Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Tied to a Vary of Cancers, CDC Examine Says

NEW YORK — Navy personnel stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1975 to 1985 had not less than a 20% increased threat for plenty of cancers than these stationed elsewhere, federal well being officers mentioned Wednesday in a long-awaited examine concerning the North Carolina base’s contaminated ingesting water.

Federal well being officers referred to as the analysis one the most important ever completed in the US to evaluate most cancers threat by evaluating a bunch who dwell and labored in a polluted surroundings to an analogous group that didn’t.

The examine discovered navy personnel stationed at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune had been at increased threat for some forms of leukemia and lymphoma and cancers of the lung, breast, throat, esophagus and thyroid. Civilians who labored on the base additionally had been at the next threat for a shorter record of cancers.

The examine is “fairly spectacular,” however can not depend as remaining proof that the contaminated ingesting water brought on the cancers, mentioned David Savitz, a Brown College illness researcher who’s consulting for plaintiffs’ attorneys in Camp Lejeune-related litigation.

“This isn’t one thing we’re going to have the ability to resolve definitively,” he mentioned. “We’re speaking about exposures that occurred (many years in the past) that weren’t nicely documented.”

However he mentioned the brand new analysis will add weight to arguments made on behalf of people that received sick after dwelling and dealing on the base.

Camp Lejeune was in-built a sandy pine forest alongside the North Carolina coast within the early Forties. Its ingesting water was contaminated with industrial solvents from the early Nineteen Fifties to 1985. The contamination — detected within the early Nineteen Eighties — was blamed on a poorly maintained gas depot and indiscriminate dumping on the bottom, in addition to from an off-base dry cleaner.

Earlier than wells had been shut down, contaminated water was piped to barracks, places of work, housing for enlisted households, faculties and the bottom’s hospital. Navy personnel and households drank it, cooked with it and bathed in it.

The contamination has spawned lawsuits and accusations that the Marine Corps failed to guard the well being of its personnel. Marine Corps officers have repeatedly mentioned that federal environmental laws for these cancer-causing chemical substances weren’t finalized till 1989, after the wells had been shut down.

Individuals who received sick after being at Camp Lejeune even have criticized the federal authorities for being gradual to analyze.

The Company for Poisonous Substances and Illness Registry, or ATSDR, an Atlanta-based sister company to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, has completed a few half-dozen research centered on well being issues in individuals at Camp Lejeune. These research had been smaller than the brand new one, and had diversified focuses, together with male breast most cancers charges and beginning defects in kids born to base personnel.

The sooner research identified well being dangers, however the brand new work “extra absolutely establishes the scope,” mentioned Richard Clapp, a Boston College emeritus public well being professor who has been concerned in previous Camp Lejeune analysis.

Dr. Aaron Bernstein, the top of the ATSDR and CDC’s environmental well being applications, referred to as the brand new examine “outstanding” for being greater and extra rigorous than previous analysis.

Within the new paper, the ATSDR investigated most cancers in about 211,000 individuals who had been stationed at or labored at Camp Lejeune between 1975 and 1985 and in contrast them to about 224,000 individuals at California’s Camp Pendleton — which was not identified to have polluted groundwater — throughout the identical time interval.

Frank Bove, a senior epidemiologist, has led the company’s Camp Lejeune analysis for a few years and was accountable for the most recent examine. He relied on employees at Battelle Memorial Institute and others to comb via most cancers registries throughout the nation to search for instances tied to both base.

They discovered an analogous variety of malignant cancers in every group, about 12,000. However the numbers — and the relative dangers calculated from these numbers — had been increased within the Camp Lejeune inhabitants for plenty of particular forms of most cancers. That record included some that weren’t clearly recognized in some earlier research, most notably thyroid most cancers, Clapp mentioned.

A federal legislation signed by President Joe Biden in August 2022 included language to handle considerations of people that developed sure well being issues they imagine had been linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination. It gave them a two-year window to file claims.

The brand new examine could result in inclusion of thyroid most cancers to be added to the record of ailments for which Camp Lejeune personnel and their households would possibly at some point be compensated, Clapp mentioned.

The paper, which underwent exterior peer assessment, is being submitted for publication, company officers mentioned.


The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Academic Media Group. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.

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