See the NEW entry on Turcosolv below . . .


We intend to highlight information on health issues for serving and former members of the ADF here providing, where possible, contact telephone numbers to call for further information and possible follow-up tests and registration.

Beryllium Revisited

           The following is from (obviously) a pensions advocate . . . .

An ex greenie I am dealing with has "malignant neoplasm of the brain."

As he does not meet any of the factors in the SoP, I am using the contention that he was exposed to Beryllium when required to maintain & inspect cores (filled with Beryllium) for radio antennas on DDG's.

Even though this is not a factor, I have submitted his claim knowing DVA will reject this contention.

The SoP also includes a note;

"Feingold et al found that brain cancer was associated with paternal exposure to beryllium (OR=2.1), a suspected carcinogen.62   Exposure documented in their study occurred in electrical equipment assemblers and installers, metal processors and welders."

I intend to submit this contention to the RMA for investigation/review once I obtain sufficient info to support these facts.

TurcoSolv Revisited - 26 May 2011

Trichlorethylene being a major component of Turco Solv


From an ecological as well as as neurotologic standpoint, particularly in the past 30 years, society has become increasingly aware of the dangers to human neurosensory function(s) secondary to special industrial chemicals called solvents. A clinical syndrome has been identified, related to this danger, called CHRONIC TOXIC ENCEPHALOPATHY (CTE) (Ödkvist et al., 1988). The onset of symptoms are gradual and increase in intensity and multiplicity of central nervous system involvement following an initial and subsequent chronic exposure of the patient to the inhalation from the air of vapors of the solvent(s), e.g., Trichlorethylene, Tetrachlorethane, and Hexane (Gasoline), Cyclohexane, Tolluol, Styrene, Methyl-n-butyl-ketone, Methylchloride, Dichlormethane, Trichlorethylene, Perch lor-ethylene, Lindan, etc.

The CTE syndrome has been identified in laborers, technicians, painters as well as others who work and live in a polluted environment. The predominant complaints are disturbances in concentration, memory, cognition, headache, drowsiness, malaise, and balance complaints described as unsteadiness and dizziness. Significant accompanying complaints include hearing disorders and tinnitus. Many patients complain of reduced hearing and understanding of speech. Frequent auditory complaints include a high pitched noise and a sensation of ear blockage. Diagnosis is elusive, but is eventually established. The neurotoxic complications are increased in number and intensity when solvents are multiple in number and are released in combination into the environment. CTE is a chronic progressive disease.

Recently, a male patient, age 58, was seen in consultation for severe tinnitus. A prior diagnosis of CTE had been established 26 years ago, secondary to toxic inhalation of trichlorethylene vapors. Tinnitus was reported to have been the initial symptom. The patient discovered the beneficial effect of acoustical masking by placing the noise from a toy train close to the involved ear. It provided temporary relief from the constant and irritating tinnitus noise. Today he reports tinnitus control, i.e., relief with a tinnitus masker. The complaint of ear pressure was eliminated following removal of the patient from the toxic environment. However, the high pitch tinnitus persists. Neurotologic evaluation revealed a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, primarily cochlear in location; and abnormalities in the early and late brain stem potentials. Vestibular testing with polygraphic electronystagmography (ENG) and cranio-corpo-graphy (CCG) recordings revealed multiple abnormalities compatible with central neurotological disturbances!

The public and professional communities should become alert to CTE. Such an awareness will result in its early diagnosis and treatment; and contribute to an increase in our understanding of environmental hazards to public health and concept of tinnitus. Specifically, the concept and diagnosis of CTE should be expanded to include both the physical and chemical worlds for the evaluation and treatment of the symptom of tinnitus.

Garry Thorburn.

