Documents Reveal Military Knew of Camp Lejeune’s Toxic Tap Water
Thousands of newly released documents about water contamination at Camp Lejeune add to the evidence that the military long knew about tainted tap water blamed for deaths and illnesses among Marines and their families, and that officials covered up the information for years, a North Carolina congressman said Friday.
“For the last 30 years, instead of saying there could be health effects and or even we don’t know what the health effects are, they’ve minimized it,” said Democratic Rep. Brad Miller.
On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., released more than 8,500 Department of Defense documents relating to the water contamination that continued at the base for decades. The release came the same week the Senate approved a bill to provide health care for Marines and their relatives who suffered because of the contamination. The bill covers Marines who lived or worked at the base from Jan. 1, 1957, to Dec. 31, 1987.
The House is expected to consider the amended bill by early August, Miller said. The Camp Lejeune provision is part of a larger bill about veterans’ issues.
Water supplied to Camp Lejeune’s main family housing areas was contaminated by dry cleaning solvents and other sources from the 1950s until 1987. Health officials believe as many as 1 million people may have been exposed to tainted water. Among them was Janey Ensminger, who was 9 when she died of leukemia in 1985. The bill providing health care for the victims is named after her.