Housing for military families at Camp Lejeune is inexpensive, but a new federal report suggests dozens of Lejeune families are paying a terrible price with their health. The Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry now says there is a possible link between contaminated drinking water on the base, and 103 children born with childhood cancers and birth defects.
Terry Dyer lived there as a child, now, twenty years later she says she has seen friends and family members die as a result of the contamination. "I've had miscarriages. My sister had a 25 pound tumor. I've had tumors the size of golf balls."
Only recently has Dyer been able to pinpoint what it was that has made her so sick. "I call it a chemical cocktail. Because it wasn't just one chemical, it was quite a few."
Many residents in Camp Lejeune were exposed to chemical toxins between 1968 and 1985. The toxins are believed to have come from contaminated wells on base, and cleaning solvent that was being disposed of improperly by a dry cleaner. Dyer has documents that show the wells were closed off in 1985. But residents were no alerted of the dangers until just three years ago. For many of them it was too late. "It breaks my heart to know we can police the other countries and we've got people here who are heroes and they can't get the help they need to get better."
Dyer says she is still struggling to get answers. She says the results of the federal investigation should help draw attention to the dangers that used to lurk in the water at Lejeune. And, she says, the alarming conclusions should guarantee it will not happen again.
Lieutenant General Richard Kelly of the Marine Corps has issued a statement that says the most important thing is the welfare of the Camp Lejeune families, and he hopes a complete report will be done as soon as possible.
For a complete look at the report log on to http://www.usmc.mil and click on the Camp Lejeune Water Survey Report.