05.13.15

Burr Fights for Veterans and Military Family Members Exposed to Contaminated Water

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) released the following statement in response to the meeting between officials from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, officials from the Veterans Administration, representatives from North Carolina’s elected official’s offices and members of the community. The meeting took place in Greensboro and focused on the ongoing effort to convince the VA to rely on the most recent and credible body of science that confirms the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was highly contaminated with known human carcinogens from the 1950s to 1987, and very likely led to service related disabilities, particularly cancers, among veterans and their families. 

“It has been almost three years since Congress passed the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act,” said Burr. “In that time, the CDC has released four studies showing that these Camp Lejeune families have a higher risk of certain cancers and a higher mortality rate.  Yet the VA continues to drag its feet and disagree with the government’s leading scientists. It's unconscionable that less than 10 percent of these sick veterans have gotten disability benefits. If the VA won't listen to the law or to scientists, what's it going to take?" 

An estimated 750,000 people may have been exposed to probable and known human carcinogens in the base's water supply between the 1950s and 1980s. To date, this is the largest recorded environmental incident on a domestic Department of Defense installation. 

Senator Burr is the author of the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which was signed into law in 2012This important law provided veterans and their families health care for certain diseases and conditions that are a result of exposure to well-water contaminated by human carcinogens at Camp Lejeune.  The VA has been dragging its feet in recognizing these veterans and families affected by contamination.