CBS made a big effort with a couple of Exclusives. Byron Pitts followed up his heartrending January story of Carmelo Rodriguez, the 29-year-old USMC sergeant. Pitts was at his bedside ready to interview him when he died of cancer. His expose concerned the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court ruling that prohibits active service military for suing for military doctors for malpractice. Pitts' follow-up examined a bill by Rep Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), inspired by Rodriguez' plight, to repeal Feres. Hinchey went further, claiming that the Marine Corps ignored the melanoma because it needed a "clear leader." "Congressman, those are awfully damning allegations that the military overlooked this man's medical condition because they needed bodies to fight the war in Iraq?" "That is correct."
Wyatt Andrews' Exclusive looked into DecaBDE, a fire retardant chemical manufactured by Chemtura that is being examined by toxicologists at the EPA for its potential damage to infants. So much of the chemical is used in furniture and consumer products that activists at Friends of the Earth claim Americans have ten times its levels in their bodies than other nationalities. Andrews introduced us to Hannah Pingree, the majority leader in the legislature in Maine, which is phasing out the use of polybrominated diphenyl ethers after studies found them in mother's milk. The bromine industry's response is a TV ad: "We cannot take a chance on fire safety."
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