Turcosolve Update - December 2016

The Repatriation Medical Authority in  April 2016 issued a SOP 55 of 2016 on Parkinson’s Disease  and secondary Parkinsomism
( click here to see SOP ).
The significant point is that for the first time, that I am aware of, DVA have accepted exposure to Trichloroethylene ( a major component of Turcosolve) as a basis for a DVA claim  (ref para 9C).
The conditions for a claim are apparently not easy as you will need to prove 2000 Hrs exposure to trichloroethylene in a WAR ZONE and only relate to Parkinson’s Disease as per the SOP.
For any further information regarding a claim please contact Keith Bailey via email here, or Garry Thorburn on here for a copy of the Turcosolve Product data sheet


Defence Health Services and the Defence Asbestos Registration Service database.

Until the 1970's asbestos was commonly used as a building material in many Australian buildings. It was frequently used in ships for lagging, fire retarding and soundproofing until the 1990's. Because of this common industry practice some Defence buildings and (All?) naval vessels contain asbestos.

If you feel you may have been exposed to asbestos, (if your were a member of the RAN there is no “may have been” involved – you were!), and you want further advice on possible exposure to asbestos, the Department of Defence - in conjunction with Health Services Australia - conducts a free service for assessment, counseling and, if necessary testing.

You can access this service by contacting the Health Services Australia office in your region, on the following phone numbers, but you will first need to contact the Defence Call Center on 1300 333 362 and obtain a reference number.    Be advised that the call centre number can be difficult to get on to, so you will need to persevere.

The number above will help you to complete your enquiry.

Here are some links to Asbestos related issues you may like to look at.  They were originally circulated through "VETNET".


(The author of this first article is unknown, but it is most probably from a newspaper journalist)    

UP to 3000 sailors have been exposed to a deadly dust while serving in the navy.

The dust was created during routine work on the hulls of HMAS SUPPLY and the aircraft carrier HMAS MELBOURNE and all personnel who served on the ships between the 1950s and 1985 are being urged to have medical tests.

The dust came from machines called jason pistols which were used to scour paint and rust from the ships. The pistols used vibrating rods coated with an alloy containing a heavy metal called beryllium.   It is now known beryllium dust can cause fatal and untreatable lung disease, similar to asbestosis.   Beryllium poisoning has led to huge compensation claims overseas, particularly in the US.   Jason pistols containing the metal stopped being used in 1985. 

The Australian navy would not comment other than to confirm the jason pistols were used by servicemen and the subject was under investigation.   The danger was identified by veterans' group the Naval Tankerman Association in mid-December.   It has urged all its members, via its website, to see a doctor.  National President Bob Currin said: "We have established that 3000 seamen and women were serving on the ships that used jason pistols over the relevant period.   Hundreds have suffered breathing problems, but up to now they have been catalogued as asbestosis. We do not know how many of them may be caused by beryllium."

The alert was sounded after former naval officer Peter Robertson, who served on HMAS SUPPLY, received a medical report indicating beryllium exposure.   "I was in the navy for 23 years and I never got told about this - there were no tests given," he told The Daily Telegraph last year.   "There were more than 150 crew on the HMAS SUPPLY and, as far as I know, no one has been told."

Mr Currin, from Baradine in northwestern NSW, who says he served on HMAS SUPPLY for nine years, said: "We knew the jason pistols were made from a special compound that stopped them sparking off the ship's metal when we chipped the paint and rust. It's only now we've discovered it included beryllium and was dangerous."   Beryllium is a heavy metal which, when inhaled in dust form, causes pneumonia-like symptoms, similar to asbestosis.   Beryllium poisoning kills 2 to 6 per cent of those exposed and can lie dormant for years.   Symptoms include scarred lungs, shortness of breath and eventually death. It is incurable.   It was used in jason pistols because it does not cause sparks when used to strip metal.

HMAS SUPPLY was a refuelling ship filled with flammable oil and HMAS MELBOURNE was an aircraft Carrier which carried large supplies of aviation fuel.   "The list of those exposed to beryllium runs to thousands, including myself,"  Mr Currin said.   "Jason pistols were used in general maintenance. Everyone used them. Everyone mucked in to do the cleaning."   Mr Currin said he was routinely covered head to foot in dust after using the device.   "The needles, which are made of beryllium, would vibrate to break up the paint. As that happened, dust would come off the needles.   This is the problem. You'd be covered in dust. There's no doubt we all breathed it in."

