Water – Military.com | Daily News

22 May


It wasn’t until a letter from Grainger in
August 1982 reported TCE levels of 1,400
ppb that any kind of widespread testing
began. Though the EPA did not yet enforce a
limit for TCE at the time, the chemical had
long been known to cause serious health

“That is when the light bulb went off,” Sharpe
told federal investigators in a 2004 interview,
obtained by the AP. “That is when we
connected the tests of the 1980, 1981, and
1982 time period where traces of solvents
were detected to this finding.”

Still, it was not until the final weeks of 1984
that the first wells were closed down.
Between the receipt of that 1982 letter and
the well closures, the employee told the fact-finding group, “they simply dropped the

Each year of delay meant an additional
10,000 people may have been exposed,
according to Marine estimates.

Municipal utilities around the country were
using far more sophisticated tests to detect
much lower contaminate levels, said
Kaltofen, while the people at Camp Lejeune
were doing “the bare minimum. And it wasn’t

Last year, President Obama signed the
Camp Lejeune Veterans and Family Act to
provide medical care and screening for
Marines and their families, but not civilians,
exposed between 1957 and 1987 – although
preliminary results from water modeling
suggest that date be pushed back at least
another four years. The law covers 15
diseases or conditions, including female
infertility, miscarriage, leukemia, multiple
myeloma, as well as bladder, breast,
esophageal, kidney and lung cancer.

Jerry Ensminger, a former drill sergeant,
blames the water for the leukemia that killed
his 9-year-old daughter, Janey, in 1985. He
and Michael Partain – a Marine’s son who is
one of at least seven dozen men with
Lejeune ties diagnosed with a rare form of
breast cancer – have scoured the records,
and he thinks the Corps has yet to accept
responsibility for its role in this tragedy.

“If I hadn’t dug in my heels,” Ensminger said,
“this damned issue would have been dead
and buried along with my child and
everybody else’s.”


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