What Happened at Camp Lejeune

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Motomom34, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    This article is currently trending. It is an interesting read but sadly people are paying for this with their health. We think we are safe in our home, drinking water from the tap but as the author points out, "one never actually knows, what is buried."

    What Happened at Camp Lejeune
    I grew up drinking and bathing in the toxic waters around a military base in North Carolina. Thirty years later, I went back to investigate.
    Lori Lou Freshwater
    Aug 21, 2018
    In the autumn of 1980, a contractor showed up to grade a parking lot. He had no idea he was about to start digging up the radioactive bodies of dead beagles. But the forked bucket on his bulldozer started pulling up more than soil, and it turned out he was digging in a pit of strontium-90 and dog carcasses that had been buried in an ash-gray tomb: a nest of dead dogs and laboratory waste labeled "Radioactive Poison."

    The new parking lot was on the site of the former Naval Research Laboratory dump and its associated incinerator in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina—and it was just one of many areas contaminated by an assortment of hazardous waste and chemicals on the base.

    About half a mile away from the dump, soon to be known as Site 19, my friends and I were living in our neighborhood, called Paradise Point. We spent our time putting other girls' bras into freezers at slumber parties, playing the Telephone Game, riding our bikes all over the place: to the golf course to steal a cart, to swim at the pool, to play soccer on Saturdays.

    During the same autumn the dead beagles were found, I was sitting in front of a fake backdrop of rusty colored leaves, a slight 11-year-old girl with spaces between my teeth and freckles spritzed across my nose and cheeks, to take my school photo.

    Under normal circumstances, this entirely unremarkable fifth-grade photo, in a plaid shirt and fragile gold necklace, would have likely ended up where most school photos do, in an old album or a drawer or simply lost to time. Instead, the photo would become a marker in the medical history of my family and my community, a reminder of the crime that was being committed on the day the photo was taken—and also for decades before, and for years after.

    The place was Camp Lejeune, a United States Marine Corps base wrapped around the New River in Onslow County that served as an amphibious training base where Marines learned to be "the world's best war fighters," picking up skills that would allow them (for example) to make surprise landings on the shores of far away countries. From the 1950s until at least 1985, the drinking water was contaminated with toxic chemicals at levels 240 to 3400 times higher than what is permitted by safety standards.

    Please follow link for the rest of the article:
    What Happened at Camp Lejeune - Pacific Standard
    Dunerunner, techsar, Brokor and 2 others like this.
  2. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    My wife and I have been watching this situation unfold for decades...we both were aboard base in the affected areas for years, as was her daughter...may she R.I.P

    So far, all DOD has done is continually bombard families with questionnaires...but nothing else. I guess they figure if they draw it out long enough, everyone involved will be dead...win-win from the government's pov.
  3. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    I lived on base during the early and late 80's and I can tell you that there were/are a few more issues than the cleaners chemicals that have been reported. We had pink snow outside the shop one year and found a forgotten, leaking tank of transmission fluid that had been seeping into the lawn for nobody knows how long. I saw senior enlisted Marines roll dirty solvent tanks out into the middle of the shop and pull the drain bungs out of the bottom so Marines could swab the shop floor with the solvent. (It got better overseas. Somebody decided to use battery acid on the deck there and we all got new boots out of the deal when ours fell apart.)

