« Reveal

The Tell-Tale Hearts

2020-02-29 | 🔗

Unborn babies' hearts are at risk as EPA caves to chemical companies’ 20-year effort to whitewash the science on the risks of an extremely dangerous and prevalent chemical, TCE. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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the night, the House of Representatives impeach President trunk user campaign speech in battle, Creek mission, talking about sinks, showers and toilets, yet toilets and labour We're even break is that we all might well heard about that. We all like garbage is better. I say why do I always look so orange here why president, new, like the terrible, you look terrible. So what do you like, Bob's and toil its having common while they ve both been regulated? The president thinks they ve been of a regulated in a period of two and a half years. We illuminated more regulations than any other president. By far the New York Times counted and found that the President rolled back. Nearly one hundred regulations that protect the environment and people's health is a part of a pattern. Were the admins
creation ignores what scientists tell them in instead makes things easier for special interests, like the oil industry. The most recent example within the last couple weeks, the EPA publish this enormous document. More than seven hundred pages long, a draft, evaluation of the risks that people face from a toxic chemical called try claw, ethylene or tcp That's reveals environmental reporter Elizabeth Chopin, most people have probably never heard of tcp, but it's all very well. Widely used chemical, its use to take Greece off of stuff. You can find it. In manufacturing in car repair shops at military sites and dry cleaners across the country, use it to remove spots from close so to really useful chemical, but it's also really dangerous. Yakking cause kidney cancer Non, Hodgkin's lymphoma any. Harm your immune system. They ve also found that
pregnant women are exposed to just a tiny amount of it. Their babies can be borne with heart defects. The government is supposed to restrict or being chemicals that are dangerous for them. Has twenty years they ve been studying the risk of TCP without doing anything about it. So this new report from the EPA is really important, because it's a key step in keeping people safe, There's just one thing: it's not the original report that EPA scientists actually wrote. I found out that the White House Red through the original and made the EPA You re right it the trumpet minute patient change report ignoring more than twenty years of research after the chemical industry attack the science least, veteran scientists were really outraged by this interference from the White House. They say they never experienced anything like it, and I was able to get a copy of their original draft. We're gonna tell you exact. We have the White House chains that report, but first we're gonna go.
Time to trace the history of tcp and figure out How come we ve been living with it for so long and whether governed Stan so little to protect us Elizabeth begins our story at a marine base in North Carolina early one morning the day starts Marines John through the base, caring lads, the size of tree trunks on their shoulders and they cheer. Other on as they take on the obstacle course I'm here to meet Johnny Whores and his son Chris Johnny's Retired marine sixties increases forty five. We drive up to a big brick building these days. It's headquarters of one of the marine course top commanders. Used to be the old naval hospital. This big complex here
and this is where he was born. This is the beginning out front there. Big magnolia tree stand under the shady treat Johnny remembers. Rushing Christmas pregnant mom here it was asleep, me day in August nineteen, seventy four by the time he p the car and went into the hospital. I wish tat on the shoulder and told that I had a new way boy. I was really really happy about that. So this is where it all started and claims that this is. This is where I was born, and this is all a third time I've ever been here.
At the time there were lots of young families accomplishing the Vietnam WAR was winding down. Johnny and the other Marines were often gone for long periods of time, sometimes training, sometimes fighting, and while they were gone, they depended on the marine corps to keep their family safe in the marine ecosystem, honour courage and commitment that why you're goin to cure your family, the oars, is lived on base. We drive to their old neighborhood and they say oh had changed here since the nineteen seventies dodgy remember roughly where the house would have done your driving down this road. You matter of fact it would have been right in here.
