are under way will answer their questions definitively. Hundreds of former residents and employees of Camp Lejeune have filed claims with the Department of the Navy.

Several investigations have been performed on issues related to the discovery of the contamination at Camp Lejeune. A brief overview of the investigations follows.

INVESTIGATIONS

Camp Lejeune Studies

Health Investigations

A sequence of health investigations and studies were conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added Camp Lejeune to its National Priorities List in October 1989. A public-health assessment evaluated exposures and potential risks at three sites on the base, including the sites served by the contaminated drinking-water systems (ATSDR 1997a). ATSDR judged that exposure to VOCs in drinking water was unlikely to pose health risks to adults but raised questions about risks to children who may have been exposed in utero. A followup study found no overall association between exposure and pregnancy outcome but reported that male infants were small for their gestational age (ATSDR 1998). Similarly, Sonnenfeld et al. (2001) found no overall association with pregnancy outcome but reported that infants of some groups of mothers who were exposed during pregnancy had lower birth weights.

ATSDR is now studying children born at Camp Lejeune in 1968-1985 to determine whether exposure to VOCs in drinking water is related to specific birth defects and childhood cancers. Health effects under consideration include spina bifida, anencephaly, cleft lip, cleft palate, childhood leukemia, and childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The study will also include modeling of the contaminants and water-supply systems in an attempt to provide better estimates of which study participants might have been exposed and at what concentrations. The water modeling conducted to date and ATSDR’s health studies are evaluated in Chapters 2 and 8, respectively.

Other Investigations

Several federal inquires on the contamination of the water supplies at Camp Lejeune were conducted. The inquiries were not health investigations or evaluations of scientific issues but rather were focused on activities surrounding the discovery and handling of the situation. A short summary is presented here to give the reader some background, but the issues are outside the scope of the current report and the investigations were not used or evaluated by the committee. One inquiry was conducted in 2004 by a panel chartered by the Marine Corps to review the facts surrounding the discovery of the drinking-water contamination and actions taken (Drinking Water Fact-Finding Panel for Camp Lejeune 2004). The panel found that the Marine Corps responded appropriately with the information available and found no evidence that an attempt was made to cover up evidence of the contamination. However, the panel concluded that the Navy should have been more aggressive in providing technical expertise to the Marine Corps so that it could understand the significance of the contamination, that communication between Camp Lejeune officials and between base officials and Navy technical support was not always adequate, and that communication with former residents did not provide enough details to characterize the contamination fully.

EPA conducted two inquiries. One, completed in 2005, was the EPA Office of Inspector General’s investigation into complaints about EPA’s response to Freedom of Information Act requests about the Camp Lejeune contamination and other issues regarding EPA’s responsibilities. The Office of Inspector General found that EPA’s responses to the information requests were not handled appropriately but



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement