Study: Marines at Camp Lejeune had high cancer death rate

Feb. 20, 2014 at 5:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The cancer death rate at Camp Lejeune, the Marine base in North Carolina, was significantly higher than at Camp Pendleton in California, a federal study found.

The report released Wednesday by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said the cancer death rate at Camp Lejeune was 10 percent higher than at Camp Pendleton, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Drinking water at Camp Lejeune contained toxic chemicals for about three decades before being cleaned up in 1987, while Camp Pendleton water was not contaminated.

Researchers said the death rate was much higher for some types of cancer with Marines based at Lejeune 68 percent more likely to die of multiple myeloma. Figures for kidney cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, cervical cancer and Hodgkins lymphoma ranged from 33 percent to 47 percent higher.

"This mortality study has given a voice to the thousands of dead Marines and sailors needlessly poisoned by the gross negligence of their leadership," said Michael Partain, 46, who was born at Camp Lejeune and also serves on the advisory panel for the study. "Through their voices, maybe the living will have a fighting chance."

Researchers determined the cause of death of 8,964 veterans stationed at Lejeune between 1975 and 1985 and compared them with a similar group stationed at Pendleton during those years.

Up to 1 million people lived at Camp Lejeune during the decades its water was contaminated.

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