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Aug-08-2008 02:38printcommentsVideo

TCE Expert Talks With Former El Toro Marine About Toxic Waste (VIDEO)

This is the fifth video in a continuing series about a deadly chemical dumped into the groundwater by Marines at El Toro that is moving in the water tables beneath neighborhoods in Irvine, California.

Sign at El Toro Marine Air Station
A sign near the area where an environmental cleanup effort takes place at El Toro every day.
Photo by Tim King

(IRVINE, Calif.) - Lethally toxic chemicals were dumped into the groundwater over the decades at the now closed El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine, California. There are many cases of Marines and their family members becoming sick over the years from TCE, (Trichloroethylene) and a similar chemical PCE, (Perchloroethylene).

El Toro was designated an EPA Superfund site in the 1990's, but today the city of Irvine and developers are in the process of establishing a park and neighborhood on top of it.

El Toro is the emerging story; the active Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune on the east coast has had many deaths connected to contaminated water from both TCE and a similar chemical PCE, (Perchloroethylene).

There are several Marines who served at both bases and several who only served at El Toro or Lejeune, who have written to to share their stories and stay updated.

We have also received contact from a growing number of concerned homeowners, parents and other residents in the Irvine area, who did not know the problem was as severe as it is.

To make matters worse, the health problems from TCE contamination can be passed on generationally. TCE, is known to cause liver failure, several types of cancer, mutations and intestinal disorders.

This is the fifth video in a continuing series about a chemical degreaser that was used to clean jet fighters at the El Toro Marine Air Station, that was ultimately, dumped into the water system.

The base water became contaminated and by 1969 or 1970 El Toro switched to municipal water. The spokesperson for the Irvine Ranch Water District that I interviewed could not confirm the date of the change that affected all of the water at El Toro.

The underground aquifers contaminated with this hazardous waste under El Toro has moved under prestigious and expensive neighborhoods in Irvine, California. Most people there do not know.

Dr. Phil Leveque of Molalla, Oregon, is a physician, pharmacologist and Forensic Toxicologist. He is one of the most qualified in the nation and he has testified in court more than 400 times in his career. Dr. Leveque writes for today, and by an odd coincidence, he testified as a toxicologist in one of the first TCE-related court cases in the U.S. in 1974.

Another major coincidence is that I was a Marine stationed in what we now know is one of the most contaminated areas on the base; Marine Wing Support Group-37. Two of the boys in our family had serious health issues as young children. In retrospect, their illnesses are consistent with symptoms from TCE contamination. We will probably never know, another coincidence?

In this interview, Dr. Leveque talks about this chemical manufactured by Dow Chemical, TCE, that was not labeled sufficiently, and has seriously contaminated the Woodbridge neighborhood of Irvine as well as several other areas, according to documents published by the U.S. Navy that are available in at least one Irvine Public Library.

This video is brought to you courtesy of Google Video:

Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
Email him:

More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of Phil Leveque about his experiences in WWII.
Order the book by mail by following this link: Dogface Soldier If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.

Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.

Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on


Tim King in 2008, covering the Iraq War

Tim King: Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from The Associated Press the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs, Electronic Media Association and The Red Cross In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005.

Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 20+ countries and regions.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide with an emphasis on Palestine and Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marines. You can write to Tim at this address: Visit Tim's Facebook page (

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Cliff Leach USMC L/ Cpl February 14, 2015 5:30 pm (Pacific time)

I was stationed at Camp Lejeune , Okinawa , and El Toro. I have a autoimmune disease ( Anykilosing Spondalitis ) heart attack, 5 artery bypass 6 mo. Ago and the list is long. I'm searching for solid info to back my claim before filing for service connected benefits . Cliff Arnstrong has the same thing. I read the article but cannot find him. Any info or point this Bulldog in the right direction.Thanks Semper Fi

Louis April 13, 2012 4:02 pm (Pacific time)


Tim King: Feel free to write to me and I will connect you with people who can provide accurate information:

Bob Beckham October 31, 2010 4:32 pm (Pacific time)

I was stationed at WERS-37 from 1970 to 1975. We routinely used chemicals to clean equipment prior to rebuild. I was also stationed at Camp LeJeune at 8th Marine Regt during 1960 to 1970. Should I have cause for concern? I have several service connected conditions - I just hope cancer won't be one of them.

Gregg Rolfe September 29, 2010 4:39 pm (Pacific time)

Tim, this it very intresting stuff. I'm a disabled vetran living here in Oregon.I served at El Toro from'85-'91 in VMFA-531 and VMFA-323.My EX-wife was there at the same time as active duty and our son was born during this time. Please let me know if there is ant further information. E-mail;

johnny freeman January 14, 2010 8:39 am (Pacific time)

I was station at el toro in 1967 as a military police. I caught colon cancer when I was around 35 years old. Can having colon cancer at a young age be a result of working a el toro for a year?

Joe Miller August 2, 2009 11:28 am (Pacific time)

I was stationed At MCAS El Toro Mid 1955 to !957 with Marin Squadron VMA 223. I am concerned about the contents of this story and some health issues of mine. I would like to know more about the TCE infiltration of the base water systm.

TIM RUDY December 11, 2008 8:42 am (Pacific time)


Tim King: Tim, from what we know it could be.  Please send an email to, thanks.

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