Update on Camp Lejeune water studies coming later this month

By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 12, 2018

Government scientists will provide an update to ongoing public health studies related to contaminated drinking water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune later this month.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, will hold a public meeting at the offices of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Jan. 23, officials said.

Scientists with ATSDR are hosting the meeting to update interested members of the public on health activities and studies aimed at better understanding the impact of exposure to the contaminants.

The meeting, at 4770 Buford Highway in Atlanta, will begin at 9 a.m. It will be streamed live online here.

Similar meetings have been held in Florida and North Carolina.

Previously, scientists have linked exposure to water at Lejeune to several diseases and health conditions, including cancers, preterm births and neural tube defects.

The water on the Marine Corps base was contaminated from the early 1950s to 1985, when water wells were removed from service.

The water in those now-discontinued wells had been contaminated with tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, benzene, 1,2-dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride, officials said.

Those chemicals include known human carcinogens and likely originated from a privately owned dry cleaner next to the base, as well as base activities that released fuel and chlorinated solvents into the environment.

As many as 1 million military and civilian staff and their families may have been exposed to the contaminated drinking water over more than 30 years, officials said. Some of those people were part of the government studies.

More information about the meeting and the contamination at Lejeune can be found at atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/index.html.

Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at dbrooks@fayobserver.com

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