Report faults contractor KBR for toxic exposure

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The U.S. Defense Department's Inspector General has found that a contractor failed to act as quickly as it could have to protect soldiers and civilians from a carcinogenic chemical at an Iraqi water treatment plant.

The Oregonian reports (http://bit.ly/peQBdA ) the report faults contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root for failing to comply with safety and health standards, which led to nearly 1,000 Army soldiers and civilian employees being exposed to sodium dichromate over five months.

Sodium dichromate is anticorrosive compound that can cause skin and breathing problems and cancer.

The report says it took five months from the initial site visit until the military command required protective equipment.

Members of the Oregon National Guard have filed suit. KBR has previously denied knowingly exposing soldiers or contractors to health risks.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com