Monday, February 15, 2010

Navy, Marines Refuse Vets

Everyone who lived in two housing areas on Camp Lejeune (NC) over a period of thirty years were exposed to hazardous chemicals through well water, which was used for everything that water is ordinarily used. This is an acknowledged fact by the military services; the affected wells which served the complexes have been taken offline, one in 1985, the other in 1987 and the area was deemed a Superfund site in '89.

Possibly, a million people were exposed according to an advocacy group.

A 2007 law directed the Marine Corps to warn former residents, which they primarily tried to accomplish through magazine ads, posters, news stories and word-of-mouth because only 5% of the 133,000 veterans, family members and civilian employees who have registered report a direct contact through the IRS.

A couple of weapons and chemical burial sites have been identified on the base, but initially, the bulk of the blame was placed on a dry cleaning plant located across the street, which disposed of their liquid waste through a septic system and their solid waste was stored onsite from 1953 until 1984.

While last year, benzene, a carcinogenic component of fuel was also identified as a contaminant and minutes from a 1996 meeting asserts that more than 800,000 gallons of fuel was spilled over the years, with only an estimated 500,000 gallons recovered.

Advocates and members of Congress have been pushing the Marines to conduct a $1.6 million dollar mortality study through the CDC, which is required by law, but Pentagon officials argue that because previous studies found no link between the former residents' high cancer rate and the contaminated water, further study is unnecessary.

In an effort to push the Marine Corps to fund the study, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) has blocked the appointment of two Naval officials and vows to block any future nominees until they end their "continued intransigence". He also has a bill in committee, which would open the Veterans health system to family members effected.
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