Acting largely on the basis of seven Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) studies, the Institute of Medicine committee has recommended that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expand the range of conditions covered by legislation, providing health benefits to veterans and their families who were exposed to drinking water contamination.
Drawing from studies led by Dr. Patricia Janulewicz, assistant professor of environmental health, and Dr. Ann Aschengrau, professor of epidemiology, the committee recommended that the VA consider adding several neurobehavioral effects to the covered conditions, including those due to neural tube birth defects, adolescent and adult illicit drug use, bipolar disorder, and problems with contrast sensitivity and color discrimination.
Between 1957 and 1987, the drinking water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was inadvertently contaminated with industrial chemicals, including the solvents trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE). In response to health concerns raised by veterans and their families, in 2012 Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, also known as the Janey Ensminger Act. The act provides health benefits to veterans and family members and applies to 15 different health conditions, including certain cancers, renal toxicity, and neurobehavioral effects. Ms. Janey Ensminger, the daughter of a retired Marine sergeant, died of cancer at age 9.
To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2015/04/08/sph-researchers-contribute-to-va-clinical-guidance-for-camp-lejeune-veterans/