JIM_FONTELLA.jpg

Many men in service and their sons were exposed to poisoned water at Camp LeJeune between 1960s and 1980s, and more than 20 of the men now have male breast cancer.

Many of those sick, are denied VA benefits. Completed their mission, but what is owed to them in honor… is withheld.

“Among the chemicals later identified in the drinking water were trichloroethylene, a degreaser; benzene; and the dry cleaning solvent perchloroethylene. Two independent studies have found no link between water contamination and later illnesses, according to the Marine Corps.”

Yes, like the souls downwind of White Sands, the people of Utah, New Mexico, Alamagordo. That counter with x-ray machines behind sterilizing any black person who stepped to the counter. Like the people who were ‘rained’ on with aeroplanes ‘seeding the clouds’ with chemicals in the 1950s, and the spraying of crops from the air over rivers and creeks and schools in the farmlands, and the draining talus slopes of silver and uranium mines still in the West. No link. No links. No. No siree. None.

Bodies, sick bodies, Yes, yes yes siree. Multitudes.

More story at CNN here.

DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • DdW

    Thank you for bringing this sad story to our attention, dr. e

    D.

  • JeffersonDavis

    The degreaser (trichloroethylene) used to be used for weapon cleaning in vat tanks. Users of the tanks were required to wear gloves but rarely did. I’m guilty of it myself in the 80’s. They’ve since changed that practice, but those tanks were drained periodically when they were in use – is it a conincidence that it ended up in the water?

    The VA should cover those malidies, though. I’m not sure why they haven’t. If someone shows a sympton of something chronic and has it documented immediately, their VA treatment comes quickly. If it is something that has yet to be proven, the VA drags its feet terribly. That is the beauty of this article. I love hearing it when something like this gets addressed.

    I hope the Marines get the treatment they deserve. Semper Fi.

  • spirasol

    Defending the defenders of ….probable….sometimes most certain….wrong doing.

    You might think that, at least in the case of vets, the choice would be to err on the side of the vets. Like the climate, maybe we don’t know with 160% certainty what the climate will do, but we might want to protect the population, do the right thing, etc.

    Of coarse at the barricades are all the others who are kept at bay, can’t get justice, because it has not been proven with scientific certainty that A directly causes B. There is a long history of corporate malfeasance. Think of Drs, and Pharmaceuticals, the Food Industry, the chemical industry. Their out to be lawsuits in a country set up to be as litigious as we are against the Banks.

    Remember the Tuskegee experiment!

  • archangel

    dear JD: just breaking today, there is a bill suddenly in Congress re giving treatment to Marines who have this serious illness. We shall see.

    dear Dorian. It’s shades of Agent Orange again, isnt it. My Canadian and USA guys who have the syndrome are still fighting for justice.

    Let’s keep raising our voices for them all. Most were just kids, when they were exposed.

    And just in general, I dont believe ‘the Marines” said after two independent studies there were no links between water then and disease now. What I know to be true is that the Public Affairs arm of that particular base would release whatever people way way up there told them to. The boot Marines? They would never abandon a buddy in distress or go along with a money-saving measure when their lives, and those of their families and buds are involved. When I read the quote that “the Marines” had said thus and so… I just thought, desk guy, not Marine Marine. I could be wrong, but that’s the way I see it up close in my work at VA.

  • superdestroyer

    I believe that the standard for the VA is a 99% chance that there was a 50% probability that the cancer was caused due to the exposure. What the studies probably show is that the exposures are well below that level. However, as occurred in the past, the activist are claiming that the people are victims and thus no one should be able to question anything about their claims.

    Of course, Congress usually goes along and passes out free money to whoever can produce the saddest story.

    • Don Quijote

      Of course, Congress usually goes along and passes out free money to whoever can produce the saddest story.

      They are Marines, they gave at least three years of their life in the service of this country. Taking care of their disease, whether or not they got it while in the Corps, is the least this country can do to pay back their service. so FU

  • Ghostdreams

    Thanks Doc for bringing this up. Unfortunately, I’ve come to believe that this is typical VA bull..uh..pucky. :P. The VA denying valid claims is nothing new.

