Air Force taking action to clean Montana nuclear missile sites after finding possible carcinogens

The Air Force Global Strike Command mentioned Monday that it’s taking “immediate measures” to clean up and mitigate polychlorinated biphenyls – possible human carcinogens, also called PCBs – at two Montana places following preliminary outcomes from a current examine. 

The main command mentioned a workforce of bioenvironmental consultants reported sampling outcomes from Malmstrom Air Force Base within the state final Friday – the primary from an intensive sampling of energetic U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile bases to handle particular most cancers issues raised by missile group members.

“Based on the initial results from the survey team, which discovered PCB levels above the cleanup threshold designated by law in two of our facilities, I directed Twentieth Air Force to take immediate measures to begin the cleanup process for the affected facilities and mitigate exposure by our Airmen and Guardians to potentially hazardous conditions,” Gen. Thomas Bussiere, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, mentioned in a launch. “These measures will stay in place until I am satisfied that we are providing our missile community with a safe and clean work environment.”

The U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and the Defense Centers for Public Health carried out air and swipe testing for PCBs and different contaminants at Malmstrom AFB from June 22-29. All air samples from the Launch Control Centers and the Launch Control Support Building have been non-detectable for PCBs.


Airman 1st Class Jackson Ligon, left, and Senior Airman Jonathan Marinaccio, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron technicians join a re-entry system to a spacer on an intercontinental ballistic missile throughout a Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman take a look at Sept. 22, 2020, at a launch facility close to Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. The Air Force has quickly closed two nuclear launch services after finding unsafe ranges of a possible carcinogen in air samples at a Montana missile base the place a putting variety of women and men who served have reported most cancers diagnoses. (Senior Airman Daniel Brosam/U.S. Air Force through AP)

In addition, 300 floor swipe samples have been taken throughout all Malmstrom AFB Launch Control Centers, with 279 returning non-detectable outcomes. 

Of the 21 with detectable outcomes, 19 have been under the mitigation stage established by federal regulation and regulation.

The outcomes are pending from samples taken a Wyoming’s F.E. Warren Air Force Base and North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base, analyzing each air and floor exams. 

Furthermore, outcomes for accomplished floor and water samplings from all three bases are but to be finalized. 

Upon completion, the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and the Defense Centers for Public Health shall be in a position to analyze the outcomes to “guide a comprehensive and holistic response,” together with future suggestions. 

A B-52H Stratofortress taxis down the runway at Minot Air Force

Runway at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. (HUM Images/Universal Images Group through Getty Images)


The launch of preliminary outcomes is a part of the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine’s Missile Community Cancer Study.

The Air Force Global Strike Command famous that the intercontinental ballistic missile nuclear alert mission continues all through the cleanup and mitigation.

“I am committed to remaining transparent during this process, and I pledge to continue an open dialogue with Airmen, Guardians, their families and all other stakeholders as the Missile Community Cancer Study continues,” Bussiere mentioned.

PCBs have been manufactured within the U.S. from 1929 by 1979, after which they have been banned. The oily or waxy substance can persist for lengthy intervals within the surroundings.

The Associated Press reported that a number of women and men had reported most cancers diagnoses on the Montana nuclear missile base, citing a briefing displaying that not less than 9 present or former missileers have been identified with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

Lieutenant General Thomas Bussiere

Gen. Thomas Bussiere speaks at a press convention on June 23, 2020, in Vienna. (Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images)


The Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine launched the examine to take a look at cancers among the many whole missile group, checking for possible illness clusters.

While the college mentioned it accomplished a overview of Malmstrom most cancers issues in 2001 displaying no elevated charges of non-Hodgkin lymphoma amongst missileers, it acknowledged “time has passed,” and it has “the responsibility to investigate any potential service-related risks to Airmen, Guardians or their dependents’ health.”

The information company mentioned, based mostly on knowledge from a grassroots group of former missile launch officers and members of the family often called the Torchlight Initiative, that there might be 100 extra cancers of all kinds.

The Air Force Global Strike Command didn’t instantly reply to Fox News’ request for remark.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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