BEAUFORT, S.C. — Navy health officials have been investigating possible health hazards at several Marine Corps bases in South Carolina since 2015 in the wake of complaints from military families about their children’s cancer cases, the service said Thursday.
“We feel for any family when their child is diagnosed with a disease,” the Marine Corps said in a statement issued by Capt. Clay Groover, spokesman at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. “Our thoughts and prayers are with these children and their families.”
The statement did not enumerate what the hazards might be. But it said the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center, based in Portsmouth, Virginia, began the probe “to determine if an exposure pathway exists for potential health hazards” at three sites. They are the military’s Laurel Base housing complex in Beaufort, the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot Parris Island and at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, the statement said.
In March, the Marine Corps announced it had begun checking 664 sites at 11 Marine bases in the United States for water contamination to check whether chemicals from its firefighting foam may have contaminated groundwater. That list included the Beaufort Air Station and the Parris Island training site.
The Marine statement said its officials have met with military families about the issue and pledged to “remain as transparent as possible,” which would include releasing the center’s study upon its completion to the families and the public.
The Beaufort Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/2j4qrUy ) it had contacted Marine Corps spouse Amanda Whatley, who posted a video on You Tube about her daughter having contracted leukemia after living at Laurel Bay from 2007 to 2010, but she declined comment due to other media commitments.
“We appreciate the families’ concerns and are working to help the medical experts to find the answers,” the statement said.
Information from: The Beaufort Gazette, http://www.beaufortgazette.com