    When I was in the VA I saw the effects of agent orange on many of guys I was in hospital with and some of the guys could barely walk due to damage done by agent orange to their feet (I won’t discuss what it looked like up close because I don’t wish to make any of the readers here ill).

    ]The VA policy was and is, “Deny, deny, deny” … If you have men and women who are suffering due to their time in the service, “Deny, deny, deny.” If the illness they have due to their time in service is literally killing them…Deny, deny, deny.” If they have a church steeple hanging out of their rear… “Deny, deny, deny.”

    This policy works especially well if the illness is psychological/ psychiatric in nature but I’ve seen many physical issues (such as the agent orange situation) that were obviously due to the person’s time in service and the VA was true to form 98.5% of the time …Deny, deny, deny.”

    I remember one fellow that was in the VA hospital with me that, whilst fighting overseas, had been too close to a grenade when it went off and shrapnel, literally, had peppered every area of his body save some of his face. He shouldn’t lived through that nightmare but he did. I used to sit in the day room with him every morning before breakfast and watch the shrapnel come out of his pores. It literally looked like the shrapnel was oozing out of his pores in a watery yellowish fluid.

    The civy doctors said that his liver was shutting down due to the overload of poisons in his system (from the shrapnel) and gave him 9 months to live. He immediately applied for VA disability but was told by the VA doctors that they felt the liver issue was due solely, to a time in his life when he was drinking quite a bit and they also wondered aloud if he hadn’t INTENTIONALLY STOOD NEXT TO A LIVE GRENADE in order to put in for VA disability (!?!?!)!

    The only time the guy drank was when he was overseas 20 years before and as for the accusation about him “intentionally standing too close to a grenade” … I refuse to dignify such a comment by even debating it. None of it made any sense and it was obvious that he and his family were going to get screwed (he was panicked about his kids not having any help growing up without him there and was hoping that his disability status would help them out – and it would have if he had gotten it …but ya know …” Deny, deny, deny.”

    These days, I make sure to warn other vets about VA hospitals! I tell em, “The only kindness you’re gonna get is from the volunteers that help out there,” to whom most of us owe a very large debt – FYI – Many volunteers would come and sit with us, chat over coffee and make us feel – don’t laugh – “loved” and several of the service orgs (VFW, etc) used to show movies, hold games nights for us, etc. THEY were the ones that made a REAL difference for us.

    Them and the Chaplain …and if any of you know my opinion of organized religion, you might find it odd that I say this but it’s true. The Chaplain and their lay assistants did all of us who were stuck in the VA hospitals an amazing amount of good.

    I knew atheists who looked forward to having talks with a Chaplain. They were good people, all of them. So, between the volunteers and the Chaplain (and lay assistants), we were given a lot of “heart felt” talks, good advice, told us about the different resources available to us for when we were released, and ..well, the list is too long but one thing was sure from the volunteers and Chaplain, you’d feel good after speaking with them. They would literally hold our hands when things were especially ugly.

    As for the VA “doctors” (most of whom are interns and residents)… Forget about it. They are not there to help us. They are there to find any and all ways to refuse us benefits. Just my opinion (but it is sincere

    Ghost (who is having an especially transparent “Ghost” day 😛 ) Btw, Doc, I have this signature I’ve used on and off for years and thought you might like it. 🙂 ‘You can’t run with the wolves, if you pee like a puppy.’ It is meant to be “cute”.. I get a grin out of it anyways) 😀 Laters!

    • archangel

      Thanks Ghost for your first-person witness. In a world of armchair opinion, we need the real deal stories too. Very much so, so we can all learn to see.

      your signature made me smile

      Carry on.

      dr.e

  • Father_Time

    I really do not appreciate .taking up half the thread with blank a page.

    • Ghostdreams

      What are you talking about, Blank a page?

      Ghost

      • Ghostdreams —
        Don’t worry about the sad little anger-ball that is Father_Time. He hates everyone. If you’d like to get rid of the blank space at the bottom of your comment, however, just go to edit and delete the cartridge returns at the end.

