This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 2 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
Advertisement

Suicide, cancer and organ failure - today we list all the alleged victims of the Air Corps chemical scandal

The average age of the dead is 50.

Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

FOR THE LAST year, TheJournal.ie has been covering allegations made by former members of the Irish Air Corps that exposure to harmful chemicals during their careers has led to the untimely deaths of many of their colleagues.

It’s the contention of a number of Air Corps members that the effects of the chemicals contributed to dozens of workers at the Baldonnel Airfield becoming ill.

In a protected disclosure made by one of the workers earlier this year, it has also been alleged that the partners of male members of the force suffered serious fertility issues and a number of miscarriages. Other children, according to the protected disclosure, are living with life-changing illnesses and, in some cases, have died.

Today, after receiving details verified through death certificates of each of those who has passed away, we can publish details of 45 deceased members: their ages, their causes of death and what position they held in the Air Corps.

Many died by various forms of cancer. Others died by suicide.

Many of those listed below had left the Defence Forces prior to their deaths.

Although we have their names, we have decided not to publish them. The format for the following list is the rank of the deceased, their initials, cause of death recorded on their death certificates and finally their age of death.

  • Airman. Died by hanging. Aged 48.
  • Apprentice. Cardiac arrhythmia. Aged 52.
  • Sergeant. Severe chronic head trauma from self-inflicted gunshot wound. Aged 42.
  • Commandant. Coronary artery atherosclerosis. Aged 60.
  • Flight Sergeant. Metastatic esophageal carcinoma. Aged 53.
  • Airman. Heart failure after suffering haemorrhagic gastritis. Aged 47.
  • Airman. Death by suicide. Aged 53.
  • Brigadier General. Bowel ischaemia. Aged 74.
  • Airman. Acute alcohol intoxication. Aged 49.
  • Sergeant. Pulmonary aspiration. Aged 50.
  • Corporal. Drowning. Open verdict recorded. Aged 41.
  • Airman. Bacterial peritonitis. Previous kidney failure/cardiac problems. Aged 55.
  • Sergeant. Metastatic renal failure. Aged 66.
  • Airman. Pancreatic cancer. Aged 54.
  • Corporal. Self inflicted gunshot wound to head. Aged 26.
  • Airman. Liver abscess/pulmonary embolus. Previous Crohn’s disease. Aged 32.
  • Airman. Acute cardiac arrhythmia. Aged 47.

aircorps4 Air Corps, Engine Shop, Non Destructive Testing Workshop at Baldonnel Source: TheJournal.ie

  • Captain. Neuroendocrine tumour of pancreas. Aged 53.
  • Airman. Acute cardiac event. Aged 50.
  • Sergeant. Metastases carcinoma to liver and lung. Aged 48.
  • Flight Sergeant. Ischaemic Heart Disease. Aged 54.
  • Airman. Cardiogenic shock. Aged 49.
  • Rank unknown. Ischaemic Heart Disease. Aged 64.
  • Corporal. Asphyxia. Aged 38.
  • Sergeant. Sudden cardiac death. Aged 56.
  • Flight Sergeant. Pneumonia – 3 days. Aged 41.
  • Apprentice. Gunshot wound to the head. Aged 44.
  • Lieutenant Colonel. Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Aged 64.
  • Corporal. Metastatic Melanoma. Aged 46.
  • Corporal. Myocardial Ischaemia. Aged 50.
  • Sergeant. Liver failure. Aged 52.
  • Flight Quartermaster Sergeant. Metastatic Carcinoma of Salivary Gland. Aged 60.
  • Airman. Ischaemic Heart Disease. Aged 39.
  • Sergeant. Gioblastoma Multiforme. Aged 39.
  • Airman. Multiple Injuries – self-inflicted train collision. Schizophrenia. Aged 39.
  • Sergeant. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Aged 66.
  • Airman. Gunshot to the head. Aged 22.
  • Airman. Atherosclerotic Coronary Artery Disease. Aged 46.
  • Airman. Pulmonary Embolism. Aged 51.
  • Airman. Gunshot wound to head. Aged 54.
  • Civilian. Parietal lobe glioblastoma. Aged 56.
  • Airman. Cause of death unknown. Aged 52.
  • Commandant. Cerebral Metastases, Salivary Gland Carcinoma. Aged 57.
  • Corporal. Extensive Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer. Aged 45.
  • Commandant. Metastatic Small Cell Lung Cancer. Aged 54.

The average age at death of the above men is 50 years old. 

A 2016 inspection by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) identified a number of shortcomings at Baldonnel with corrective actions then taken by the Defence Forces in relation to how it handles chemicals.

whislters Some of the men who have died or gotten ill. Source: TheJournal.ie

According to the HSA report seen by TheJournal.ie, the Air Corps was warned it could face prosecution if it did not “comply with advice and relevant legal requirements” about how hazardous substances were managed, among other safety matters.

TheJournal.ie earlier this year obtained a detailed list of chemicals which were purchased for use by the Air Corps. These include the highly toxic Ardrox 666 and Ardrox 670.

Other chemicals which have been used at Baldonnel include:

  • Hexavalent chromium
  • Dichloromethane
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Dichloromethane

All these chemicals have been proven to cause serious damage to humans after long-term exposure.

‘Life-changing conditions’

The HSA’s report stated immediate attention was needed at Baldonnel and that protective equipment must be made available to staff. The necessary equipment should include protective gear for eyes and hands, as well as respirators to protect against inhalation of toxic fumes.

In the documents, which have been seen by TheJournal.ie, the HSA said a number of safety measures must be implemented “with immediate effect” at Baldonnel.

The HSA report also advised the Air Corps that work activity involving category 1a or 1b chemicals (Cancer-causing), ” a higher ‘as far as technically possible’ standard applies”.

The HSA also advised that risk assessment processes need to be managed to ensure control measures, including “the provision of information and training to relevant

The HSA letter also ordered the Air Corps to respond to their findings and to detail what “corrective actions” it would be taking. In their response, a senior commanding officer says that all “carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals will be subject to more stringent controls and that these controls will be fully documented”.

Some of our coverage of the Air Corps Chemical Scandal to date:

The other whistleblowers: Looking at the human cost of the Air Corps chemical scandal >

‘In one case, a retired member’s wife had eight miscarriages in succession’ >

Two men suing State over Air Corps chemical exposure say they have developed cancer >

Air Corps controversy: Minister says reports on toxicity at Baldonnel ‘can’t be found’ >

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS (75)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel