Study Finds Unsafe Levels Of Potential Carcinogen At US Missile Base

A study launched by the U.S. Air Force’s Global Strike Command detected unsafe levels of a potential carcinogen at two facilities at a missile base in Montana, a release said Monday.

A team of bioenvironmental experts have detected unsafe levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at two locations at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, an active U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile base, after officials launched an investigation to address cancer concerns by missile community members, according to a release from the Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs office.

“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, stated in the release.

Bussiere added the measures would stay in place until he is satisfied the missile community will be provided with a “safe and clean work environment.”

The military launched the study earlier in 2023 after it was revealed that nine officers who had worked as missileers at the base were diagnosed with with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, the Air Force Times reported. Missileers launch warheads from underground silos and control centers. (RELATED: Pentagon Study Links Caner Risk To Pilots, Ground Crews)

Since that initial briefing in January 2023, more missileers and missile support crew have come forward to report their own cancer diagnoses to include non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers, the outlet stated. As a result, the Air Force expanded the study to include not only Malmstrom Air Force Base, but also F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, according to the Air Force Times.

While officials have taken readings at the other two bases, results from their investigation are still pending. In addition to air and surface tests, all three bases have undergone ground and water samplings – the results of which are all still pending, the release stated.

“When these results are finalized, the [U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and the Defense Centers for Public Health] team will be able to analyze the results in aggregate to guide a comprehensive and holistic response including recommended actions in the future,” the release stated.