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U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune covers about 156,000 acres in eastern North Carolina, and at any given time is home to about 170,000 active-duty personnel, family members, retirees, and civilian employees who live on base or in the surrounding community. Between 1957 and 1987, the groundwater at Camp Lejeune was inadvertently contaminated with chemicals, primarily industrial solvents. Many of these chemicals were later found to cause cancer and other health problems, although not all of them were recognized as toxic at the time of contamination.
To ensure that the clinical guidance for the 15 covered medical conditions listed in Public Law 112-154 is “scientifically sound,” the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) asked the IOM to convene an ad hoc committee to review the guidance for VA staff and make recommendations for its improvement. In addition, the committee was asked to perform the following specific tasks: 1. Based on the latest scientific literature and the committee’s review, describe the medical conditions that result from “renal toxicity” due to solvent exposures and characterize the “neurobehavioral effects” as mandated for coverage in the law. To conduct its task, the committee held two open sessions to learn about the guidance from VA health professionals. Literature searches were also performed to identify the recent epidemiologic and toxicologic studies and assessments of the contaminants of interest.