Higher Rates Of Cancer Found Among Those Who Drank Contaminated Water At US Military Base: REPORT

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Military and civilian personnel who lived and worked at a contaminated military base developed cancer at an unusual rate, Reuters reported, citing an epidemiologist familiar with recent research by a U.S. health agency.

The study shows people stationed at the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, came down with cancer at a higher rate than was previously known, Kenneth Cantor, a former National Cancer Institute epidemiologist who has read the study, told Reuters. It also showed that the base’s drinking water likely caused the cancers as the government already owes billions in compensation for former residents’ claims they were harmed from consuming poisoned water.

The report was completed and submitted to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in April, but ATSDR has yet to release it, Reuters reported.

Some who got sick consuming water contaminated with fuel, solvents and other toxins from Camp Lejeune wells between 1953 and 1987 are angered at ATSDR’s delay in making the report public, according to Reuters. People who worked or lived at the base have filed more than 117,000 compensation claims and 1,320 civil claims against the federal government. (RELATED: CCP-Tied Battery Firm Could Pose Major National Security And Espionage Threats, New Report Warns)

The study’s results could encourage more plaintiffs to sue the government, Jonathan Cardi, a Wake Forest University School of Law professor and expert in environmental tort cases, who has not seen the report, told Reuters.

Michael Partain, who lived at Camp Lejeune as a child and is suing the government since he developed rare male breast cancer at the age of 39, said ATSDR’s delay amounts to withholding evidence, according to Reuters.

ATSDR Director Aaron Bernstein said the organization is still working through the peer review process and still has to undergo further scrutiny, including a peer review of author revisions to the report and checks from other ATSDR offices and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), he told Reuters. However, the report’s author said it should have been released long ago.

“I’ve been frustrated by the process,” Frank Bove said at an October meeting of Camp Lejeune’s Community Assistance Panel, Reuters reported.

Research for the study began in 2015, Reuters reported.

Federal officials ruled that plaintiffs against the government over harms related to Camp Lejeune drinking water cannot be charged by their attorneys for more than 25% of the final payout, Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.

Republican Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said Wednesday after sharing the Justice Department’s decision that he had pushed for more than a year with the American Legion to cap attorney fees, Stars and Stripes reported. Sullivan accused some attorneys of forcing contracts on clients that would allocate more than 65% of the final compensation money to the attorneys.

ATSDR did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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