Camp Lejeune has been linked to water contamination and rare forms of cancer.
The dumping of dry cleaning chemicals into at least two different water distribution systems has left the water supply at Camp Lejeune contaminated for the past 30 years. Though the military branch takes pride in “leaving no marine behind,” they’ve certainly left their marines in the dark by failing to notify them as to the situation and effects of the contaminated water.
Approximately 12 years ago, the results of a research study conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry indicated that no strong correlation existed between the water supply at Camp Lejeune and the prevalence of illness among marines stationed there.
However since then, 22 cases of rare male breast cancer among marines who share one commonality, that they were all stationed at Camp Lejeune, seems more than coincidental.
Recently, ATSDR nullified the results of their initial report on the premise that major carcinogens were not taken into account, thus, discrediting the scientific accuracy of the study.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families have been affected by the toxic water. Devastating health effects include a wide range of illnesses from numerous forms of cancer to miscarriages and birth defects. The tragedy lies in the lack of accountability that the United States Marine Corps is willing to accept for the sake of their own.
Two North Carolina representatives are finally taking action. Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan are in the process of co-sponsoring a bill that will give Marines the accountability they deserve. The Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act of 2009 would require the Department of Veteran Affairs to provide healthcare to those who have experienced adverse health effects, including veterans and their families, due to the contaminated water supply at the North Carolina military base.
While the proposed legislation is a step in the right direction, little is being done to promote further awareness of the preventable water contamination at Camp Lejeune, though the Marine Corps has been aware of the problem since 1980.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List, Camp Lejeune is one of the most hazardous sites in the country. While EPA is currently facilitating remedial investigation and action, awareness arguably acts as the most effective solution to the detrimental effects of the base’s water supply.
The victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune make up “the few and the proud” of the United States Marine Corps and the question remains: shouldn’t the same pride be taken in respect to their health and safety?
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