Chemical Toxins

What Were You Exposed To During Your Enlistment?

Submitted By:
Edward Seafeldt, Major, US Army Chemical Corps, Retired; RM3 USS Satyr
2/69-2/70 USN


Dear MRF crew members, and ships crew of Mobile Riverine Force Vietnam,

I do this research all day long and here are my sources of information on hazardous materials found in the Mobile Riverine Force that relate to medical problems crews are experiencing from their service. You should realize that our exposure was not just limited to dioxin.

Making a dioxin claim to the VA without addressing all the other chemical hazards you faced is a serious, ill advised mistake in my book. That’s like putting all your eggs in one basket.

If the VA determines you don’t have one of the major or minor conditions linked to dioxin, they will shoot your scrawny butt (figuratively speaking) right out of the water. Essentially you shoot yourself in the foot through no fault of your own. For most of you Mobile Riverine Force guys your major respiratory problem was diesel fuel and fumes. You practically bathed in the stuff. Most of you have not seen the letter dated 4 April 1990: letter between the US Department of Labor and Diesel Manufacturers which opens a “whoop ass” scenario from Mobile Riverine Force members for potential disability claims. Reference: ( if you cant find it I will help you)

Navy ships in the MRF have a whole nuther sub-set of hazardous materials issues separate from crew members of boats to fall back upon.

Anyone interested or having respiratory problems call me for more detailed info that will set your hair on fire and burn off your bazookas.

For all you fellow scurvy swabbies I served with, I will go back and consolidate my diesel fuel medical journal articles so ye can have something to submit to VA for your respiratory claims.

Edward Seafeldt, Major, US Army Chemical Corps, Retired; RM3 USS Satyr
2/69-2/70 USN –

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Received email today from MM2 Bennett on board USS Satyr in 68-69 that ship had no filters on ventilation system on board ship during years he was on board. This means ventilation system pumping raw unfiltered hazmat directly to ships crew thru vents from a “mobile floating shipyard” . Other similar aged WWII era ships that were sent to Vietnam and were part of Mobile Riverine Force probably had similar problems. Albert Moore can you or one of your fellow staff send an email to Mobile Riverine Force members to ask them if anyone can provide a detailed explanation of other ships ventilation systems and their filtration systems? Thanks to MM@Bennett for his outstanding observations and reporting! He is a hero in my book. His responses today will help a lot of us explain our major medical problems origin. You can not run a mobile shipyard (ARL repair ship) and not have a viable filtration system on a ships ventilation.

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Lung Disease and Military Service

Navy and Army Vietnam Veterans who have lung disorders may be eligible for service related disability compensation. Many MRFA military personnel were exposed to chemical respiratory hazards, environmental problems, safety concerns and industrial hygiene issues.

For the past year I have been corresponding with Senior Navy Department personnel to obtain information about safety problems, industrial hygiene and environmental concerns. As you might imagine these subjects are not ones the Department of the Defense are excited to discuss. However, the Navy Department has been gracious enough to provide multiple support documents that will help veterans obtain benefits for medical disorders related to the above issues. I am willing to share these documents with you as they apply to selected medical conditions and exposures.

If you have one of more lung disorders that you think originated from you service in the MRFA I would enjoy discussing this with you to see if we can find a possible link between your condition and your military service. Lung disorders may include cancers, tumors, chronic cough, chronic nasal drip, immunity problems, chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic lung infections, asthma, lungs filling with fluid and bronchitis. There are more disorders but this is a good start to get you thinking about lung problems
either you or a fellow MRFA veteran may have.

RM3 Ed Seafeldt, USS Satyr – 69-70

Navy Safety Center Afloat OSH Division
The NAVOSH Program Manual for Forces Afloat may be downloaded either as one whole file, or you may choose to download chapters separately. All files have Change 1 incorporated.

United States Department of Labor, Ship & Boat Building & Repair This web site provides current federal standards for safety and environmental regulations for personnel involved in ship/boat building and repair such as the activities that crew of the USS Satyr experienced during their tour on board.

United States Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program Links
This website allows crew members of the USS Satyr to access documents from the Federal Government

United States Department of Defense Environmental Exposure End Notes
prepared 27 July 2000. These end notes provide crew members of the USS Satyr the opportunity to review hazardous materials notes related to painting operations in today’s military that were not available to us during our tour.

United States Centers for Disease Control, (NIOSH) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Databases and Information Sources
This website allows USS Satyr crew to review a wide variety of information related to the chemical compounds they used or were exposed to during their tour. This website also shows the type of respirators, filters and personal protective clothing and equipment required today to perform duties and occupations we were involved in during our tour.

United States Centers for Disease Control, Chemical Industry listing for Chemicals Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health Concentrations
This websites lets the USS Satyr crew be aware of potential health risks associated with chemical compounds they may have been exposed to during their tour.

United States Centers for Disease Control, Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
The NPG is intended as a source of general industrial hygiene information on several hundred chemicals/classes for workers, employers, and occupational health professionals. The NPG does not contain an analysis of all pertinent data, rather it presents key information and data in abbreviated or tabular form for chemicals or substance groupings (e.g. cyanides, fluorides, manganese compounds) that are found in the work environment. The information found in the NPG should help users recognize and control occupational chemical hazards.

The latest printed edition of the NIOSH Pocket Guide is dated February 2004 (green cover, NIOSH Publication No. 97-140, third printing with minor changes) and contains information on 677 chemicals or substance groupings.

The Pocket Guide includes the following:
Chemical Names, synonyms, trade names, conversion factors, CAS, RTECS, and DOT Numbers NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limits (NIOSH RELs) Occupational Safety and Health Administration Permissible Exposure Limits (OSHA PELs) NIOSH Immediate Dangerous to Life and Health values (NIOSH IDLHs) A physical description of the agent with chemical and physical properties Measurement methods Personal Protection and Sanitation Recommendations Respirator Recommendations Information on Health Hazards including route, symptoms, first aid and target organ information.

United States Centers for Disease Control, Workplace Safety and Health Topics
This website allows crew members to find their occupational skills and read information related to that type of work that may help them with filing a disability claim with the Veterans Administration.

United States Department of Transportation, Chemical Hazard Response Information System (CHRIS)
This manual allows crew members to view chemical compounds they used during their tour and be rerouted via Adobe Acrobat Reader to more information about health effects associated with that chemical.

Environmental Protection Agency
This web site provides crew with additional information about hazardous materials used during our tours.

EPA Super Fund site:

Toxicity of Military Smokes and Obscurants, Volume 1
SUBCOMMITTEE ON MILITARY SMOKES AND OBSCURANTS, COMMITTEE ON TOXICOLOGY BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY, COMMISSION ON LIFE SCIENCES NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL For those of you who worked around smoke and obscurants in Vietnam this is an excellent source of information about these products and the effects on your lungs.

Military Environmental Awareness, Apendix E
This Army document gives “former Navy Squids” a today-picture of all environmental, safety regulations that were not there to protect us in Vietnam from respiratory
hazards. Great document for reference.

Dangers of Diesel Fuel, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, December 1999
Good information to submit with your respiratory claim to VA if your were exposed to diesel fuel in Vietnam.

Tri-Service Pollution Prevention, Navy Facilities Engineering Service Ctr, Port Hueneme, CA January 1996
This document provide excellent background information on painting, depainting, electroplating, ozone depleting gases, bilge and oils, acids, solvents, hazmat and lubricants and petroleum products you may have been around in Vietnam.

Hazardous Materials Training for Emergency Crews (HAZWOPER)