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Health Agencies Update
July 25, 2007

Tainted Drinking Water

JAMA. 2007;298(4):394. doi:10.1001/jama.298.4.394-b

Thousands of marines and family members living at a North Carolina military base were exposed to drinking water containing tetrachloroethylene, a dry cleaning solvent and a potential carcinogen, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The agency found that for several decades, the water in the drinking water system for the Tarawa Terrace family housing area at the US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was contaminated with tetrachloroethylene. As many as 75 000 former residents lived in the family housing during the period of November 1957 through February 1987, when contaminated drinking water exceeded the US Environmental Protection Agency's maximum contaminant level of 5 μg/L of tetrachloroethylene. The maximum concentration of the chemical in the drinking water was estimated to be about 200 μg/L.

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