"Something in the Water"- Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune

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Thousands of Marines, their families, and employees were exposed to toxic tap water that many believe is the cause of cancer and birth defects.
The water contamination has had a ripple effect across the country... including right here in our area.
Movies have probed into cases of cover-up involving contaminated water... it's a topic that makes for dramatic dialogue on the big screen.
If you asked one former Marine about his connection to polluted water... he'd tell you the name of his movie would be, "The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten."
It was April 2007 when 39-year-old Tallahassee resident Mike Partain hugged his wife Margaret.
It’s a hug that saved his life.
She felt a lump in his chest.
It was cancer.
Mike Partain, a breast cancer patient says, "It was just out of the blue.
I had no idea that first a man could get breast cancer and second that where did it come from? Cancer's pretty rare in my family.
Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of all diagnosed breast cancers. It is very rare and is strongly linked to genetics. But for Mike it was a phone call he received from his father that he says pinpointed the cause of his cancer.
Mike remembers the moment, "He said, 'Go home and turn on the TV now.' And when he said that, it just made me shiver. I stood right there and looked at the TV, and they were talking about Camp Lejeune, where I was born, and that the water was contaminated."
Mike's mother was pregnant with him when they were stationed at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina.
She drank the base's water the entire time she was pregnant with him...that televised report would change Mike's life forever.
Mike says, "My blood ran cold, because I knew where the cancer had come from, and I knew that some of the other things that had happened in my life, I was born with a skin rash that covered my whole upper body, and I knew that's where that came from too because these are things nowhere in my family."
From sometime in the 1950's until 1987... residents at Camp Lejeune drank the contaminated water.
It's still unknown exactly how many people were affected.
Mike now devotes every moment he can spare to researching the Camp Lejeune water issue... but he's been disappointed by how the government's handling this.
Mike says, "It amazes me just the, how a story that is so evident when you read it can be twisted and turned and presented to the public in a manner that is confusing, that is misleading, and ultimately, is hurting people."
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s senior epidemiologist in the Division of Health Studies is conducting a study on birth defects and childhood cancers at Camp Lejeune.
He estimates as many as 600,000 to 800,000 people were exposed to the contaminated water.
The Marines have little to say about the contamination.
On the Camp Lejeune web site, the Marines say they are committed to reaching all former residents who may have been exposed... but in part two of the report, we'll tell you how Congressman Allen Boyd says the Department of Defense has been anything but forthcoming.

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