But the hounds who are looking at today, our lot bigger than the ones Johnny remembers we get out and stand on the sidewalk do any memories come back to you now never hear how you I I was corporal noncommissioned officer, being a marine I good memories of living. Here I had my friends. He used to ride motorcycles with a friend who lived across the street, but he has Parker memories to that same friends, wife had three miscarriages I remember that distinctly because it was just so unusual for somebody to have that number of miscarriages Chris says he's also heard stories of still born babies and young children dying of counts. Her on
surface. This looks like a really peaceful, tranquil community, but thirty years ago this was a whorehouse for many of the families that lived here. Of horrors. Chris says his mom recently gave him a photo taken here, It shows a woman who was a close friend of his moms in the picture. She's, obviously quite pregnant about seven have eight months pregnant and she lost that baby about a week after I was born, and My mom said that was just something that happened. All the time around here was that the air, there were just so many women who got pregnant and young lost their babies Johnny remembers no one any idea what was causing these family tragedies? But why not detail does dick out in his memory. They pay men and women.
This box into our houses in said it was to monitor something, but we just had yeah. We really did know nobody really ask it was You are young, you know you're, not thinking about those things. You know we all joke that their spying on us and today Johnny wonders what those boxes really were bound so decades past. It two thousand and eleven Chris was a thirty six old banker living in Colorado and its health darted failing. I was rapidly deteriorating, It was getting to the point where I could walk across the room without getting out of breath. There must have been terrifying, It was really rough and I'd I'd I was single parent as the first scary time. For me, his doctor, a bunch of tests, I was getting weaker and weaker and weaker
and I I you know it- I would still passed out one time in the middle of my kitchen. Why was cooking and so the doktor ordered a angiogram? That's when a cardiologist injects the blood vessels of your heart. With especial d they can be seen on x rays and then thing in our the doctors and a rumour go get so, and so have him come take a look at this all the sudden. There is a whole crowd of people around me. I thought sleep alone. I woke up and a doctor too. Looked at me- and he said you have us in two years to live, you have a heart: effect and we can't believe you're still life. We ve never seen Somebody like you with this type of a defect two years to live unless he has opened. Heart surgery. Heart defects are common, but Christmas type is rare Usually it's only seen and young children, so a pediatric cardiologist was called in
Johnny remembers flying to Colorado to be with Chris, his son, but when he went in to have surgery thinking that I may never see him again I really felt overcome emotion. I was like well how how could This has happened to my son and then after he came out the recovery room, it was just horrible further, a few days me in there and watch and how he was suffering after the surgery and I remember the third night after surgery. I remember giving up I remember saying I'm done because it just hurt so much pain was just incredible, and then I woke up the next day. I thought a lot better
said turning point during my recovery. My doctors were so amazed at how quickly had recovered, because, since I hit that turning point, I started feeling something that I'd I'd never felt before. I had all of this energy, and I just felt so good because the first time in my life I was getting oxygenated plod throughout my body. Yeah, my body was starving for oxygen, like it had been my entire life with, a month Chris was in the gin and The two months he was back at work, and so, For me, recovery was an amazing thing, because every day I got better and better and better every day since tat surgery has been a bonus day. For me,.