    Questionnaires...yup, lots of those.
    Ura-Ki, sec_monkey and Brokor like this.
  4. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Was in the USAF in the 1950's and the way that chemicals were disposed of was not good. Most of our old military bases, manufacturing sites, mines, refineries, etc are very polluted. The major reasons were a lack of knowledge about the dangers of a lot of the chemicals, a misunderstanding of the associated chemicals created in the process of creating a product, like the contaminants present in agent orange in Vietnam, inadequate testing that was limited to gross toxicology and did not test for long term effects or cancer inducing effects or changes to the DNA. The problem ws made much worse by the inability to effectively test for either the chemicals or to test for at levels below parts per million. A lot of the "new " standards are in parts per billion and thus tens of thousands times less than were even able to be measured in 1950. In fact in 1950 we could not test for the effects on DNA as not we did not only not have the testing methods, we didn't know that DNA existed as we now know it. While there was a lot of unfortunate events that occurred, since then there has also become a very viable industry making huge profits off of that pollution. Lawyers have made billions out of their share of the settlements, a major industry exists to test for and remove the pollutants, and it has became the major tool used be any group that opposes any major changes in the environment , or wishes to protect their version of reality. Thus like race, social system goals, wealth distributions, tribe, version of history of our past, desired education for our children and students in advanced education,etc, it has become another minefield in which no one really knows what is true and what is someone's perception of truth.
    The article above is well documented, may well be true, and I feel sorry for those damaged by the events. Blaming the people who were in charge and had neither the knowledge of the dangers nor the ability to test for them may yield massive payouts, ie the talcum powder and cancer settlements, but other than the lawyers and the lottery winners, has little positive effect on our health and we as a whole will pay for their gains either in higher prices, as the amount of the price of a new airplane that is the long term liability insurance that is included in the price, or the closing of all the lead smelters in the USA and the higher price of lead objects.
    mysterymet, Ura-Ki and sec_monkey like this.
  5. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    The issue with Lejeune is that the wells were used for drinking water after being identified as contaminated...and this was hushed for quite a while.
  6. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Lejeune vets' claims to be approved faster for 8 illnesses

    Lejeune vets' claims to be approved faster for 8 illnesses

    Water lines for a small unit water purification system prototype draw water from a reservoir at Camp Lejeune, N.C., May 9, 2014.


    By TOM PHILPOTT | SPECIAL TO STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 23, 2017

    The Marine Corps has begun outreach to hundreds of thousands of veterans who served at Camp Lejeune, N.C., at least 30 days from August 1953 to December 1987, inviting them or surviving spouses to file for VA compensation if veterans suffered one of eight ailments linked to water contamination on the base.

    On March 22, the Corps sent an email blast to more than 120,000 Lejeune veterans who had shared current online addresses on a registry created to identify and educate potential victims of polluted drinking water at Lejeune over a 34-year period, in an era that ended 30 years ago.

    The email explained that veterans who can show they served at Lejeune from Aug. 1, 1953, to Dec. 31, 1987, for 30 days or more, are now eligible to file fast-track VA disability compensation claims for eight conditions. The “presumptive” ailments for Lejeune vets are: adult leukemia; aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes; bladder cancer; kidney cancer; liver cancer; multiple myeloma; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; Parkinson’s disease.

    The Marine Corps will follow its email blast with a postal mailing of 200,000 over the next several weeks to home addresses on file with the Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water website.

    The mailing will advise veterans and survivors that medical science affirms a strong association between compounds that leached into drinking water at Lejeune and the eight ailments. On March 14, a final VA regulation accelerated the processing of qualifying for disability pay. Even drilling reservists who spent weekends and annual training at Lejeune, also for a total of at least 30 days, will be found eligible for VA compensation if they have one of the presumptive ailments.

    If Lejeune veterans died from any of the ailments, their surviving spouses or children will see claims for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) fast tracked too, under the accelerated process established for Lejeune victims.

    Years ago, studies confirmed that Lejeune water had been contaminated by benzene, vinyl chloride and two volatile organic compounds — trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry-cleaning agent.

    In 2012 Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which opened VA medical care to Lejeune vets diagnosed with one of 15 ailments linked to the pollutants. Because family members aren’t eligible for VA care, the law made VA payer-of-last-resort for Lejeune family members diagnosed with one of the 15 illnesses if their employer or family health insurance fails to cover all treatment costs or they have no insurance.

    article continues below

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    By December 2015, then-VA Secretary Bob McDonald vowed to use his secretarial authority to review the science again and begin compensating Lejeune vets for disabling conditions most associated with the tainted water. A year later, VA published an interim rule that found eight of the original 15 conditions having a strong association to chemical exposures at Lejeune.

