Congress to Navy: Assist Lejeune Veterans & Dependents

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camp_lejeune_150(Washington, DC) – 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.

Download the Lejeune Congressional LetterIn 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. 

The following Congressmen signed the October 26st letter:

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, and Rep. Stupak.

Click & Download the Lejeune Congressional Letter in .PDF format

 

 

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Robert O’Dowd served in the 1st, 3rd and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings during 52 months of active duty in the 1960s. While at MCAS El Toro for two years, O'Dowd worked and slept in a Radium 226 contaminated work space in Hangar 296 in MWSG-37, the most industrialized and contaminated acreage on the base. Robert is a two time cancer survivor and disabled veteran. Robert graduated from Temple University in 1973 with a bachelor’s of business administration, majoring in accounting, and worked with a number of federal agencies, including the EPA Office of Inspector General and the Defense Logistics Agency. After retiring from the Department of Defense, he teamed up with Tim King of Salem-News.com to write about the environmental contamination at two Marine Corps bases (MCAS El Toro and MCB Camp Lejeune), the use of El Toro to ship weapons to the Contras and cocaine into the US on CIA proprietary aircraft, and the murder of Marine Colonel James E. Sabow and others who were a threat to blow the whistle on the illegal narcotrafficking activity. O'Dowd and King co-authored BETRAYAL: Toxic Exposure of U.S. Marines, Murder and Government Cover-Up. The book is available as a soft cover copy and eBook from Amazon.com. See: http://www.amazon.com/Betrayal-Exposure-Marines-Government-Cover-Up/dp/1502340003.