The Environmental Protection Agency has handed a major victory to veterans, civilian workers and families who lived at Camp LeJeune when its drinking water was polluted with a chemical.
The EPA says it will label trichloroethylene, a solvent used to remove grease from metal, a carcinogenic and harmful to humans.
This decision will help people seeking medical care for ailments linked to the pollution.
Some 71 Camp Lejeune veterans have been diagnosed with male breast cancer, and many others suffer rare forms of cancer, leukemia and other debilitating diseases. Children conceived, born and raised on the base are reported to have experienced high incidences of birth defects and developmental and childhood illnesses.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, between 1957 and 1987, an estimated 750,000 people living and working at Camp Lejeune may have been exposed to drinking water contaminated with a host of toxic chemicals, including trichloroethylene.