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EPA investigating whether radioactive waste is buried at Lejeune

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RALEIGH (AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to determine if cancer-causing radioactive material is still buried near a Camp Lejeune rifle range.

A Navy document dated May 22nd, 1981, says the material included 160 pounds of soil and two animal carcasses laced with strontium-90, an isotope that causes cancer of the bone and soft tissue, and leukemia.

The document says the dirt, carcasses and 518 "beta buttons" containing strontium-90 were cleaned up at a research lab near the main part of the base and buried in a remote area. The document also says the buried material was later recovered, stored and was awaiting shipment to an approved disposal site in South Carolina.

But former Marine Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger, who found the 1981 document while researching Lejeune's history of contaminated water, says he's can't find any further documentation that the material was actually shipped off-base. He says he guarantees that the waste is at the range.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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