About a year later. Chris was at work and a new story about Camp June popped up on the screen. And so I open it up and board letters up there. It said toxic, water contamination at camp was shown thousands of patent Joe cancer cases and birth defects, and I wait a minute. What is this the talks water Chris was reading about was contaminated with t c e for decades. The basis used the chemical as a cleaner. To get Greece off of military equipment like missiles, helicopters and tanks, a dry, cleaner on them It's like a lot of dry cleaners use TCP to get spots out. Over the years the chemical got into the groundwater used for drinking and that's how people could have gotten sick
I see. Ii has been linked to leukemia, liver and kidney cancer, immune problems, miscarriages and heart defects like the one Chris had heard anything about this, and I start reading through it, and they were talk contamination period of like nineteen sixty at that time to nineteen. Eighty six Chris was born right, in the middle of that time and you're talking about her defects, babies born with holes in their hearts or other deformities, so they can't effectively pump oxygenated blood. Through their bodies, and it was this Eureka moment. I was like wait a second. This completes the puzzle. Why did I have this party fact? Where did it come from increases well paid. Banking job was putting too much stress on his renovated heart, so we
back to North Carolina to be closer to family and married. A paramedic named Lacy she's been helping him filling the pieces of the puzzle of camp lagoons past and not just Chris, but for others who trace their health problems to that poisoned water at Camp Chris started asking lots of questions about his earliest days on earth. He shows me his baby work inside is his birth certificate and an old clip from a local newspaper. This, which was the announcement of my birth became the proof if my contamination Father Johnny is devastated that his career in the military put his kid endanger. Well, your eyes spent thirty years in the Marine corps and I am proud to have served my country, and I still consider myself a true patriot, but it makes me
feel sad that they were honest with me up front. And then later on that my son would suffer I almost lost, and that is dad, because you know well again, the marine corps is your honor courage, commitment does that's their ethos. You expect them to take care. Your family, you, when you're off, do and all the things that you ve got to do Yeah its twilight, christen Lacy, have brought me to a military cemetery about an hour derived from the base,
been here since the civil war we're looking at oh after row of simple white gravestones falling union soldiers are buried here, but mixed among them? are much more recent graves. Lacy reads: one of them is one Jeff says infant October, twenty fifth nineteen, seventy two son of then it lists the service members. Name. U S and see United its marine corps Baby son of Man's corporal less than a year. Here's another son of Corporal refer five months wet year one. Eighty four, all these babies died in the sixties, seventies and eighties. That's when drinking water
completion was contaminated with t c e and other toxic chemicals or standing here, and the graves of eight to ten babies. Within five years and just as half a row right here were half a dozen babies, its standing there. There are no words for this, its tragic it's sad, and could you imagined- the families during this time periods Why did anybody thinks you ask why so many babies what's going on in a national cemetery that were bare, we have rows of babies, according to data, reveal got from the National Cemetery Administration. Military families, buried four hundred and sixty nine babies here in the nineteenth sixty seventies and eighties, but for
various other God or an almighty power or knock or whatever. You call it. I could very easily be resting here and you know it's a reminder of how fortunate I am But it's all so terribly sad because so many lives were cut so short and you think about how each of these children were denied a future and what kind of an pack they could have had on the rest of us really makes you wonder. Why we don't protect our unborn children more?
decades, later, there's not enough information to know whether contaminated water cause those deaths and that Box Johnny remembers on the wall of his house accomplishing now he blunders. If it's a clue The military new far more at the risks than they were telling Marines about the time decrease, Chris was born. Those other babies were dying a doctor in Tucson was treating infants with the form hearts at his clinic. He realized there. Many of them were coming from the same part of the city. When we come back Elizabeth follows habit to sound out to help spark a twenty year fight between scientists and the chemical industry. That's next on reveal
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from the centre for investigate reporting in p r ex this is reveal a mallet We recently learned just how far the Trump administration is willing to go help big business, even Babies, hearts are on the line I just told us that the White House rewrote report to downplay the dangers of this toxic chemical. We ve been telling you about. Tcp scientists have known about the risk for decades some of the first warning signs, go all the way back to the nineteen seventy, when Chris Oars was born at camp the June in North Carolina Around the same time, a cardiologist was treating babies with heart defects in to see he noticed, The many of the children came from the same part of the city. You didn't know why he got a big clue in the night NATO's, when TCP was found in the tap or their men around the country and aviation
The survey has found that some wells in thirty four states have been shut down because a toxic chemical called TCP has been found in the water supply. Abc Peter Lance has been investigating those wells. Divided tap water to the neighbourhood, where the babies with hard to fix what more eighteen? Eighty one seven public wells there have been shut down, wants to see shut down its tcp contaminated wells. They clustered babies with hard defects disappeared, but the question remains: how does tc affect human reveals Elizabeth Show goes to sign with scientists have been working to understand that even as the Chemical industry has worked to undermine their research?
