Wednesday May 22, 2013
BUSTED! DoD Letter Discovered in Federal Register Proves TCE and Cancer Have Been Linked for YearsTim King Salem-News.com
Boom! Caught with their pants down... includes the full nine page DoD memorandum from 2000.
(SALEM) - Scientific studies into the dangerous chemical TCE (trichloroethylene) that pollutes U.S. military bases worldwide, drew the conclusion well over a decade ago, that TCE is a human carcinogen and it causes cancer.
The new/old evidence comes from researcher and veteran's advocate, Gary Bass, who contacted our newsroom late Wednesday night after locating a letter in the Federal Register, authored by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force, proving that well over a decade ago, the DoD was well aware of the alarming statistics and dangers relating to human contact with the deadly chemical degreaser TCE, and in fact dismissed extremely well researched data from the U.S. and Germany, that drew the line between TCE and numerous cancers. (View the document here)
Bass believes this discovery should help veterans in establishing a Presumed Disability, when combined with the Sept. 2011 EPA study, in cases involving a base on the National Priority List.
The bottom line, is that the two federal agencies went to a great deal of effort raising objections to credible, scientific findings established by the National Toxicology Program, to reclassify TCE (trichloroethylene) as a known human carcinogen.
The letter reveals what we all know; that the exorbitant cost associated with TCE is what scares the government to death, yet they admit in the letter introduction, that the DoD is indeed responsible for the TCE problem and everything that goes with it. It is a pattern repeated time and time again, and TCE is the new Agent Orange in many respects. The government has a responsibility, morally, legally and ethically, to inform members of the U.S. military and former members, of known carcinogens. It has clearly failed to do this, showing no interest in the health and safety of those potentially impacted by the toxicity.
From the Memorandum...
Nothing But a Coverup
Reading through the DoD's supporting reasons for wanting to leave TCE off of the known carcinogen list, I had to shake my head and take another swig of coffee after reading this:
TCE exposure did not occur by itself in all likelihood? I must be missing something, perhaps it is staring me in the face, it seems they are leaving the door slightly open for the idea that a manmade product is somehow managing to naturally occur at El Toro?
Funny, they said the same thing when an Orange County scientist named Chuck Bennett, on the RAB Board established after base closure, discovered enriched uranium at El Toro. "Naturally occurring uranium" the Dept of the Navy claimed, however there is no such thing as 'enriched' uranium occurring naturally. Dr. Bennett died suddenly and unexpectedly shortly after writing about this discovery in an Orange County newspaper.
I also note with interest, that Dr. Bennett's unexpected death came shortly after revealing his findings about radioactive waste at El Toro, the same year that this letter was written, in 2000.
The DoD: these are people with their heels dug into the ground, obviously unwilling to even consider the nature of the conversation itself. It is about human health- something they fail to deal with.
The DoD is constantly accused of not caring about anything but its financial bottom line, never before has it been so painfully clear.
Medical Expert on TCE
Dr. Phillip Leveque is an amazing person to have on our team; he is one of the most experienced human beings alive when it comes to chemicals and their health implications. Dr. Leveque spent decades as a Professor of Pharmacology; he is a Forensic Toxicologist, and a retired Osteopathic Physician. He has testified in court as a Forensic Toxicologist more than 400 times and was an expert witness in the nation's first case involving a TCE-related death. The defendant, Dow Chemical, lost the case.
In that event, a contract janitor used TCE to clean bubble gum stains from supermarket floors. He labored over the vapors of TCE for three weeks then literally dropped dead from liver failure.
You see TCE is a killer with an arsenal of weapons. Dr. Leveque explains that this triple chlorine-based cleaner was actually designed to serve as a replacement or alternative to chloroform, as an anesthetic.
This is shocking... but a human being can be 'put under' once on TCE and likely be fine. But something happens to the human body when it has been administered a direct dose of this stuff. "The second time a person gets TCE in that manner, they die," Dr. Leveque explains.
