USA – According to Taskandpurpose.com, a defense contractor has come to a settlement over the defective combat earplugs that they sold to the United States Military for years. The company, 3M, which is based out of Minnesota apparently was aware of their product’s defects but continued to sell them to the military anyway. The earplugs did not function properly and could be part of the cause of what has been termed the military’s “silent epidemic.” The company’s greed has likely caused hearing loss in many service members.
In 2015, it came out that over 1 million military veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq within the 12-year period from 2003 to 2015 lost their hearing and were collecting disability. Another 1.6 million former service members were being compensated because they have developed tinnitus.
The military hopes to develop high tech earplugs that will be capable of allowing soldiers to communicate with one another over a radio while still protecting their hearing when they are surrounded by weapon fire and other loud noises.
According to the Army’s Criminal Investigative Command, the settlement is a message to other military contractors that says that those businesses that enter deals with the government will be held accountable for their actions.
3M Company is paying out a sum of 9.1 million dollars in the settlement.
Frank Robey, who heads the Major Procurement Fraud Unit, stated that safety equipment for America’s soldiers is “vital to our military’s readiness,” and said that agents would work to ensure that those soldiers are protected and provided with effective safety equipment.
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