    A VA technical workgroup led the comprehensive reviews of evidence, working with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, explained Bradley Flohr, senior adviser for the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Compensation Service, in a phone interview.

    “We reviewed medical [and] scientific reports of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program and Environmental Protection Agency, which looked at these contaminants and the potential for development of diseases,” he said.

    VA’s final rule March 14 allows payment of claims using the presumptive conditions to begin. Presumptive ailment claims can be reviewed by any VA regional office. If Lejeune claims involve any non-presumptive illnesses, however, they still must be referred to Louisville Regional Office in Kentucky, which coordinates to have an environmental health specialist review the evidence and give a medical opinion.

    That process, Flohr said, still “takes quite a bit of time.”

    More than 18,000 Lejeune veterans have filed compensation claims in recent years for roughly 50,000 medical conditions. Only 1,100 of these veterans have seen at least one claimed condition approved for compensation, Flohr said.

    “Of the 50,000 unique conditions we decided,” Flohr said, “about 39,000 were for what we classified as miscellaneous conditions. That is, we have no other category to put them in. They’re not cancers [or] anything else we would track.”

    Most of the claimed conditions show no association to exposures at Lejeune.

    “They are filing claims for anything — hearing loss, arthritis, hurt backs — all kinds of things with no relationship to the contaminants in the water,” Flohr said.

    The Navy Department estimates that from 1953 through 1987, roughly 900,000 veterans were stationed at Camp Lejeune, including 123,000 reserve personnel who conducted weekend drills and annual training there. Of all of those veterans, VA projects that almost 12 percent, or just over 107,000 of active-duty veterans, reservists and survivors, will file claims by 2022 worth $2.2 billion.

    Among the first claims being reviewed under the new regulation are 1,400 filed over the past year that VA stayed rather than denied because they involved one of the eight conditions now deemed presumptive. They will be approved quickly “if they don’t involve any non-presumptive conditions,” Flohr said. “This is certainly making it a lot easier for someone who has one of these eight diseases.”

    Flohr added that over time more medical studies and new scientific evidence could support adding diseases to the presumptive list for Lejeune.

    The Marine Corps mailings will urge veterans who had earlier claims denied, particularly if they involved one of the newly presumptive ailments, to re-file. They will be approved at least back to March 14 but possibly to an earlier effective date if the evidence ties their condition to Lejeune exposures, Flohr said.

    VA never provided compensation before to reserve component members for environmental exposures involving weekend drills and annual training versus periods of active service. The Lejeune situation in that regard is unique and could create some challenges to document 30 days’ reserve time exposure.

    “It may not be all that difficult but it might be in some cases,” Flohr said.

    The Marine Corps hopes to reach as many Lejeune vets as possible about the new presumptive diseases. In addition to the website, it operates a call center Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Time. The phone number is: 877-261-9782

    Lejeune vets with medical evidence of a presumptive disease and documents showing Lejeune service in the period of contamination can file claims using VA Form 21-526EZ. Veterans service organizations can help file for benefits. Claims also can be filed electronically through eBenefits.
    Ura-Ki, techsar and Motomom34 like this.
  7. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I fear that there are many, many of these places throughout the country which like ghosts will continue to haunt us for many years...
    Gator 45/70, Motomom34 and Ura-Ki like this.
  8. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    The lasting legacy of unfortunate gov expedient practices will haunt us for decades to come! My Uncle survived WW-2 aboard the U.S.S. New Mexico only to die in 1947 of whay was officially ruled tuberculosis, when the facts are he was exposed to asbestos for the entire time he served aboard ship! Dad has similar problems, serving aboard some of the first DDGs that had asbestos insulation all over the ship! When I first enlisted in the Air Force, I remember visiting the ground shop and seeing the mechanics washing hands off in the solvent tanks, mopping the shop floors with the same solvents, and lots of asbestos insulation, especially around all the steam heating systems and Ground Power Units, especially the turbine powered ones!
    When I first returned home to Oregon, there was a major blow out about the Kaiser ship yards and repair stations and docks, including 400 tons of submarine batteries thay were simply pulled out of the boats and tossed over the side! There was the first "Super Fund Sight" on the Wet Coast right in the middle of down town Portland, they are still dealing with that sight 25 years later! Then we have the Hanford depot up stream on the mighty Columbia which is now leaking heavily, and the old Trojan Power station that keeps testing bad for contaminated ground water and soil even though the power station is long gone, it's reactor and spent fuel is now entoomed at Hanford! Point is, we have done a very bad job of maintaining our world, especially when we allow the Government to run these programs, and we are going to keep paying for it for a very long time!
    Gator 45/70, Motomom34 and techsar like this.
  9. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    For those who missed:
    “Of the 50,000 unique conditions we decided,” Flohr said, “about 39,000 were for what we classified as miscellaneous conditions. That is, we have no other category to put them in. They’re not cancers [or] anything else we would track.”

