Fuel and chemical fumes are one of the topics federal scientists expect to examine as they determine if up to 1 million Marines and civilian employees exposed to contaminants in water and air at Camp Lejeune suffered adverse health effects. People who may have been exposed over a 30-year period come from every state in the nation. About 170,000 people who lived or worked on the base have signed up for a registry to get updates of research.
Contaminated drinking water is the focus of current research and undoubtedly exposed far more people than air.
"It's unfathomable why they wouldn't have done the testing after committing to do it," said Richard Clapp, a professor emeritus of environmental health at Boston University who has worked extensively on Lejeune pollution issues.
Inhaled pollutants can be especially dangerous because they are absorbed by the body more quickly than water, he said.
Health survey The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will conduct a health survey starting in June of people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune, N.C., before 1986 who may have been exposed to pollutants. For those who want to participate, or to get more information, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr.