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Camp Lejeune, North Carolina: Home

Map of Camp Lejeune water supply areas

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Camp Lejeune Background

U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was established in 1942. In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water provided by two of the eight water treatment plants on base.

Water from the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant was contaminated by PCE (perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene). The source of the contamination was the waste disposal practices at ABC One-Hour Cleaners, an off-base dry cleaning firm. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) modeled the contamination and determined that the Tarawa Terrace system had PCE levels that exceeded the current standard of 5 micrograms per liter (μg/L) for 346 months between November 1957 and February 1987. (Note: 1 μg/L of a drinking water contaminant is equivalent to 1 part per billion or ppb) The most contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985.

Water from the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant was contaminated primarily by TCE (trichloroethylene). Other contaminants in the drinking water included DCE (t-1,2-dichloroethylene), PCE and benzene. The system was contaminated by multiple sources: leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, and waste disposal sites. ATSDR is currently modeling the Hadnot Point system.

Additional details on the water contamination situation at Camp Lejeune are available.

Health effects of exposures to these drinking water contaminants are uncertain. Most available information comes from animal studies or studies of workers who use these chemicals in their workplace. Very few studies have been conducted of people exposed to these chemicals in their drinking water.

ATSDR has been assessing the effects of exposure to drinking water containing VOCs since 1993. ATSDR activities include the 1998 Study on Volatile Organic Compounds in Drinking Water and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and a telephone interview of parents of children who were carried or conceived at Camp Lejeune during 1968-1985. In addition, the current study, titled "Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds in Drinking Water and Specific Birth Defects and Childhood Cancers at United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina," began in Spring 2005.

ATSDR is planning to conduct a mortality study, a cancer incidence study, and a health questionnaire survey of active duty personnel, dependents, and civilian employees who were at the base during the period of drinking water contamination. Information on these proposed studies can be found in the report: An Assessment of the Feasibility of Conducting Future Epidemiological Studies at USMC Base Camp Lejeune [PDF, 822KB]


 Selected Resources

The USMC Camp Lejeune Web SiteYou are leaving ATSDR
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) encourages all those who resided at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between 1957-1987 to register now to receive updated information and notifications.

New!View video of the Decenber 18, 2008 Community Assistance Panel Meeting:  Part 1 | Part 2

**Video Requires Real Media Player**

Tarawa Terrace Chapter G
This report, Chapter G, describes the three-dimensional simulation of the fate, degradation, and advective dispersive transport of PCE and associated degradation by-products—TCE, trans-1,2-dichloroethylene (1,2-tDCE), and vinyl chloride (VC)—within the Tarawa Terrace aquifer and Castle Hayne aquifer system at Tarawa Terrace and vicinity

Find Out PCE Levels During Your Tour
Find out the levels of PCE and PCE degradation by-products in the drinking water serving your home in Tarawa Terrace by entering the dates you lived in Tarawa Terrace housing from 1952 to 1987.

Update on ATSDR Current Study
ATSDR is conducting a study to investigate whether children born during 1968 through 1985 to mothers who were exposed to VOC-contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune at any time during their pregnancy had increased risk for certain health effects. This study is entitled, Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds in Drinking Water and Specific Birth Defects and Childhood Cancers, United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In April 2005, interviews of parents of children with specific health effects and a sample of parents whose children did not have these health effects began.

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This page last updated on December 22, 2008
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