that's the sound of a heart beating on an altar sound one of those machines. Doctors used to let parents see their babies before their born, but this isn't a human heart. It's from a chicken embryo I'm looking at it with professor re runnion in his lab at the University of Arizona, inform keep him warm because a harpoon some would you consume, they're. If he's ever cracked an egg and sounded with some blood in it. That's kind of what this looks like: there's: a dark red spot in the centre with thin red line stretching out like a web across a pool of bright, yellow yoke. Each embryo floats in a glass bull that looks like a custard cup. The bulls are covered in place, wrap, so rake and press the altar sound want right up to the embryo. Think we sitting right over the eventual coughed and in so doing anyway
trash the venture, swollen and c is pushing the blood through one of the value of a few days. Ray injected use chicken eggs with watered down to see Ketchikan Bear that trade between days. Two and three with ten remain tcp and then left in January, incubator giant resolve a lobby follow suit. Her reason professor of cellular and molecular medicine, and he talks like one. I'm constantly asking him to it lane and re explain this scientific terms and experiments. He gets pretty excited by all. This stuff is large. Connect, physiologist, changing and because of their hearts. Now, farming from the change in the flow through the heart hears they mean by that an embryo, is exposed to tcp. The heart muscles might not develop properly, so blood won't pump through the heart
strongly as it should that can cause deformities. Re started, researching tcp in the mid nineteen nineties. That's when that cardiologist, who discovered the cluster of heart, defects and kids, why into his lab said. We have this issue with were tc. Can we do something to find out what the molecular causes, and so we start doing experiments in the year? Two thousand re published his first discovery. It confirmed a link between tcp and heart problems. We are so proud of ourselves for saying to see causing us. It was a breakthrough. Ray had figured out one of the ways this chemical was damaging hearts at a molecular level.
What re hadn't grasp gap was how important tc IE is to the chemical industry. Today, its market size is about three hundred and fifty million dollars worldwide. That's expected to grow by a hundred million dollars by twenty twenty five and you can find it in dry cleaners, Otto Repair, shops refineries and factories that make batteries or medical devices, so any limit anti see he would be a big deal for the people who make an use it and that soon became obvious to re for summer. Discover Hauser in silence and assurance were closely Roeder puddle to her paper over bottle that is how one scientists tells the whole scientific community that they think another scientist work is wrong. Ray had never heard of this halogenated.
Call group. He didn't, even though there was such a thing. It's an interest group that lobbies for chemical manufacturers and the letter it criticised the way re conducted the study and his conclusions he didn't lots of studies before and no one had questioned his methods? He took it personally. It felt like an attack on his integrity as a scientist, was a sort of a new round was. Can I opening some little better. Because year, you're gonna get people coming back and asking every detail. Experiments re did what he does best. He went back into his lab. He and others. His published dozens of studies about the dangers of TCP they experiments in lab animals that showed how it damages fetal hearts. They studied neighborhoods contaminated with it and found,
or human babies born with heart defects than in other communities and re discovered four thousand genes that TCP alters the gene changes mean something one. Approximately a third of a James expression, yourselves time or altered. There's gotta be a consequences on the muscle cells. Knowing him defects, but when grey or another scientist published a break through the chemical industry, shot back, they paid lobbyists and their own scientists to dissect the studies and undermine the research. Meanwhile,
year after year, the EPA failed to enact any new restrictions on TCP and in retrospect the industry's game plan seems obvious. This is standard operating procedure by polluters and manufacturers of dangerous products. David Michael's was the head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA for President Obama. Now he's a professor of Epidemiology George Washington University. When I,
to him at his Washington Dc Office, he's fact checking his second book about how industries stirred doubts about science when it becomes clear that a product they make or approach is being laid off into the air with the water is making people sick. The first thing the industry does, and the trade associations, especially, is the higher scientists to try to show the citizens are currently. He says chemical companies take their cue from other industries that have fought back again science for decades. They learn from it. Bacco Industry, that all you need to do is question the studies that being used, and even if there are dozens and dozens of studies as there were with tobacco and as there are with TCP by focusing on each individual study into, will hear the flaws in the study- and There are other studies were ignore them for other reasons, but they don't look at the overall picture. You might expect this from the chemical
