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Contamination Tce - Pce


GREETINGS I was researching our contamination on GUAM and MIRMAR BASE IN CALIF and ran across a news outlet on superfund sites the MILITARY is NOT advertising IN CALIF & ETC.


http://www.salem-news.com/articles/december292008/el_toro_ro_12-29-08.php ://http://www.salem-news.com/articles/...o_12-29-08.php

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Feb-10-2009 09:26print.gifchat.gif <h1 class="title">TCE-Related Toxic Waste in Irvine Much Worse Than Previously Revealed</h1> Tim King Salem-News.com A plume of the highly toxic chemical trichloroethylene that originated from the El Toro Marine base, has migrated beneath most of Irvine.


Image courtesy: eltoronow.com

(IRVINE, Calif.) - Salem-News.com began a series of reports in May of 2008 on the toxic waste contamination of the now-closed El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine, California. Our reports increased in frequency, and then we added more writers who specifically addressed the contamination stemming from the Marine base.

The Orange County press is covering the El Toro subject closely now, and an environmental coalition has announced plans to build a Racketeering case against the developer Lennar over their plans to build a park and series of homes on the hazardous land. (see: Groups Prepare Civil RICO Case Against Lennar Corporation for Civil Racketeering)

A 2001 document Salem-News.com received this week that originated from Don Zweifel, MCAS, El Toro charter RAB member & pro bono consultant to El Toro Local Redevelopment, indicates that the underground "plume" of TCE moving underground westward away from the old base, had traveled six miles, rather than three as previously indicated. Research underway today indicates that the plume has traveled a significant distance since the six mile mark was noted in 2001.

As it turns out, numerous Marines are ill and many have died of diseases that are directly related to the main contaminant on the base; a chemical called trichloroethelyne, generally referred to as TCE.

This chlorine-based chemical degreaser was used to strip grease and oil from Marine Corps jet fighters for decades at El Toro and then often dumped through grates into the groundwater.

Dr. Phillip Leveque, a retired Oregon Physician who still testifies in court as a Forensic Toxicologist, says TCE is an extremely dangerous chemical that people should never be in close contact with. He testified in 1974 in what he believes, was the first TCE-related death that involved the manufacturer, Dow Chemical, being found guilty and responsible for the man's death.

A supermarket janitor, the man who died from TCE contact in 1974 lost his life only 8 weeks after he began using trichloroethylene without a face mask. "His liver failed," Leveque said. "His family took the company to task because there was no warning for this man or others who used it."

A former El Toro Marine named Matthew Bonura wrote to Salem-News.com February 2nd, explaining that he was stationed at El Toro between 1996 and 1998. "While I was stationed at El Toro I came down with skin cancer I was only 21 or 22. The base Doctor was shocked to see someone at my age with skin cancer. Now later on in life I'm in my 30's and have a lot of skin problems and my body no longer makes testosterone on its own. I have been to many doctors and they do not know why this is, could TCE be the cause?" Bonura asked.

Matthew Bonura's letter is only the most recent from a former or current Marine, that we have received since this series of reports began last year. Another former El Toro Marine named Glenn Hawk also wrote to us in January, explaining that he was stationed at El Toro from 1971 thru 1973 as a Marine Ground support Hydraulic specialist with VMGR-352.

"I worked with a private contractor who used TCE to clean the exhaust trail on the C-130 turbo prop aircraft. I saw crash crew use spent TCE in 55 gallon drums, dump it into pits and catch it on fire so they could practice putting the fire out. I saw TCE being dumped down the drains." This story echoes of many others that have been sent to Salem-News in recent months.

Dan Perry, a Marine stationed at El Toro on and off from 1979 – 1983, told Salem-News.com that his last duty was with MWSG-37. That is the exact same squadron I served in, during part of the same period.

Perry said, "I was sick for several weeks back then. sick bay had no idea what was wrong with me. still to this day have stomach problems. now that I think about it I spent almost 3 years total in the 37 area having lunch at the little chow hall almost everyday. (see my article showing the exact area where Dan Perry and I were both stationed during those years: Irvine, California Threatened by Contaminated Water From El Toro Marine Base)

Thomas Clark, who was a Marine at El Toro between 1981 and 1984, says TCE isn't the only problem on the old base that was built during WWII. "There are even more toxic chemicals on El Toro than TCE. I worked at the aviation ordnance compound that supported the flight line. At that compound back in the 1980's we still made Napalm using composition b and composition c mixture."

He says he personally witnessed major spills of the toxin within the work area of the ordnance compound.

"If the wind was blowing in the right direction you could smell the chemicals in the area. The spills were cleaned up by the munitions crew by washing off the pad with the use of kitty litter (quick sorbwater) and water but you could still smell chemicals in the area. The pad was adjacent to the runway 2R and I believe it was at the end near a field."

Yet another Marine, Chris Kelly, who served with VMA-214 Black Sheep Squadron from 1985 to 1988, said he spent many hours with my arms, elbow deep in that solvent.

"I remember being amazed at how quickly the solvent would evaporate off my arms when I brought them out of the soaking drum. When our squadron went on 'WESPAC' deployment we hid several 5 gallon cans of 'TCE' on a 'EMBARK' pallet and had it flown ahead of us to Iwakuni, Japan. While in Japan I was told to 'soak' some 20mm gun barrels. One of the barrels' slipped from my hands and landed in the tray, the 'TCE' splashed into my face and eyes."

Kelly says his fellow Marines rushed him to an 'eye wash' station and began flushing his eyes. As this took place, the Navy flight surgeon was notified.

"I know he continued flushing my eyes for an hour and during that hour he kept asking me where the 'TCE' came from and who told me to use it. I refused to give up my Gunnery Sgt. That was the last I ever saw of the solvent."

This last quote indicates that the military did have a thought on the toxicity of TCE more than twenty years ago, and yet it still hesitates to contact El Toro Marines and let them know what they may be faced with. We hope in the context of these reports, to hear from one of the Navy doctors who served around TCE cases.

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