Karen Strand was six in 1958 when her family moved into a house on the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina. It wasn’t until 2000 that she made the connection between her ongoing health problems — a bleeding ulcer at 19, thyroid and parathyroid problems, depression, and cysts and tumors that necessitated a complete hysterectomy — and the chemical-smelling water she drank and bathed in at the base for 13 years.
Photo: THE STAND.
Strand and her two sisters, who have also had hysterectomies, assumed they were the victims of bad luck until three years ago, when they saw a CNN show in which representatives of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry asked women who carried pregnancies at Camp Lejeune to come forward for a study on the health of their children. Until 1985, the ATSDR officials said, Camp Lejeune residents drank water laced with high levels of the solvent trichloroethylene (TCE), used in military operations. TCE is known to cause cancer, autoimmune disorders, birth defects, and nervous-system problems.
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