WASHINGTON — The Navy has agreed to pay $1.53 million for a mortality study that could show a linkage between toxic water at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and the deaths of Marines and their family members who lived there over a 30-year period.
Some estimates are that during that time as many as 1 million people were exposed to well water at the base that contained trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, benzene and vinyl chloride. Benzene is a component of fuel and a known carcinogen.
The chemicals were dumped into storm drains, leaked from fuel tanks or were buried in pits across the base. They seeped through the groundwater and into wells that fed the base areas of Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace.
The main contaminated well was shut down in November 1984.
North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the top Republican on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, and Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., the chairman of the House Science Committee's oversight panel, said newly revealed documents related to the fuel contamination will change the direction and broaden the scope of the government's inquiry.