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Contaminated Camp Lejeune water supply explained

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CAMP LEJEUNE -- The contaminated water supply at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987 has been a hot topic for years. More than 75,000 Marines and their families were exposed to toxic tap water that contained the chemicals TCE and PCE. But what exactly are those chemicals?

The chemical compound trichloroethlylene, better known as TCE, is a chlorinated hydrocarbon. It is a clear non-flammable liquid with a sweet smell that is commonly used as a degreaser.

Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene, is called PCE for short. This chemical compound is also a nonflammable liquid with a sharp, sweet odor that is used for dry-cleaning and also metal de-greasing.

The problem is once they get into the water column they don't break down very readily and so they are around for a long time. And if they get to the bottom and settle out it becomes a real problem trying to get rid of them.

TCE was first detected in groundwater in 1977. It is one of the most frequently detected contaminants in groundwater, with roughly a third of the drinking water supply sources tested in the US having some TCE contamination. Most of those locations did meet the EPA's drinking water standard of five parts per billion.

One of the problems we deal with in southeastern North Carolina is of course we have very sandy soil. So if something spills on our soil, there is not really much to bind it so it runs through the sand like a siv and ends up in the water column. That's a problem with these kinds of compounds.

That's a problem because these compounds may have long-term effects that we may not know of. One of the main questions still left to be answered is whether or not these compounds are carcinogenic or cancer-causing.

There have been studied, contradictory studies, regarding this, but in a report the national academy of science put out indicated that there was a strong correlation between studies of animals developing kidney cancer and these compounds. And they thought that this correlation extended possibly to humans.

That's why investigators and researchers continue to study the Camp Lejeune water case.

The National Research Council Committee held a public meeting last Thursday to gather information for its report on the potential adverse heath effects caused by these chemicals on Camp Lejeune. This report is expected to be issued late next year.

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camp lejuene

I was stationed at camp lejuene nc in 1987 shortly after motor transpotation school I was permanently stationed at camp smith In Hawaii. about 4 months later I got pregnant and when my daughter was born she was born with a heart murmur,yellow jaundice, and cranialstenosis, an opening in her c7 on her spine and both of her arms had both the radius and ulna fused together in both arms. she had to under go surgery on her skull at the age of 3 months old for reconstructive surgery on her skull they removed the top and back of her skull so she was left with the sides of her skull and her face. eventually it took a few years her skull grew back at the age of five years old you could still see her heart beat on the top of her head. she still experiences migranes out of this world she throws up and has to have shots and rest to rid herself of this. she has since had children and she went to a genetic counselor to check to see if her condition was hereditary and it was not. it was clearly a mutation of some sort that caused her condition. I had to have been exposed to something while I was in the marine corp. I have since been diagnosed with auto immune disease, I had to have my thyroid removed they thought it was thyroid cancer, and just 3 weeks ago I had both of my ovaries removed with stromal hyperplasia. thinking again it was cancer. I have stomach problems and have since my time in the marine corp. they have gave me ample amounts of zantac. they said when I was pregnant with her that I had an ulcer. also at the time of my hardship discharge which was to take care of my daughter in her condition. they mentioned something about my t 4 or t 3 but went ahead and discharged me anyway. come to find out years later it was my thyroid they were speaking about.
linda sturgill

Contaminated Water & Agent Orange

My husband was in the Marine Corp from 1958-1968. His basic training was at Camp Lejune. He passed away in 1977 at the age of 36 from Myocardial Infarction, acute, massive, Coronary Thrombois, acute, Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease, Cardiomegaly. He was also exposed to Agent Orange.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Please visit the website of The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten at for more information on the TCE & PCE water contamination at Camp Lejeune, NC.