history there's a lot of money at stake, but what you might not expect is that government agencies also tried to block regulation of TCP which way to experience this first hand, he was working at the EPA in two thousand three and leading a team of scientists. They were trying to figure out how much teeth the EU can safely breathe, drink or touch, but even before it. He could publish their findings in what's called an assessment, their work was attacked. The other federal agencies basically got a crack at Libya's assessment before releasing the public Previously it was our earlier. You gave a how to autonomy as to developing its own assessments. President George W Bush, let the Pentagon Nasa and other government agencies review that assessment and they re is a lot of concerns. Today the chemical is found at fourteen hundred military facilities and eight hundred Superfund
sites, any new rules to clean up TCP could cost them billions of dollars waste way whose now talks, ecology, professor at Texas, I am says the agency should have stayed out of E Pierre work because they are interested parties, and so I feel that they have a covered. Which wastefully says the Pentagon and Chemical companies slowed down his risk assessment by nearly a decade. In the meantime, many cleanups stalled military workers and families who lived on in near bases like countless June, kept getting exposed to TCP. In twenty eleven waste ways assessed. Finally came out. It was twelve hundred pages long. It concluded that tcp causes cancer and any website early in pregnancy can potentially deform fetal hearts. Wasteful
as there was an upside to all, that delay that the industry probably hadn't, intended ironically during that delay from two thousand to through two thousand when we finally released it, the evidence got stronger and so it's a little bit. You know erotic that that actually it turned out stronger because of the delay. Then. Finally, in twenty six team, Congress, passed a law, giving EPA more power to regulate toxic chemicals. When president, no almost signed it. He said it replace. A forty year old law that had failed to protect Americans from toxic chemicals. Only five have been banned. Five. And only a tiny percentage have even been reviewed for health and safety The system is so complex that was so burdensome that our country has even been able to uphold a ban on asbestos
a known carcinogen. That kills as many as ten thousand Americans every year, and I think a lot markets would be shocked by all that Obama said fixing. This law was so urgent that Republicans and Democrats had stopped feuding and work together for the first time in our history will actually be able to read it chemicals effectively? it's hard to overstate how ubiquitous tc is, but this should give you idea of its scope. BP. I found that three hundred thousand people working at dry cleaners and tens of thousands of employees of small manufacturing shops are exposed to it. It's so found in the public water systems in forty one states and at those fourteen hundred military sites we talked about
and after Obama Bomb the updated toxic substances, Control ACT. It was up to his EPA chief Gina Mccarthy to decide whether to use it to restrict TCP and the clock was ticking? She got advice, from the agency's top scientist Tom Burke, Tina with a chemical withers, pervasive exposure. In its in the air and it's in the drinking water and if in the indoor air well, then there is an opportunity and important opportunity- and I think, a responsibility to reduce those exposures and to protect public health. What we do. In the final days of the Obama administration, Mccarthy proposed banning tcp for some uses, for instance it would be illegal to use it as a dry cleaners or sprayed on metal parts to remove Greece, but that didn't happen
I will keep working with Congress with the agency and, most importantly, with the american people. Till we eliminate every unnecessary, harmful and job killing regulation that we can find. We have a lot more coming. As you can hear, President made his intentions, known right away the teeth the e bans were dropped. Former ocean director David Michael's, says Trump hired people at the EPA hoop. Put up a welcome sign for chemical companies. There are people the in the White House, who did this on the outside for industry before they came into the industry so they're, going to listen, much more carefully they're going to buy what the industry is out. There selling people like Nancy Beck. She testified before a congressional committee on behalf of chemical companies