        • archangel

          Thanks Roro for helping Ghost to delete extra space at end of the comment. I did not see it, but looks like it is fixed now. Thanks for being gracious. Gold in the dark.

          dr.e

    • archangel

      HI there FT. What are your referring to, “Blank page.” I do not see what youre seeing. Please advise. I want to understand this, if there is a glitch in WordPress that youre seeing only on your screen. I’ll need to let Tyrone know, our site administrator.

      thanks.
      dr.e

  • Ghostdreams

    Anyone else know what he’s referring to?

    Thanks,
    Ghost

  • I checked with NIOSHA and OSHA (National Institute of Safety Health and Occupational Safety and Health Administration) both benzene and the chloroethylenes are class one carcinogens. . .with no PEL (permissible exposure limit)Jefferson Davis, they where required to wear gloves? and even that was not enforced. . .These chemicals should only of been used with a respirator and complete body protection so they did not get on the skin. . .Exposure Routes are inhalation, ingestion, skin and/or eye contact. . .On all three of these chemicals . . .the TLV on benzene is 0.1ppm, if you can smell it with these chemicals you are way over exposed for the TLV is below odor detection. . .So the military does not have to follow the dictates of government safety and occupational regulations? Really?

  • btw Ghost i like your sign off and it made me smile. . .and can so understand the betrayal. . .deny. . deny. . .deny. . .lost my ability to have children due to a chemical over-exposure while working for a large agricultural chemical company as i was putting myself through graduate program. . .and ended up being medically treated by the leading Neuro-Toxicologist that advocated and fought for years concerning Agent Orange exposure from Vietnam. . .your expressed sentiments are mild compared to the ones he expressed about the gov. cover-up and the true harmful effects of chemicals and powers that keep those issues in the dark. . .

    my prayers and thoughts are with these that served and have been betrayed. . .

    • superdestroyer

      I looked up the MSDS for Benzene. http://www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Benzene-9927339

      It list the following standards.

      TWA: 0.5 STEL: 2.5 (ppm) from ACGIH (TLV) [United States]
      TWA: 1.6 STEL: 8 (mg/m3) from ACGIH (TLV) [United States]
      TWA: 0.1 STEL: 1 from NIOSH
      TWA: 1 STEL: 5 (ppm) from OSHA (PEL) [United States]
      TWA: 10 (ppm) from OSHA (PEL) [United States]
      TWA: 3 (ppm) [United Kingdom (UK)]
      TWA: 1.6 (mg/m3) [United Kingdom (UK)]
      TWA: 1 (ppm) [Canada]
      TWA: 3.2 (mg/m3) [Canada]
      TWA: 0.5 (ppm) [Canada]Consult local authorities for acceptable exposure limits.

      The short term exposure level would apply to the military during peace time operations.

      However, OSHA numbers should not be used for drinking water. It is controlled by the Safe Drinking Water Act http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=b3fbec657cdefb3ecc20fb4ec0231b14&rgn=div8&view=text&node=40:22.0.1.1.3.6.16.1&idno=40

      There are standards for Benzene and TCE. The Safe Drinking Water Act is set at a 1 in a million cancer risk from drinking the water for 70 years. So it would be easy for veterans to drink water that is not incompliance with the SDWA but would be well below the standard for any type of veterans compensation.

      Also, the article mixed its statistics. Mems breast cancer is rare but in the last forty years, how many men have been assigned to Camp Lejune and what is the 95% CI for breast cancer in a group of men that large.

