology, and nursing students have been intermittently exposed to formaldehyde.  As a result, in a study conducted of anatomists, pathologists, and researchers that preserve specimens, have high rates of brain cancer, cancer of the large intestine, and leukemia (Human Study).

The Korean Ministry of Environments <Notice of Observations and Specifications of Toxic Fluids and Matter> designates formaldehyde as a toxic matter; inhalation, swallowing, and skin or eye contact can be extremely harmful.  The notice goes on to say that formaldehyde is very harmful for the environment, specifically aquatic life forms, and is highly poisonous.  As a highly harmfully chemical matter, the notice stipulates that persons managing and disposing of formaldehyde abide by the Waste Management Law.

Experts say that if formaldehyde, in its liquid state, is disposed of in the drain, the gas disassociates and can spread through the drainage system.  Of course, if people are exposed to gas from the drainage system, serious illness could result.  Formaldehyde can be diluted by water, but that does not change the toxicity of the substance.  Formaldehyde is used by the US military to embalm deceased soldiers, before they are sent back to the US.

The formaldehyde referred to above can only be disposed of by the Pump  System in Okinawa.  This case is proof that the US military has ignored their own rules.

The Toxic Chemicals Released by the US Army Eighth Division Mortuary:

-  Chemical Name:  Introfiant Arterial Permacav Fifty
-  Company Name:  The Dodge Chemical Co.
-  Known worldwide, the Dodge Chemical Co. established in 1893 for production of embalming fluids
-  Homepage:  http://www.dodgeco.com/
-  Chemical Name:  Powertone
-  Company Name:  Pierce Chemicals / Royal Bond

This case serves as an exemplar for how the US and US military is deceiving, purposefully or not, the Korea and its people.  In the last US military bombing incident, the US military reported that there was no damage caused.  They asserted that the American bases in Korea caused no harm or damage to the environment, and that the US military is abiding by US EPA regulations, and that it is environmentally much safer than Korean bases or companies.  However, the fact that the US military is disposing of toxic fluids such as formaldehyde in the Han River, where 10 million people use it for household use, is in itself an outrage and mockery to the Korean people.


※ Our Request

We once again strongly protest against the US, its military and the Korean government.

First, Mr. Albert L. McFarland, the most responsible for disposing the toxic fluid should be punished by the law.

Second, Thomas A. Schwartz, the Head Commanding officer, should formally apologize to the Korean people and promise to prevent similar events from recurrence.

Third, environmental issues have to be included in SOFA.
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Posted by GreenKorea
0  :  3
  1. 2012.07.06 12:00 신고
    댓글 주소 수정/삭제 댓글
    것이라는 3 시간 . 반환에서 이 사이트를 읽을 자
  2. 2013.01.15 18:48 신고
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    이트를 읽을 자not seen by a director of the day. Drop out of school such as sharpening stone, not see damage on some of its losses.
  3. 2013.05.11 19:45 신고
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    감사합니다 .. 사랑 놀이 게임 :

               

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