in March twenty seventeen. I am honoured to be here today representing the American Chemistry Council. My name is Nancy back and I have spent over fifteen years working at the intersection of science in policy, and just a few weeks later she took a new job heading up: the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and pollution Prevention for President Trump, I spent most of my career working at state government that all government everyone those most recently I came from the American Chemistry Council. The American Chemistry Council is exactly what it sounds like an interest group for chemical companies before that job back worked in George W Bush, White House. A two thousand and nine congressional investigation found that her office at the White House helped the chemical industry free and the Pentagon, delay waste ways assessment for nearly a decade in time, nineteen back moved from the EPA trumps Whitehouse. Another veteran of the American Chemistry Council replaced her. I asked for an interview
Nancy back and others from the Trump administration. No one would talk to me. The trade group wouldn't talk either, but I did get interview with someone who has been one of the biggest critics of the fatal heart research. His name is John D, Sesar, I'm him at his office in Alexandria, Virginia his wall is covered with photos of his grandkids and his screen saver. So why have an embryo. Is your screen saver embryologists? iteach embryology of Georgetown really important to me when you watch them in addition, a harsher beating, you see the blood for you can get hypnotized by there's another embryologists him the story. That's re, bringing the scientist at the University of Arizona we heard from earlier on this Chris Ray and John seem to have a lot in common. They sort of look alike there about the same age, with silver, hair and medium builds, but their work couldn't be more different rain.
As colleagues have spent the past twenty years, researching tcp on behalf of universities, John meanwhile spent those same years working for consulting firms on behalf of chemical companies poking hole, and other scientists papers, including raise writing bottles, but never doing actual lab work. Until now John recently published his first lab study on t see and he got a chance to presented at the p s. I maybe fifty twenty people in the room and on a line there were it sounded like about four or five John shows me that Powerpoint T used We made our presentation to them. Talk talk to them about the data. They asked questions John told, when he found no increase in heart defects from TC. I should mention that chemical trade groups funded his research
and one of his co authors works for DOW Chemical. So why was EPA interested in your research figures, because this is the first time there has been a very solid study, that contradicted what was already published by the Arizona group. Your research is funded by the companies that produce this chemical and have a financial interest in it. Being accepted in a financial interest and not cleaning it up. So does that influence your science? I also note the Wretch donor who braver but he had, admittedly, I'm sure they funding, because I think guidelines the reasons. I believe it would not come out as a positive thing, but there's no way you're going to examine a hardened. If there's a hole in the heart you of our citizens Did you see his arisen there, and that is a message:
When we re saw John study in a respected science journal, he was livid this time he wrote the rebuttal he point Doubt that Johns one study couldn't refute all the data from the twenty years of research. He and his colleagues had done. By measuring how they can sleep at night, knowing that their chronic, basically rob the standards and expose people on enormously Big money gets in the way I to meet you now less value. Elizabeth reintroduces me to his colleagues or Nellis Zelman? She worked with him on TCP research for ten years, Johns Paper really got to hurt, It is amazing that they're just saw intend to prove
the studies were wrong. They were wrong. I mean it's a little bit too coincidental that just their studies. Right, therefore, All the studies are bogus. It is not a scientific approach I'm sorry did, you see the rebuttal to our letter. My question is why We risk exposing people pregnant mothers and children, To a higher level of tcp before we absolutely sure that the sea does not have that effect. Who is to benefit from it? Not dodge population. The only people that I see benefit from it is those industries that one I use DC, and they don't want to spend money for cleaning up the sun it's since the Lisbon
doktor rain or Noah? The EPA has come out with its new draft assessment on how dangerous tcp is thus report He mentioned at the top of the show and, as we also said, the Trump White House took the EPA is report and basically rewrote it, We know this because Elisabeth got a copy of the original draft and Elizabeth you ve had yes, look at both the EPA site to draft and the world that was rewritten at the White House his direction. What stands out? Well, it's complicated, but here's the big difference In the draft. The scientists wrote they calculated unsafe levels of TCP based on how it might damage a feeble heart. The new draft, the one the White House changed, doesn't do that basis, the math on how much tcp causes immune disorders and those levels are much higher like five hundred times higher. Now out too,