      • Superdestroyer thanks for your reply. . .i got the information from NIOSH Pocket Chemical Hazards. . .until i read your comment i had forgotten that there is sometimes a variance with OSHA and NIOSH values. . .When i worked as an Environmental and Industrial Hygiene Technologist that is the one i carried around . . .NIOSH is geared more to the well-being of the workers. . . I also found a site of the Class I carcinogens and read the recommendations for benzene and five of the chlorethylenes but did not save the link and do not remember it. . . As far as using the OSHA or NIOSH information to target known health risks to specific chemicals i think you would find many that advocates for the chemical companies or in this case the Gov. that does not want to claim financial liability would use the strict know chemical research as you point out and in all likelihood that is what Gov. had used to deny the claims, but talk with chemical toxicologist that work with real people and real exposure they will tell you the validity in using this approach for multiple exposures, toxic pits, or toxic sites, is sorely inadequate because once the chemical are mixed together, and once multiple chemical target the body a whole new beast has been created, as the chemical combine and make new chemicals.Most all of these chemicals are aromatic hydro-carbons and know from experience some people with over-exposure it can weaken the immune system, and it can also set up a chemical hyper-sensitivity so that the body is predisposed to immune related diseases. . . Also the long term effects of chemicals on the body is an areas that has little research. It looks like in this situation with the rarity of men’s breast cancer it is highly likely there was a chemical cocktail that has turned deadly. . .This is just my opinion Superdestroyer and i am no expert, just one that due to my lack of understanding learned the hard way, and now am a bit cautious of the chemical world and the power they yield in insuring their products are marketable. . . Do you think there is not a chemical loby behind these finanacial decisions as well as the Gov. not wanting to claim liability. I imagine the first one is more of a factor than the later? http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0048.htmlBenzeneExposureLimits NIOSH REL: Ca TWA 0.1 ppm ST 1 ppm See Appendix AOSHA PEL: [1910.1028] TWA 1 ppm ST 5 ppm See Appendix FRespirator Recommendations(See Appendix E) NIOSHAt concentrations above the NIOSH REL, or where there is no REL, at any detectable concentration:(APF = 10,000) Any self-contained breathing apparatus that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode(APF = 10,000) Any supplied-air respirator that has a full facepiece and is operated in a pressure-demand or other positive-pressure mode in combination with an auxiliary self-contained positive-pressure breathing apparatusEscape:(APF = 50) Any air-purifying, full-facepiece respirator (gas mask) with a chin-style, front- or back-mounted organic vapor canister/Any appropriate escape-type, self-contained breathing apparatusImportant additional information about respirator selectionExposure Routesinhalation, skin absorption, ingestion, skin and/or eye contactSymptomsIrritation eyes, skin, nose, respiratory system; dizziness; headache, nausea, stagger

  • archangel

    HI there FT. What are your referring to, “Blank page.” I do not see what youre seeing. Please advise. I want to understand this, if there is a glitch in WordPress that youre seeing only on your screen. I’ll need to let Tyrone know, our site administrator.

    thanks.
    dr.e

    • Father_Time

      What you don’t see anything wrong with Ghost’s “thanks doc” post with half the post as blank space?

      At least two screen heights of blank nothing?!

      • archangel

        Thanks for taking the time to reply FT. I dont see the glitch anymore. Apparently, it’s been fixed. No reason to call people names when there’s a technical glitch in their posting. Next time, please call it to one of the moderators’ attention, or let the commenter know with courtesy, rather than calling people names. I see many good thoughts by you in comments. Dont let the small stuff get to you. We all have reason to be out of sorts every day. Too, there’s a point of honor to weigh such against, and act accordingly. Just saying. My .02 about the latter, only.Thanksdr.e

        • Father_Time

          Ok, it’s still there.

          • archangel

            Hmmm, thanks FT. It’s not showing up on my screen. I’ll take Ghost’s comment down, reformat it and put it back up. Let me know if that works for your monitor/ cpu.

            Thanks,
            dr.e

          • Father_Time

            Thank You archangel.

            My apologies to Ghostdreams for the “jackass” comment and by-the-way that was very good post Ghostdreams. I’m going to blame it on the constant harassment from roro80 that is making me edgy.

      • Stop saying hateful things in every comment, and I’ll be super-duper happy to stop harassing you.

  • Ghostdreams

    Welllll…
    Not sure what to do cuz I’ve tried re-editting it and it just won’t go … there’s got to be 30 after the end of the post and I didn’t put them there.
    I musta done something .. bummer.
    I’ll come back later and try again.
    Sorry for the rather weird blank area at the end gang.
    (BTW, when FT first mentioned it, it didn’t show in my browser.. maybe my browser is going through midlife crisis or something???)
    Oh well.
    Thanks for the support Roro and Sparrow!

    Ghosty

  • archangel

    sparrow, nowadays, think OSHA. Our men and women are required in service to follow safety standards, and set example for others by their own safety-taking precautions. The soldiers are required to take safety classes and follow OSHA to the letter as part of leadership and honor for the lives of others they are peers to, or lead.