Despite the dangers posed by beryllium being known since the 1950s, Mr Currin said none of the hundreds of former personnel he had corresponded with in recent weeks had been informed of the danger by the navy.   He said "hundreds" of cases of reported asbestosis among affected sailors were now being reviewed to see if beryllium was involved.   "Just the knowledge that they have been exposed is worrying their family," he said.   Mr Currin said it might never be known how many personnel had been affected because many had claimed enhanced pensions on the grounds of having asbestosis.   Beryllium poisoning and asbestosis present similar symptoms.  

Former personnel who renounced their asbestosis claims risked losing their pension


This article was posted by the ADF to their email list and should be read in conjunction with the previous article

EXPOSURE TO BERYLLIUM       The safety and wellbeing of all members of the Navy is of the utmost importance to Navy. This includes an ongoing interest in the general health and wellbeing of all former members of Navy.   Navy no longer uses jason pistol needles containing beryllium but acknowledges that jason pistol needles containing beryllium were used in the past.   Jason pistols are hydraulic tools used to strip paint from ships. They work by vibrating a set of 'needles' against the painted metal. This causes wear on the needles, generating dust.

We are currently investigating the extent to which jason pistol needles containing beryllium were used in the Navy, in which ships, and over what time frame. This is a difficult undertaking that may take some time. Relevant records from decades ago will need to be sourced and collated to help us build a clear picture of the extent of this problem.   Navy is committed to ensuring that all reasonable avenues for providing information on the concerns raised by our people are investigated.

Ex-servicemen or women can lodge a claim with the Department of Veterans' Affairs if they believe they have a service-related health problem, including those who believe they have had exposure to beryllium dust which has had a detrimental health impact.

Defence will use the results of its investigations to assist the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Currently serving members who believe they may have been exposed to beryllium dust are encouraged to speak with their unit medical staff.   Records from over 20 years ago may not be comprehensive or consistent in the way possible exposure was identified and recorded. Medical records are medical-in-confidence and Defence is unable to comment on individual cases.   In very rare cases, respiratory exposure to Beryllium dusts can lead to the development of chronic lung disease in sensitised individuals.

Navy is currently unaware of any proven cases of occupationally-caused beryllium disease, but is committed to working with DVA on this issue.

Contact details for the Department of Veterans' Affairs are: 133 254 or 1800 555 254


Another email from the ADF/DVA email posting list:

Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence
003/05 Wednesday, 9 February 2005


The Departments of Defence and Veterans' Affairs (DVA) have today moved to re-assure current and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) concerned about exposure to beryllium.

DVA has a long-standing compensation system in place for determining claims such as those arising from beryllium exposure.

A small number of beryllium related cases have been dealt with under this system. Any current or former member of the ADF who believes they have a health problem arising out of their service in the ADF and who wish to make a claim are encouraged to contact DVA.

A Beryllium Information Service will be set up through the Defence Service Call Centre at Cooma, which will provide an opportunity for personnel and the public to register their names.

Individuals who register will be contacted in writing regarding the appropriate course of action for their circumstances. The Departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs will liaise to ensure that all persons who so register receive coordinated advice.

Veterans' Affairs Minister De-Anne Kelly said she wished to re-assure current and former Defence personnel who may be concerned following alarmist media reports about beryllium.

"The adverse health effects of beryllium are uncommon and are generally associated with short term high-level exposure or with long term low-level exposure," Mrs Kelly said.

She said regulations and safety standards are in place regarding the use of beryllium in today's ADF.

Mrs Kelly said Defence and DVA have been working closely to resolve the issues surrounding exposure to beryllium.

