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Oct-31-2009 00:55printcomments

Congress to Navy: Assist Lejeune Veterans & Dependents

The letter questioned the Navy’s failure to develop a strategy to address the health effects of exposure to the contaminated water, the need for additional studies “in perpetuity” by the Navy, and urged the Navy act now.

Camp Lejeune's wastewater treatment plant
Camp Lejeune's wastewater treatment plant
Photo courtesy: U.S. Marines

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - A letter of October 26st from twenty-eight Congressmen to the Secretary of the Navy expressed frustration and disappointment over the Navy’s failure to provide assistance to Camp Lejeune veterans and dependents affected by the contamination of the base water wells.

The Congressional representatives questioned the Navy’s failure to develop a strategy to address the health effects of exposure to contaminated drinking water.

Camp Lejeune’s drinking water was contaminated with organic solvents and other chemicals between the years 1958 and 1987.

Thousands of Marines, Sailors, their families and civilian employees drank water that was contaminated with known or suspected human carcinogens.

The water provided by the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point distribution systems was highly contaminated with various chemicals, including the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) known as PCE (Tetrachloroethylene aka Perchloroethylene), TCE (Trichloroethylene), DCE (Dichloroethylene), Vinyl Chloride and BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene).

These chemicals are either known or suspected human carcinogens. Many Marines, Sailors, their families and loyal civilian employees have been affected by the contamination in various ways including, but not limited to: liver cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, non Hodgkins lymphoma, liver disease, miscarriages, birth defects (cleft palate, heart defects, Choanal atresia, neural tube defects, low birth weight, and small for gestational age),etc. Unfortunately, many of these families still have not been notified by the USMC of the danger from their exposure.

In 1987 Camp Lejeune was recommended for listing as a Superfund site on the National Priorities List (NPL) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Camp Lejeune was officially listed as a Superfund site in 1989.

The Congressional letter noted that the Navy failed to develop a strategy to “provide for those who have suffered from the effects of exposure to drinking” contaminated water. The water from Camp Lejeune’s Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point distribution systems was highly contaminated with various chemicals, including the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) known as PCE (Tetrachloroethylene aka Perchloroethylene), TCE (Trichloroethylene), DCE (Dichloroethylene), Vinyl Chloride and BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene).

These chemicals are either known or suspected human carcinogens. Those exposed to the contaminated water have suffered liver cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, leukemia, non Hodgkins lymphoma, liver disease, miscarriages, birth defects (cleft palate, heart defects, Choanal atresia, neural tube defects, low birth weight, and small for gestational age), etc.

Congressional testimony from the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry in 2006 confirmed 16 children at Lejeune who died from leukemia after drinking the contaminated water.

An unknown number of Marines, Sailors, their dependents, and civilian employees were exposed to the contaminated water.

The letter questioned the Navy’s failure to develop a strategy to address the health effects of exposure to the contaminated water, the need for additional studies “in perpetuity” by the Navy, and urged the Navy act now.

The letter asked the Secretary of the Navy provide answers to:

* How many more studies does the Navy plan on commissioning before addressing the health effects of exposure to toxins?

* When will the Navy address the health effects to veterans, their families, and civilian employees?

The Congressmen requested a prompt reply from the Navy. Stay tuned for the Navy's reply.

These members of Congress signed the letter, you can read the full text at: http://www.veteranstoday.com/downloads/Lejeune_Congressional_Letter.pdf

Rep. Tierney

Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick

Rep. Gene Taylor

Rep. Rothman

Rep. Mel Watt

Rep. Maloney

Rep. Walter Jones

Rep. Jesse L. Jackson

Rep. Israel

Rep. Coble

Rep. Courtney

Rep. McHenry

Rep. Al Green

Rep. Berkley

Rep. G.K. Butterfield

Rep. Shuler

Rep. James p. McGovern

Rep. Capps

Rep. Massa

Rep. Boyd

Rep. Foxx

Rep. Kagen

Rep. Mike Quiqley

Rep. Betty Sutton

Rep. Michaud

Rep. Miller

Rep. Dingell

Rep. Stupak

Follow this link to all of our stories about the Marine Corps and TCE

Bob O’Dowd is a former U.S. Marine with thirty years of experience on the east coast as an auditor, accountant, and financial manager with the Federal government. Half of that time was spent with the Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia. Originally from Pennsylvania, he enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 19, served in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings in 52 months of active duty in the 1960s. A graduate of Temple University, Bob has been married to Grace for 31 years. He is the father of two adult children and the grandfather of two boys. Bob has a blog site on former MCAS El Toro at mwsg37.com. This subject is where Bob intersected with Salem-News.com. Bob served in the exact same Marine Aviation Squadron that Salem-News founder Tim King served in, twenty years earlier. With their combined on-site knowledge and research ability, Bob and Tim and a handful of other ex-Marines, have put the contamination of MCAS El Toro on the map. The base is highly contaminated with TCE, trichloroethelyne

  • . You can email Bob O’Dowd, Salem-News.com Environmental and Military Reporter, at this address: consults03@comcast.net




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    Candy October 31, 2009 5:12 pm (Pacific time)

    OUTSTANDING!! THANKS FOR HELPING US KEEP THEIR FEET TO THE FIRE, FROM WWW.WATERSURVIVORS.COM. YOU'RE A GREAT REPORTER. CANDY


    Jim Davis, Veterans-For-Change October 31, 2009 10:42 am (Pacific time)

    We could realy kick some serious A_ _ is more military and veterans signed a petition to get the TCE/PCE Reduction Act of 2009 Signed and presented to the floor for vote and passage. If interested E-Mail me at: Jim.Davis@veterans-for-change.com


    G 2/3; October 31, 2009 3:48 am (Pacific time)

    good article,you've done a lot for many in your ogoing research and persistance in this most important subject, I read all the articles and hope you kick ass for all of those affected! I'd like to write you up for the Silver Star on this one. Semper Fi.

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