Once this was realized, trichloroethylene went from being a medical anesthetic, to an industrial cleaner. Too bad it wasn't just shelved. It causes liver failure, obviously, and it causes a variety of cancers. TCE also affects the lower stomach and can cause intestinal colitis. The DNA of a contaminated Marine (In my case) can be passed in generations, as I learned with not one, but two of my sons, born at El Toro, who had severe health issues in their first year. One son had a collapsed bowel at the age of four months and nearly died before finally being diagnosed and rushed into surgery. My other son has colitis today; he was born with an epiglottis the size of a 40-year old man's and required surgery soon after he was born. TCE is also known for causing birth defects and still births.
You can catch my full interview with Dr. Leveque on TCE in the video with this report, where this esteemed doctor talks about what actually happens to the human body from TCE contact.
So Much for Water, Land and People
Our writer in Laguna Beach, Odd Man Out Roger Butow, also served at El Toro, during the Vietnam War. He wrote about the bottom line for those of us who aren't overly privileged or even in many cases insured, when faced with cancer from our days in the Corps.
The DoD has spent years and years claiming that there is not a connection between TCE and cancer. I think the reader gathers at this point, that we have our reasons for believing otherwise.
For example, of the team of former Marines that I work with at Salem-News.com, exposing the toxicity of a base we all served: Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, a known, downright notorious TCE contamination zone long ago declared an EPA Superfund site over its heavy toxic contamination; I'm one of the only ones who isn't a cancer survivor.
Let's see, the last time I checked, 1 plus 1 still equals 2, right?
It may not leave me with good odds, but knowing what my Brother Marines have been through, I can't emphasize the frustration I feel reading this DoD letter that spills the whole case out on the table.
Salem-News.com investigative writer Robert O'Dowd and I co-authored the new book, A Few Good Men, Too Many Chemicals which is available on Kindle through Amazon. (see: image to right).
We expose many parts of this tragic saga as it relates to MCAS El Toro; where Robert and I served in the 1960's and 1980's, respectively, which has been closed since 1999.
We also explore Camp Lejeune, where Marines drank contaminated water for years, along with their families. During the Vietnam War the problems related to this unseen, undisclosed killer, also increasingly affected civilians who worked at the base, and it led to so many still births that at one point, the Marines insisted that all newborns were cremated, apparently fearing the impact of dozens and dozens of new baby graves in the local cemeteries.
Camp Lejeune was the subject of the MSNBC documentary, “Semper Fi: Always Faithful,” the story of our comrade in arms; Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger; who devoted his life to the Corps for nearly 25 years. As a drill instructor in the Marine Corps, he was responsible for training thousands of new recruits.
But when Jerry’s nine-year-old daughter Janey passed away from a rare type of leukemia, his structured world began to collapse around him. As a grief-stricken father, he spent years struggling to make sense of what had happened—how could an otherwise healthy nine-year-old suddenly become so fatally ill? His search for answers led him to a shocking discovery: the Marine Corps base where his family had lived for years was the site of one of the largest incidents of water contamination in US history.
The story is gruesome and grim; tragic and unnecessary. TCE has simply taken too many victims. The stuff flows beneath the El Toro base in an underground plume that goes for miles, and infests the groundwater while creating a brewing threat that is so great in proportion, that local politicians ignore it and pretend the problem doesn't exist. Which makes everything worse. These are just a couple of the bases that are impacted by TCE, it was used everywhere and the Marines are the smallest service, just think about that for a second. If families and activists weren't so persistent and driven, nobody would know about these places either.
Below is a larger version of the artwork shown above... the brand new custom illustration by LA-based Artist Shelli Pruett. This image debuted only days ago, and we appreciate it for the depth it conveys, in capturing those militarized elements of toxicity and death that are forever ingrained in our DNA and in our minds.
 Dec-01-2000: Department of the Air Force MEMORANDUM FOR DR. MARY S. WOLFE
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 Salem-News.com'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 Salem-News.com 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 Salem-News.com, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)
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