Camp Lejeune residents blame rare cancer cluster on the water

From The L.A. Times:

For three decades, dry-cleaning chemicals and industrial solvents laced the water used by local Marines and their families. Mike Partain and at least 19 others developed male breast cancer.

Reporting from Tallahassee, Fla. – One night in April 2007, as Mike Partain hugged his wife before going to bed, she felt a small lump above his right nipple. A mammogram — a “man-o-gram,” he called it — led to a diagnosis of male breast cancer. Six days later, the 41-year-old insurance adjuster had a mastectomy.

Partain had no idea men could get breast cancer. But he thinks he knows what caused his: contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he was born.

Over the last two years, Partain has compiled a list of 19 others diagnosed with male breast cancer who once lived on the base.

For three decades — from the 1950s to the mid-1980s — the water supply used by hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families was laced with chemicals from an off-base dry-cleaning company and industrial solvents used to clean military equipment.

A 1974 base order required safe disposal of solvents and warned that improper handling could cause drinking water contamination. Yet solvents were dumped or buried near base wells for years.

“The Marine Corps knowingly poisoned their own people,” Partain recently said in his living room, surrounded by stacks of military documents and water analysis reports. “They were told about the water, and they did nothing. Nothing. And then they lied about it.”

Read the rest:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-military-cancer26-2009aug26,0,5677602,full.story

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