    Interestingly, service people are nowadays held to those strict codes just as foremen and forewomen are in state road departments which use all kinds of chemicals in welding and cleaning.

  • tidbits

    Seems to me the real “blank space” is in the committment of the military/VA to tend properly to those who served.

    • archangel

      dear tidbits: Do you now at 13:44 hours, see a long blank space after Ghost’s story about the VA here?thanks. It’s a mystery made for z of c.dr.e

      • tidbits

        Dr. e (as in Esmeralda) I no longer see the blank space, though I was left near blind after being staked down naked in the hot sun of Carthage those many years ago as the aristocracy pelted our rebellious band with vegetables and dragged Jose to the dungeon.

        z of c

        • archangel

          Thanks Z

          E

  • DLS

    This issue brings to mind something else that raises some similarities.

    “The degreaser (trichloroethylene) used to be used for weapon cleaning in vat tanks.”

    “Gulf War syndrome” was a host of maladies claimed by many vets from the early 1990s war that had some suspecting that the vets were exposed to nerve agents (among the chemical weapons that Iraq had developed and used against Iran, and was a threat ever since to use against us when we took military action against Iraq). What apparently became news recently was a perfectly logical explation of an alternative: that vets may have been exposed not necessarily to chemical weapons, but at various times to insecticides that were in the same chemical family as many nerve agents and less powerful versions used throughout the world as insecticides (namely, organophosphate compounds that have an anticholinergic effect), but insecticides that are more powerful than those allowed to be used in the USA, i.e., older and more powerful insecticides that have been banned for many years in the Western nations. (The best known example is parathion, which is highly toxic, whereas a less powerful and much less dangerous example commonly used nowadays in the USA is the more sinister-sounding malathion.)

    In other words, vets suffering from symptoms appearing to be those of poisoning by organophosphate anticholinergic nerve agents (the most powerful and toxic such compounds) may instead have been struck by overexposure from the use (or misuse) of related, though less-powerful and less-toxic such compounds (more powerful and toxic than those approved for use as insecticides here in the USA at the present time; many others were banned because of the dangers). It’s a clearly logical explanation.

    And,

    “The VA should cover those malidies, though. I’m not sure why they haven’t.”

    In the other example, what springs also to mind promptly is that it could have involved wrongdoing, or may nave just been careless, negligence, or ignorance at the time, but at the present time fault doesn’t want to be admitted because of the legal and other consequences that might conceivably be brought upon the parties involved — not only government authorities, but contractors, and of course the firms who manufactured the substances or otherwise caused the exposure. Avoiding blame and liability, in other words, if not an outright coverup. Then, of course, we can add a simple, cynical desire to reduce costs (of paying benefits to the vets), as seems to be the case with the “pre-existing condition” or related game playing associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and physical damage like concussions that were suffered by vets in the more recent war in Iraq.

  • Ghostdreams

    Thanks Doc for the post fix!
    I have no idea what was going on. I tried to correct the issue eight times with “edit” and the last time it did look as if I’d gotten it fixed (although, I did experience a brief moment of “VA paranoia” that kinda went like this, “THE VA DID IT! I KNOW THEY DID! THEY ARE OUT TO RUIN MY ANTI-VA POSTS!” but .. those thoughts went away as quickly as they came – grin) ..
    I appreciate you making it right. Thanks again. 😀

    FT .. no problem. I wake up every morning with what the DSM IV calls “early morning growl syndrome.” They tell me there is no cure but I’m still working on it with my therapist! (and she hasn’t given up yet!)
    When one lives in the “growl glass house” as much as I do, one likes to extend some compassion for other human beings who have a rare growl moment.
    Thank you for the apology FT! Much appreciated. 😀
    Ghost

  • tidbits

    FT & roro80 –

    FT – I for one appreciated you owning up to the “jackass” comment and acknowledging the value of Ghost’s comment. Don’t be too quick to judge roro80. I know first hand how gracious he/she can be when differences are reconciled, and they can be with mutual respect. roro80 has a fine mind and a good heart to go along with those strong opinions.

  • archangel

    like tidbits said about FatherTIme and Roro, ditto. Thanks Father Time, Appreciate it. Roro also. For all, that was class

    dr.e