Soldiers Not Safe from Asbestos in Barracks

Four soldiers in the 82nd Airborne from Fort Bragg in North Carolina are being monitored for asbestos exposure after they were ordered to pull up supply room tiles laden with asbestos without protective gear or training to preserve their health. One of the soldiers, Jason Colchiski, sent a tile to his father, who had it tested. The results showed that the asbestos in the tile exceeded the federal limit by 25 times. Once his complaints were heard, Jason Colchiski was taken off of the clean-up detail, but another soldier was put in his place with no precautions being taken against asbestos exposure . Colchiski’s father, Evon, wants his son’s commanders to be held responsible for putting the health of his son and others in the clean-up detail in jeopardy.

He is concerned about the health effects the asbestos tile removal could have on his son and the other soldiers on the detail in the future. Exposure to asbestos fibers or particles can plant the seeds in one’s lungs which emerge decades later as any of a large number of asbestos-related diseases. A scarring of the lungs, known as asbestosis, is one of the most common effects of asbestos, but this condition is also seen as a precursor to other more serious ailments such as a variety of lung cancers and mesothelioma. Complaints about the dangerous practice have stopped the unsafe cleaning, and the area of the 82 barracks under question has been sealed to prevent contamination to others, but this is not the first issue the 82nd Airborne has faced concerning the accommodations of the soldiers. In April of 2008, just eight months before the asbestos incident, a soldier complaining to his family led to the discovery of unsanitary living conditions including missing and broken toilets. This led to the Army conducting a survey of all living quarters for its soldiers.