KBR allowed around 250 soldiers guarding the Qarmat Ali water treatment in Iraq to be exposed to sodium dichromate, a powerful carcinogen. Soldiers also presented acutely with nosebleeds, spitting of blood, cough, shortness of breath and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Dichromate at the site was used in anti-rust coating for water pipes used in oil field production. It was left strewn on the ground after the plant was looted following the 2003 US invasion. KBR knew about the dichromate but initially described it as only a “mild irritant”. Early testing by the military showed that soldiers did not have high levels of chromium but it is unclear if the right test was used and performed within the proper timeframes. In addition, cancers related to a past exposure can take years to develop. KBR said it did nothing wrong. Apparently it views putting the lives and health of US service men and women as a normal cost of doing business.