A man raised at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base has blamed his breast cancer on tainted water he drank while growing up there. According to a CNN report that aired in 2009, at least 20 men who were either lived at or were stationed at Camp Lejeune between the 1960s and 1980s have been diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that strikes fewer than 2,000 men in the United States a year.
“We come from all walks of life,” Mike Partain, the son of a Marine who was born on the base 40 years ago. “Our commonality is that we all at some point in our lives drank the water at Camp Lejeune. Go figure.”
A doctor interviewed by CNN said he was struck by other commonalities among the men. For one thing, their breast cancer diagnosis came early in life. Most men with the disease are diagnosed in their 70s, but the Camp Lejeune breast cancer victims have generally been in their 30s, with no history of breast cancer.
As we’ve reported in the past, many scientists have called the drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune the worst in the nation’s history. For years, Marines who served at Camp Lejeune have blamed their families’ cancers and other ailments on tap water tainted by dry cleaning solvents, and many accuse the military of covering it up. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s, an estimated 1 million people were exposed to water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune that was contaminated with benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and vinyl chloride, which the Department of the Navy eventually blamed on an off base dry cleaner Many.
Recently, lawsuits involving toxic water at Camp Lejeune were consolidated in multidistrict litigation and transferred to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. The Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits will be presided over by Judge J. Owen Forrester. Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits allege that the U.S. government knowingly exposed hundreds of thousands of Marines, sailors, their family members, and civilian employees to highly contaminated drinking water on the base at Camp Lejeune, while at the same time actively disseminating disinformation to those exposed in an effort to minimize the significance of the exposure.
Advocates for victims of Camp Lejeune’s toxic water say they support legal actions against the Marine Corps as a way to find the answers it seems unwilling to provide