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Scientific evidence of health problems from past contamination of drinking water at Camp Lejeune is limited and unlikely to be resolved with further study
Date:6/15/2009

, Congress asked the Research Council to examine whether adverse health effects are associated with past contamination of the water supply at Camp Lejeune.

The committee reviewed an extensive water modeling effort of the contamination of Tarawa Terrace, and for Hadnot Point they examined information on chemical contamination from records and disposal practices. PCE was the primary contaminant of the Tarawa Terrace water supply, but the water models could not overcome data gaps to provide accurate estimates of the concentrations of the contaminants. The committee concluded that in the Hadnot Point area, exposures to TCE and PCE occurred, and exposures to several other contaminants through the drinking water distribution system were likely. The ability to determine the levels of exposure at Camp Lejeune was complex, because people could have been exposed at home, school, daycare, or work.

In addition to reviewing the studies focusing specifically on Camp Lejeune, the committee examined data on exposures and available scientific research on associations between these chemicals and adverse health effects to determine which health problems might be associated with the Camp Lejeune contaminant exposure. The committee looked at data from two types of studies: epidemiologic and toxicologic. Epidemiologic studies examine whether a group of people with more exposure to particular chemicals have greater frequency of disease than people with lesser or no exposure. Toxicologic studies conduct tests on animals to observe the health effects caused by exposure to chemicals.

The epidemiologic studies of TCE and PCE, primarily conducted in workplace settings, contained insufficient evidence to justify causal inference for any health effects. However, the committee found "limited or suggestive evidence of an association" between chronic exposure to TCE, PCE, or a mixture of solvents, and some diseases and disorders, including cancers of the bre
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Contact: Jennifer Walsh
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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