As we await the hoped-for passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, we are reminded this is not a new problem. As far back as 2014, a federal study found that cancer deaths linked to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were 10% higher than those at Camp Pendleton whose water was never contaminated.
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s long-awaited mortality study provides persuasive evidence polluted water sickened people who lived at the North Carolina base, say members of a panel advising ATSDR.
For some types of cancer, the death rate was much greater at Lejeune when compared to Pendleton, according to the report. Examples include: kidney cancer (35 percent higher), liver cancer (42 percent), esophageal cancer (43 percent), cervical cancer (33 percent), Hodgkins lymphoma (47 percent) and multiple myeloma (68 percent).
Up to 1 million people, including nearly 20,000 Floridians, lived and worked at Lejeune during the more than three decades its drinking water was contaminated ending in 1987.
“This mortality study is certainly significant, and shows increased overall cancer deaths in Camp Lejeune veterans . . . and trends toward increased kidney cancer and leukemia deaths with increasing exposure to contaminated water,” said Richard Clapp, an epidemiologist who serves on the ATSDR advisory panel.
This is a national outrage. Our best and most courageous suffered needlessly because of water contamination. We need to support our troops who’ve suffered as a result of negligence. They and their families deserve better!