Thursday, February 22, 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: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nationís conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places ó South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington ó as survivors, victimsí families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

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Published: 02/21/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

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Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

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Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18