Exposure to Chromium (VI) Paint Linked to Cancer

In a major scandal for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), soldiers from the Royal Tank Regiment are suing the MoD due to exposure to toxic paint containing chromium (VI), a known carcinogen. This hazardous paint was used on military vehicles, including Challenger 2 tanks and armoured personnel carriers, until January 2019.  The legal action has come from earlier multi-party action against the MOD for causing cancer due to helicopter fume exposure, see are previous article: Compensation against the MOD for cancer, helicopter toxic fumes.

Health Impacts and Legal Action

Soldiers and personnel who worked with this paint are now suffering from cancers such as Hodgkin lymphoma and lung cancer. Lawyers argue that the MoD was aware of the risks associated with chromium (VI) for nearly two decades but failed to inform soldiers or provide adequate protective measures.

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Historical Awareness and Regulatory Failures

The dangers of chromium (VI), also known as hexavalent chromium, have been recognised since at least July 2000, when the American Journal of Industrial Medicine reported an increase in lung cancer among those exposed to the chemical. Despite an EU directive in 2003 banning chromium (VI) from most manufacturing processes, the British military continued using the paint until the 2019 deadline.

Military and International Reactions

The lawsuit follows a similar case where over 100 military pilots and aircrew sued the MoD after developing cancer due to exposure to toxic fumes from aircraft. Internationally, other military forces have also faced scrutiny and legal action over chromium (VI) paint. In 2018, the Netherlands apologised to its personnel affected by the paint, and in 2012, American troops won a lawsuit against a defence contractor for exposure to chromium paint in Iraq.

Calls for Accountability and Reform

Martin Docherty-Hughes, an SNP candidate, criticised the MoD for its historical neglect of armed forces’ health and safety and called for an independent review of the department’s safety systems. He advocates for comprehensive reforms to prioritise the well-being of MoD personnel.

MoD’s Response

The MoD claims to have implemented strict controls and monitoring where chromium (VI) is still used, particularly in aviation. A spokesperson emphasised that the safety of personnel is a top priority and highlighted ongoing reviews of health and safety policies.

Legal Action Against the MOD

As more soldiers come forward, the legal and ethical responsibilities of the MoD remain under intense scrutiny. This case underlines the critical need for transparency and proactive measures to protect military personnel from hazardous exposures.

As a law firm specialising in cancer claims and disease litigation we are able to help you take action against the MOD if they have failed in their duty to you to protect you against harmful exposure to fumes.

Further Reading on MOD Cancer Claims

Claims against MOD Cancer Exposure to Fumes

Claims against MOD exposure to Chromium Paint

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