Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 1, 2014

First item: Congratulations, Pirates!

By Pat Smith
Daily News

---- — Three things today: First, I want to congratulate the Greensburg Pirates team and their coaches for winning the Hall of Fame Tourney in New Castle.

David Fry said it better than I can, “Just playing in the prestigious Hall of Fame classic is an accomplishment since invitations are extended to only some of the best teams in the state. To win the event is yet another honor and to represent the community well is a source of pride! Greensburg was the smallest school with the largest crowd and the best team!”

Second, I saw Cheryl Schroeder Hosmer at Bass & Gasper Funeral Home in Westport Sunday. She now lives in Michigan and has edited several books, some about Steve McQueen. Cheryl told me that she is writing a book now – not editing but writing it herself. I won’t tell you more right now but it’s about someone many of you know. I’m excited for her but I did have a feeling that she had what it takes to success – self discipline.

Mike Gasper and I enjoyed reminiscing about the time I had him and a couple of others on my WTRE program “Chat with Pat.” I taped them but when playing it back nothing was on the tape. I still remember the awful sound of silence but Mike was so gracious I recovered.

Third - Last May I wrote that Tom Imel, service officer for the American Legion Post 129, wanted everyone to be aware of what was happening, or could happen, to those stationed at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days during the years from Jan. 1, 1957 through Dec. 31, 1987.

Unfortunately, for many years the camp’s water supply was deadly and those stationed there could have been exposed to drinking water that was contaminated with chemicals that could lead to deadly diseases.

The contaminated water could cause cancers of the bladder, breast, kidney, lung, and esophagus. It could cause female infertility, hepatic steatosis, leukemia, miscarriage, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, neuro-behavioral effects, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, renal toxicity and Scleroderma.

Any veteran eligible for care under the Camp Lejeune authority won’t be charged a co-payment for health care related to the illnesses or conditions mentioned above. In addition, any third party insurance company won’t be billed for the services.

Imel, who was stationed at Camp Lejeune during those dangerous years, wanted everyone to know about the new law and what it can mean for them. He is a retired member of the United States Marine Corps and was on active duty for more than 22 years.

Imel wants everyone to know the latest about the situation at Camp Lejeune. He showed me a report that stated that a long-awaited study by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms a link between tainted tap water at Camp Lejeune, N.C. and increased risk of serious birth defects and childhood cancers.

The study, released late Dec. 5 by the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, surveyed the parents of 12,598 children born at Lejeune between 1968 and 1985, the year that Marine officials closed drinking-water wells contaminated with chemicals from a leaky fuel depot and a dry cleaner.

The study concludes that babies born to mothers who drank the tap water while pregnant were four times more likely than normal to have serious birth defects, such as spinal bifida. Babies whose mothers were exposed also had an elevated risk of such childhood cancers as leukemia.” The CDC was able to confirm 15 cases of spina bifida and anencephaly, 24 oral clefts and 13 cancers.

More than 100 cases of birth defects and childhood cancers were reported, but only the 52 cases the CDC could confirm through medical records were included in the analysis.

The study relied on models and was not able to measure how much tainted water those surveyed consumed, and therefore could not gauge how much of the chemical they may have been exposed to. The study also did not look at the health effects on adults that drank the water. Eighty-two men with Lejeune ties have been diagnosed with an extremely rare form of breast cancer.

The study contradicts the longstanding position of the military, which for decades has issued public statements downplaying the health risks to Marines and their families.

Records reviewed by The Associated Press show military authorities continued to rely on the wells for years after testing suggested the water was contaminated. The most highly contaminated wells were closed in 1984 and 1985, after a round of more extensive testing found dangerous concentrations of toxins associated with degreasing solvents and gasoline.