September 24, 2009

Poisoned Patriots?

Posted: 02:43 PM ET

Sometimes stories raise more questions than answers, leaving uncertainty above all else. One example - my recent story on former Marines who now have male breast cancer, and worry their very rare illness was caused by time spent at Camp Lejeune.


A large question remains - will there ever be a day when scientists will have conclusive evidence to prove there is a link between the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, and the Marines who say that contamination caused their cancers and other illnesses?  Who knows?

Records show there was water contamination at the base for decades. The Corps admits this contamination was serious – toxic chemicals, which are classified as probable carcinogens, meaning they are believed to cause cancer in humans. Experts reported the tap water highly contaminated as early as 1980 and 1981. But it took until late 1984 for the Corps to begin testing all the wells and shutting down the contaminated ones. But scientists and researchers now cannot seem to figure out whether there is a conclusive link between illnesses and the contamination. 

The Corps says it is cooperating with scientists to try to research if there is a link. So that means, you have a group of former Marines who are forced to wonder what has made them sick. – knowing they share at least one common thread:  they all lived at Camp Lejeune for a period of time, and drank the water.  These Marines want answers… they say they want the Marine Corps to help them figure out what made them so sick - with such a rare disease for men.  Yet, despite their years of military service, they feel the Marine Corps has abandoned them.  And I think that’s what hurts some of these men so deeply.  They say they gave years of their lives to proudly serve the country – but now wonder where is the loyalty and compassion when they need it the most?

How many more former marines are out there with serious illnesses, possibly not even aware of the concerns over the contaminated water?  And I have one final question for the Marine Corps: Is there anything more you can do to help these former Marines, or children of Marines, uncover why they are so sick?  If you had the chance, and had only one question, what would you ask?

Filed under: Abbie Boudreau • Special Investigations Unit

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