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Open Letter to New NC Senator Thom Tillis

by Gavin P. Smith

This is an open message to the newly-elected NC Senator Thom Tillis.

As a CDC/ATSDR Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel (CAP) member, I urge you and your staff to immediately, and without delay, take up the issue of ‪‎Camp Lejeune Contamination‬.

This is a long-standing issue with military families, spouses, children and civilian DOD personnel that were on the base between the early 1950s and late 1980s.  Many have suffered due to elevated risks of cancers and other debilitating illnesses due to exposure to extremely elevated levels of chemicals in the groundwater and soil aboard the base, including benzene, TCE, PCE and vinyl chloride.

Several recent research studies have been released from CDC/ATSDR.  This research shows that, when taken in total, there is evidence that ties these exposures to increased risks for cancers and other fatal health issues. Take this recent release of the Civilian Mortality Study from the ATSDR, where researchers state:

“The study found elevated HRs in the Camp Lejeune cohort for several causes of death including cancers of the kidney, rectum, oral cavity, leukemias, multiple myeloma, and Parkinson’s disease.” – http://www.civilianexposure.org/new-download-full-copy-of-camp-lejeune-civilian-mortality-study/


Regardless, setbacks and delays continue.  The recent court decision that upheld the NC statute of repose effectively shut down the ability for families or victims to file claims.  That fight was fought by the Obama administration legal team to win it.  That’s right.  The President of the United States, the very same person that signed The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 into law, instructed government legal teams to fight to uphold this statute of repose in CTS Corp vs. Waldberger, knowing full well it would effectively negate the ability to file claims or suits.  Mike Partain, a fellow CAP member, said it best in a recent National Journal article:

“Where else do you have a president who signs a law acknowledging we were poisoned by our government and then less than two years later, that same administration used a legal technicality to exempt itself from the consequences of their disregard of the environment,” said Mike Partain. “Only in America.”


I urge you to take up this work with us and help us create a lasting, positive, appropriate and accountable solution once and for all.  Along with the United States Congress, Senator Richard Burr, the Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel, the CDC, the ATSDR and all other key stakeholders involved, please be a champion for this cause during your tenure.

We must continue to work tirelessly for corrective legislation, heightened awareness, accountability and prompt assistance for ALL military and civilians affected by decades of Camp Lejeune toxic water‬ and soil exposure.

How many more have to die waiting for the care and assistance they deserve?


Gavin P. Smith, Civilian Exposure

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