    Most of the claimed conditions show no association to exposures at Lejeune.

    “They are filing claims for anything — hearing loss, arthritis, hurt backs — all kinds of things with no relationship to the contaminants in the water,” Flohr said.

    And that my friends is one reason it took so long to decide a lot of claims.
    No Fraud was intended, but claims filed that did not fit the occurrence of exposure.
    Gator 45/70 and Motomom34 like this.
  10. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

  11. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+++

    When I was there they told us not to drink the water out of the tap
    Gator 45/70, HK_User and Motomom34 like this.
  12. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    Dad was there '53 to '56, I was there in '84. It's easier to say what wasn't wrong with him when he passed away this past March. Hopefully my future will be brighter, but I sure ate in the mess a lot.
  13. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

  14. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    I left there in 85, never heard anything about it till a few years ago. I get those questionnaires about every year now. Hopefully I won’t need any compensation for those diseases , I don’t think they’re curable diseases. When I leave this dirt pile ,,, I don’t want it to be wasting away in a hospital bed with tubes and hoses stuck in me,,, I can think of better ways to enter the hereafter.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  15. Tempstar

    Tempstar Old and crochety Site Supporter+

    Thanks Motomom. It was tough but at the same time I was glad the years of suffering were over. He was one tough ass Marine to the end and the best father one could wish for.
    oldawg, Motomom34 and HK_User like this.
  16. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    One of my co-workers was stationed there for four years of his Marine life during the 80s. No problems yet but he's been contacted.
  17. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    We have developed claims for Vets of that occurrence. The problems have been, as indicated in the article above, that most do not have the medical conditions for the exposure covered. NTL we are obligated to file the claim and then this means the VA has to sort it out.,

    Each claim, if denied has the right to a NOD (Notice Of Disagreement) the Vet can decide how this appeal is set up. This can be a Formal Hearing or a Local Decision. Each step is now completed in a timely manner but all this takes time and money from the VA.

    If a Vet has new information in support of their NOD then they nave a pretty good chance of winning their case.

    It all hinges on proving Service Connected and Documents they have, especially SICK Call records.

    Along the way we might discover information that proves a Vet has a claim for something not considered in the original claim but is a service connected problem. In this case we can file a New Claim for that condition.

    Example> 30 Year Vet had not considered the evolution of Roll On Roll Off exhaust fumes in the well deck of a ship might have damaged his Cardio Vascular System, as well as years of operating Gas Fork Trucks in unventilated storage areas.

    It takes time to examine and collect records.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  18. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    Another problem is,, most of the time we never went to the aid stations because the staff nco's and officers were always saying you were just sand bagging ,,,so a lot of stuff never got recorded,,,,
    techsar likes this.
  19. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Exactly! I have two entries in my sick call.
    SB21 likes this.
  20. Oddcaliber

    Oddcaliber Monkey++

    Look up Love Canal in New York State. Just as bad if not worse. It was a Superfund site.
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