"Defence and DVA are committed to taking all reasonable steps as quickly as possible to provide information to those who are concerned about beryllium related issues," she said.

The Beryllium Information Service will be operational in one week and a contact number for the register will be announced at that time.

In the meantime, individuals who wish to make a claim related to beryllium exposure should contact DVA on 133 254 or 1800 555 254.

Media contacts:

Craig Clarke (Minister Kelly's office) - 0417 889 423
Defence Media Liaison - 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664



The Department of Defence has today announced that the Beryllium Information Service (BIS) is now operational via the ADF Defence Service Centre, Cooma, providing an opportunity for concerned Defence personnel and the public to register their names.

Individuals who believe they were exposed to beryllium as a result of Defence-related activities will be offered the opportunity to register their details with the Defence Service Centre.

This Beryllium Information Service is now available and concerned individuals are encouraged to ring 1800 000 644.

The Beryllium Register will record each caller's personal and potential exposure details.

The Service Centre expects to be contacted by four potential groups of callers.

* Currently Serving ADF and APS members.
* Ex-serving ADF members.
* Contractors working on ADF facilities or projects.
* Other third parties including former APS civilians, cadets and family members.

Individuals who register will be contacted in writing regarding the appropriate course of action for their individual circumstances.

A Defence Health Service Beryllium Fact Sheet will make up part of all information packages sent out along with other specifically targeted advice.

Media contact:
Defence Media Liaison (02) 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664



The  blood test for Beryllium is called:  Beryllium-Lymphocyte Proliferation Test (BE=LPT) this test is to detect how certain white blood cells react to Beryllium.  It appears that this test is only able to be done in the US.

TurcoSolv and similar Fluoro-Carbons

Information on TurcoSolv as received from our members via the "Feedback" page is assembled below in reverse chronological order.  This information will soon be assembled into something a bit more meaningful  -  DH

Name: Garrythorburn
Subject: Turcosolv.
Date: 30 Mar 2004


Atten Bob Stevenson. Dear Bob, I have collected a lot of information regarding Turcosolve as well as Freon. I currently have a case going through DVA. If you need any info please email direct. Regards Garry (Crewie) Thorburn

Name: Bob Stevenson
Telephone: 08 95816883
Subject: Turcosolve
Date: 26 Mar 2004


I am having a few problems with various parts of me and I wondered if anyone had had any joy in getting anything out of DVA when claiming for problems maybe caused by Turco. I would appreciate any info. Regards Stevo Stevenson R52643

Name: Noel Wright
Telephone: 0408451130
Email: (or)
Date: 18 Nov 2003


Dangers of Turco I was sent this info from Rets via the GunPlot, Turcosolve contain a couple of very nasty substances - Trichloroethylene and Butoxyethanol - I know they have been mentioned before but for a very interesting read,log on to:

Name: Crewie Thorburn
Email: gthorburn@bigpond.
Date: 23 Oct 2003


Turcosolv. For those interested Here are the ingredients of Turcosolv. Trichloroethylene 30-60% Liquid Hydrocarbon 30-60% Methylene Chloride 10% Butyoxyethanol 10% Exposure Limits Trichloroethylene 50ppm Methylene Chloride 50ppm Butyoxyethanol 25ppm It is classified as Hazardous according to criteria of Worksafe Australia. Regards Crewie

Name: Garry Thorburn
Telephone: 07 3341 6293
Date: 16 Oct 2003


FYI. I have done some more digging. Turcosolve is still sold in Australia by a Company called Avanti Chemicals in Ormeau in Qld. Today I rang Avantai to ask whether or not Butoxyethanol was indeed a major component of Turcosolve and if they considered it Dangerous. The gentlemen I spoke to said yes Butoxyethanol was very dangerous, however he said a bigger problem was another chemical called Trichloroethylene which was also part of Turcosolve. Then on looking at Trichloroethylene on the Internet it is indeed a dangerous substance. With Trichloroethylene attacking the Liver, Kidney, Vision, Central nervous System, Cranial Nerves, Hearing and the Heart. Butoxyethanol, also attacks the Liver, central nervous System, Kidneys and defats the skin. In closing, the gent from Avanti said Turcosolve was ok as long as you followed the proper Safety precautions which include. 1. Breathing Protection 2. Protective Gloves and Clothing 3. Eye Protection 4 No smoking, drinking or eating during work. Of course wearing a pair of Sandals and Shorts up Top in a enclosed Compartment provided excellent protection. Regards Crewie.

