by Robert O’Dowd
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California, is a safer environment today than prior to its closure in July 1999. Since the 1980s, the Navy spent hundreds of millions on remediation work at the base.
When El Toro made the National Priority List (NPL) in 1990, the government knew the extensive contamination on the base was a serious health hazards for those living and working on the base with 25 contaminated sites. The exposure to contaminants in the air, soil, and groundwater exposed the base’s population to the risks of injury and premature death. Veterans of El Toro and other NPL military installations (EPA Superfunds) are left to their own resources to pay for expensive health care or turn to a too often hostile VA for critical health care.
With the exception of Camp Lejeune, the government has not notified any veterans of the NPL military sites of their possible exposure to environmental hazards and their health effects.
The Navy and Marine Corps have steadfastly refused to accept responsibility for injuries from the contaminated water wells at Camp Lejeune. The base’s wells were contaminated with volatile organic compounds and benzene over a 30 year period (1957-1987). Some have even accused the Corps of running a public relations program when they are faced with a public health problem.
The government spent millions in remediation at both bases but no efforts were made to contact Veterans and dependents of their possible exposure to contaminants until Congressional interest in contaminated water wells at Camp Lejeune forced the Marine Corps to take action to contact former Camp Lejeune Veterans and dependents.
READ MORE: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/08/06/128755/