Washington, DC -- The Environmental Protection Agency has handed a major victory to veterans, civilian workers and families who resided at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina when its drinking water was polluted with the chemical trichloroethylene, a solvent used to remove grease from metal.
The EPA’s decision, announced yesterday, to label TCE carcinogenic and harmful to humans, will aid those who are seeking medical care for ailments linked to the pollution.
Some 71 Camp Lejeune veterans have been diagnosed with male breast cancer, and many others suffer rare forms of cancer, leukemia and other debilitating diseases. Children conceived, born and raised on the base are reported to have experienced high incidences of birth defects and developmental and childhood illnesses.
"EPA's action will bring Camp Lejeune veterans, civilian workers and their families one step closer to getting the care they deserve because of their exposures to TCE-contaminated water," said EWG Government Affairs Assistant Alex Rindler. "We applaud the agency's thorough research on this toxic chemical. These people are sick and they need help – now."
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, between 1957 and 1987, an estimated 750,000 people living and working at Camp Lejeune may have been exposed to drinking water contaminated with a host of toxic chemicals, including TCE.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. https://www.ewg.org