EXCLUSIVE: The Investigation Into Water Contamination At Camp Lejeune May Reopen Soon

news
Ap Photo by Allen Breed

The toxic water crisis at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, that left 750,000 Marines, sailors, spouses and their families exposed to contaminated drinking water between the 1950s and the 1980s may face a renewed investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


On May 10, the CDC posted a sources sought notice for a cancer incidence study on water contamination at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The purpose of the study, according to the notice is to:

“... assess whether there is an association between exposure to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune and the incidence of specific cancers in approximately 463,922 cohort members, the study will require that vital status and cause of death for decedents be obtained for 425,319 of the cohort members who had not died prior to January 1, 2009 before accessing cancer registry data from up to 55 state, territorial, and federal cancer registries.”

The difference between this proposed study, which is focused on cancer incidence, and previous studies, which focused on mortality rates, is that a “cancer incidence study would have a greater capability of evaluating cases of highly survivable cancers than a mortality study.” A 2005 panel of scientists recommended that a cancer incidence “should receive the highest priority,” but one has yet to be conducted.

Related: The Toxic Homefront: As Marine Families Fall Ill, Some Are Accusing the Corps Of Negligence »

The study, though still tentative at this time, may start to gain ground in the coming months, Bernadette Burden, a spokesperson for the CDC, told Task & Purpose in an email: “The request for capability studies is a step to make sure we are on the right track with the proposal request and have clearly stated the needs and intent,” Burden said. “We are still planning to post the request for proposals this summer. The study has received all the necessary approvals.”

The water contamination that occurred at Camp Lejeune ranks among the biggest in U.S. history, but it wasn’t until January of this year that the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that veterans stationed at Lejeune in the 1950s through the 1980s were eligible to submit applications for VA benefits.

“Hundreds of mothers suffered miscarriages or gave birth to stillborn babies or infants with birth defects, such as spina bifida. An unknown number, but likely thousands, have developed cancers, including leukemia, bladder, liver, and kidney cancer, and Parkinson’s disease, after living on the base,” Task & Purpose reported earlier this year. And while the Department of Defense cleared Camp Lejeune water of toxins after Dec. 31, 1987, families posted there in the years following believe their health issues may be the result of water contamination.

The CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry have done multiple studies in recent years on the drinking water at Lejeune. A 2014 mortality study using two groups — one from Lejeune and one from Camp Pendleton, California, where there were no instances of contaminated water — revealed that residents of Camp Lejeune had a higher mortality rate for the following causes of death: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; cancers of the bladder, brain, cervix, colon, esophagus, female breast, kidney, larynx, liver, lung, oral cavity, pancreas, prostate, rectum, and soft tissue; hematopoietic cancers; Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; leukemias; multiple sclerosis; Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; non-cancerous kidney diseases; non-cancerous liver diseases; and multiple sclerosis.

“Scientific [and] medical studies continue to investigate whether diseases and disorders experienced by former Camp Lejeune residents and workers are or are not associated with previous exposure to the drinking water at Camp Lejeune in 1987 or before,” Capt. Phillip Kulczewski, a spokesperson with Headquarters Marine Corps, told Task & Purpose in an email.

President Donald Trump speaks during an event with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Pratt Industries, Sunday, Sept 22, 2019, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he discussed Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son in a call with Ukraine's president.

Trump's statement to reporters about his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came as the Democratic leader of a key congressional panel said the pursuit of Trump's impeachment may be the "only remedy" to the situation.

Read More Show Less
"It's kind of like the equivalent of dropping a soda can into canyon and putting on a blindfold and going and finding it, because you can't just look down and see it," diver Jeff Goodreau said of finding the wreck.

The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.

The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.

Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.

Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.

Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.

Read More Show Less
(CIA photo)

Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.

Read More Show Less