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Lawsuit Filed Over Cancer-Causing Contamination at Camp LejeuneTim King Salem-News.com
The lawsuit alleges that the government knowingly exposed hundreds of thousands of Marines, sailors, their family members, and civilian employees to highly contaminated drinking water on the base at Camp Lejeune.
(SALEM, Ore.) - A lawsuit has been filed by a Marine wife over exposure to toxic chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The suit was filed jointly by two law firms from Washington D.C. and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Former Marine wife Laura Jones' husband was stationed at Camp Lejeune; her legal team says the federal government knew that hundreds of thousands of Marines drank contaminated drinking water. Lawyers say 45-year-old Laura Jones has lymphoma and now lives in Iowa.
Chemicals in Camp Lejeune's water are believed to have caused different types of cancers, lower intestinal disorders, reproductive disorders, birth defects and stillborn births. Problems with TCE/PCE contact can also be hereditary. (see: Marine Who Lost Child From Contamination at Camp Lejeune will Appear in Washington - Tim King Salem-News.com)
Salem-News.com has reported extensively on the contamination at Camp Lejeune. It took years, but it had finally been recognized that there was tainted water on the base due to PCE, perchloroethylene, which the Department of the Navy blamed on an off base dry cleaner.
A report issued earlier this month by the National Research Council, formed under the direction of the very agency being targeted for responsibility in the matter, the Department of the Navy, suddenly announced that the otherwise proven and accepted data connecting the toxic water at Camp Lejeune to health problems, was inconclusive.
The National Research Council report states, "Studies specifically on the Camp Lejeune population have addressed only reproductive health outcomes, but the limited quality of exposure information restricts their value. The inability to study exposure and health outcomes accurately is a serious limitation in any future research."
The scientists with the the National Research Council admit that "evidence exists that people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune Marine Base in North Carolina between the 1950s and 1985 were exposed to the industrial solvents tricholorethylene (TCE) or perchloroethylene (PCE) in their water supply."
The report however states that, "...strong scientific evidence is not available to determine whether health problems among those exposed are due to the contaminants." (see: National Research Council on TCE Kicks U.S. Marines to the Curb - Tim King Salem-News.com)
The lawsuit alleges that the government knowingly exposed hundreds of thousands of Marines, sailors, their family members, and civilian employees to highly contaminated drinking water on the base at Camp Lejeune. (see: Lawsuit Will Be Filed Over Camp Lejeune Water Contamination - Salem-News.com)
The attorneys say the government, at the same time, actively disseminated disinformation to those exposed in an effort to minimize the significance of the exposure.
Salem-News.com's Dr. Phil Leveque is an experienced physician, pharmacologist and forensic toxicologist. He says it is far more likely that the Marines at Lejeune were contaminated with TCE, trichloroethylene; a degreasing chemical sold by Dow Chemical to the Federal government and subsequently to the Marine Corps. (see: Marine Death Camp: Camp Lejeune Trichlorethylene - the Culprit - Dr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com)
The same contaminant is prominent at the highly contaminated and now-closed El Toro Marine Air Station in Orange County, California.
It is noteworthy that Dr. Phillip Leveque testified as a forensic toxicologist in the mid-1970's in what he believes was the first TCE-death related court case. In that event, Dow Chemical was found to be responsible for a man's death over improper warning labels. The man was a janitor who cleaned supermarket floor gum stains with TCE for six weeks before dropping dead of liver failure.
The complaint over Camp Lejeune, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of North Carolina, attaches numerous documentary exhibits in support of its allegations that the government knowingly, recklessly and/or negligently violated its own standards, rules and regulations by permitting the exposure to continue after the government was specifically warned the drinking water was "highly contaminated with . . . solvents!"
The Associated Press reports that a Marines spokesman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
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