211143 New epidemiological studies at Camp Lejeune: Study designs and progress to date

Monday, November 9, 2009: 10:50 AM

Frank J. Bove, ScD , Division of Health Studies, ATSDR, Atlanta, GA
From the 1950s through the mid-1980s, individuals residing or working at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with volatile organic compounds. Responding to public concerns about adult illnesses due to these exposures, ATSDR convened a scientific panel in 2005 to make recommendations for future health studies. Panel recommendations included that ATSDR assess the feasibility of identifying cohorts of individuals who lived or worked on the base for a mortality study and that future studies be conducted in full partnership with the exposed community. In response, ATSDR convened a community assistance panel in February 2006 that meets quarterly. ATSDR also completed a feasibility assessment of future studies at the base that included a literature review of the health effects of exposures to the drinking water contaminants and an evaluation of databases for identifying cohorts. In 2008, Congress mandated that a health survey be mailed to individuals possibly exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

Data collection has begun for two studies of individuals who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during the period of drinking water contamination. A mortality study will evaluate about 200,000 former Marines and civilian workers. A health survey study will mail questionnaires to over 300,000 former Marines, their dependents, and former civilians. These studies will evaluate cancers and other diseases of interest confirmed by medical records or death certificates. The findings of the feasibility assessment, descriptions of the study designs, and preliminary results from the data collection will be presented.

Learning Objectives:
Assess the feasibility of conducting an epidemiological study of a cohort of retired military personnel exposed in the past to volatile organic contaminants in drinking water. List the diseases associated with drinking water or occupational exposures to trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene. Design a mailed health survey of a very large and geographically dispersed cohort exposed to volatile organic contaminants in drinking water. Discuss methods for ascertaining and confirming diseases among a large, geographically dispersed cohort.

Keywords: Chronic Diseases, Drinking Water Quality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior epidemiologist with ATSDR, Division of Health Studies since 1991 with a Sc.D in epidemiology and a MS in environmental health; I prepared the feasibility assessment for future studies at Camp Lejeune for my agency; and I am a Co-PI on the current and future epidemiological studies at Camp Lejeune.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.