Sunday, June 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: No time to waste on Lejeune health claims

The Marine Corps said it wanted to wait on the science before doing right by tens of thousands of veterans and their families affected by polluted drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Now a new study should finally force the government to accept responsibility for the serious health problems these military families have suffered.

A draft of a much-anticipated study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found an increased incidence of birth defects and cancers such as leukemia in children of mothers exposed to tainted water at the North Carolina base. The survey of parents of 12,598 children who were born at the base between 1968 and 1985 found an elevated incidence of neural tube defects, a serious birth defect involving an opening in the brain or spinal cord, in children whose mothers were exposed to contaminants early in their pregnancies.

The findings, released last week, provide the most significant evidence yet that water may have harmed the health of those who lived at the base, including at least 19,350 people from Florida. As the Tampa Bay Times' William R. Levesque reported, the findings provide what one epidemiologist called "the best information we have" on contamination levels in the camp's water system. As many as 1 million people may have been exposed to contaminated water at Lejeune from the 1950s to 1980s, with pollutants ranging from benzene, a component of gasoline, to trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent.

The findings by the agency, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, add to the urgency for the government to provide a much fuller picture of the health history and death rates for former base residents. Nearly 230,000 people have signed up for a health registry and fear they were exposed to harmful pollutant levels at Lejeune; the 19,350 figure from Florida is the second-highest total in the country behind North Carolina.

The Marine Corps should recognize its obligation to these veterans and their families. It should welcome a larger study on the health histories of this population and build on the findings to aggressively address the hundreds of compensation claims by veterans and military family members. Time is not on the side of those who were exposed, and the Marines should not drag out a process that has already left thousands in limbo for decades. A 77-year-old veteran who led the fight over access to disability claims resulting from service at Lejeune died last week in Sarasota.

Members of Congress should keep up the pressure. That's been instrumental in prodding the Defense Department to finally give this veterans' health issue the serious attention it deserves.

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Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

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Updated: 06/22/18

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Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

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Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

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Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

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Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

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Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18