"It may be impossible to know whether contaminants in drinking water at Camp Lejeune through the mid-1980s harmed the health of people who lived and worked on the Marine base or were born to mothers who did, according to a report released by the National Research Council today.
The report, commissioned by the U.S. Navy at the direction of Congress, surveyed studies that have been done on the effects of two chemical solvents and other chemicals, including benzene, that made their way into two major water wells on the base. As many as a million people may have used the water for drinking, bathing, cleaning or swimming from the 1950s, when the chemicals likely first reached the water, until 1985, when the Marine Corps closed the wells.
Since the contamination was discovered, 1,548 claims seeking $33.9 billion in compensation have been filed with the Navy's Judge Advocate General's office. None has been paid. The study released today is one of two the Navy was waiting for to determine whether exposure to the water could be linked definitively to birth defects, childhood leukemia and adult illnesses such as liver damage and breast cancer."