Name: John Osborne
Date: 16 Oct 2003


Freeon was another product liberally used for cleaning motor windings etc as it did not effect the insulation. This was carbon tetrachloride. We used Freeon and Turcosolve regularly in 44 gallon drums cut in half for washing equipment using brushes, spray bottles and soaking using no safety gear (none was mentioned or required on the drum).

Name: Garry - Crewie - Thorburn
Date: 16 Oct 2003


Peter, FYI. As a result of John Osborne's comment I looked up 2-Butoxyethanol on the Internet. It is very scary to read the side effects of Butoxyethanol. So if as John says 2-Butoxyethanol was a main ingredient of Turkasolve then it is any wonder that the Navy is tight lipped about it. Regards Crewie.

Name: Garry - Crewie - Thorburn
Date: 16 Oct 2003


Peter, I found this note on Feedback from John Osborne. Interesting. Regards Crewie Name: John Osborne Telephone: Email: Date: 16 Sep 2003 Comments Hey guys.- remember Turcosolv? The cleaner/ degreaser and just about made coffee with it. Apparently it is an eyes and respiratory irritant, is easily absorbed into the skin and has numorous side effects. the chemical is 2-butoxyethanol. just thought i'd brighten up your day

Name: Garry - Crewie - Thorburn
Date: 16 Oct 2003


Dear Peter, Thanks, I have been suffering from a skin condition, on my fore arms, hands, legs and face. The condition is such that my skin is excessively dry and I have a continual burning sensation. I have been to three different dermatologists and none of them can offer any explanation. I put in a claim to DVA which they originally accepted, but then rejected later for lack of supporting evidence. So any info that you can dig up I would be very grateful for. Best Regards Crewie

Name: Peter The-Greenies-On-Line Team
Date: 16 Oct 2003


G'day Crewie, I've copied this reply to Peter Burn and Noel Payne, who may be able to add something, and I'll put your request on the "FeedBack" page on the website Turcosolve was brought into the RAN in the early sixties, as a replacement for Carbon-Tetrachloride, which had been a major cleaning solvent for electrical and mechanical components, which had been withdrawn for believed adverse health effects. Turco was a brand name for the product, but a mate who worked at ICI for many years told me that Turco actually came from the same tap at ICI as Carbon Tet did. Never the less, Turco was subsequently withdrawn from the RAN, because of adverse effects, I believe from the fumes, but that is only from my recollections. Turco was again brought to my attention by an advocate from the West, who told me that it was found that the components of Turco remained resident in the dermis (skin) for up to and beyond 40 years, with the ultimate effect that it caused the bodies immune system to break down, such that, quite literally, just catching a common cold could be the death of one. The Navy had been quite tight-lipped about this at the time, and I really haven't heard anything further, and the advocate is now uncontactable. Regards, Peter

Name: Garry - Crewie - Thorburn
Date: 16 Oct 2003


Dear Peter, In regard to a possible DVA claim, have you heard of any Ex Greenies from the early 1960's through 1970 period experiencing Dermatitis or any other skin or Health problems through exposure to TurkaSolve. As you may remember Turkasolve was a general electrical equipment cleaning fluid. I understand that Turkasolve was with drawn from use in the RAN sometime in the late 1970's as it was found to be a carcinogenic Fluro Carbon. However I cannot remember the source of this information. Maybe if you don't know, if it could be posted as a general question. Thanks Regards Garry (Crewie) Thorburn.