give you a sense of how much this change the report, if you take the original draft by the EPA Scientists- and you look for the term cardiac toxicity- you can find it more than three hundred times, but if you look at that free is in the draft that was re written on the direction of the White House. You don't find that term at all. It completely eliminated. All This matters because future regulations could be sat based on these calculations that would leave fetal hearts at risk. According the EPA is own scientists. If the report says the tv dangerous and even admits that it's been linked to feed a heart defects. The wise as such deal with the White House changed the report or the bottom line is this could open the door for the EPA to set loser restrictions on TCP in the future? That's because scientists believe it takes only an infinitesimal amount of tcp to cause fetal hard effects. It
more tc, because other problems so to giving idea of the scale. Let's say it, seven, soda cans of TCP to cause immune problems on that scale. It would take just one teaspoon of TCP, to cause fetal heart defects. So you can. Hell why the chemical industry would want the government to base its findings on immune problems, because it could justify allowing people to use a lot more tc ie and to be exposed. To a lot more tcp That's reveals Elizabeth showman. So far we ve been talking about how the government will regulate tc in the future, but there's something else We have to worry about how the government is going to protect people all the tcp that's already contaminated communities around the country
how many more children need to die, more need to be born where they can General Harald Defect before get off your ass. Doing someday. I do not believe that it is in the Marine corps charter to poison children Elizabeth his back with that part of the story in a minute. This is reveal from the centre for investigative reporting, MP, our eggs, yeah
from the centre for investigative reporting and p R. Ex this is revealed I'm a letter. We just heard the Trump administration, listen to the chemical industry over its own EPA scientists to decide how to deal with the dangerous go known as TCP the We still likely to restrict its use. We just no by how much or how long that will take in the meantime, ever One from mechanics to shoemakers printers to dry cleaners will continue to be exposed, and then all the tcp that's already opting for decades, the chemical been recklessly dumped communities around the country. Right now it looks in places we don't even know about. In some places we do by countless June in North Carolina. It's one of eight hundred Superfund sites that are being cleaned up. That brings us back to Chris Ores, man who was born on the base in the nineteen seventies, Elizabeth children as the rest of his story-
after surviving surgery to repair his deformed heart crystal to do something to help other people who were exposed to toxic chemicals accomplish June. So he joined group set up by the CDC called the community assistance panel or cap. For short, I got a hold of a record Being of one of their meetings in Atlanta. In twenty eight teen camembert asked at the lower youths who are pregnant at the design. Baroness were notified. The cap membership talking about is Chris he's been especially worried about the risk for women on the base Female Marines rightly contacted them as he listens, Chris Face flushes red, he remarked, everyone that even small amounts of tc can hurt and unborn babies heart when CORE, does the problem with exposing their female marines of childbearing age to a chemical dec,
cardiac defect and the unborn child. We're not talking about past contamination. How many more children need to die we need to be borne willing General Harald Defect before get off your ass doing something. I do not believe that it is in the Marine corps charter to poison born children, you know about it. You have about is that you have not and still do not do anything to protect these children does. Is a So what the military doing to protect people from tcp accomplish soon I visited the base last summer. The spokesman meet me at the gate on that very on the director
education strategy and operations for cabotage, not introduced me to two of the military's environmental engineers. Then he reminds me of the unusual conditions their bosses set for our interview, ground rules here These guys are gonna, be my points of reference and then I'm gonna be pretty much doing so even a year. The experts you can't be on recording, that's the only thing I was allowed to play from the engineers we'll just have to see how this goes by then a journalist for a long time and never done anything like this new force. Not altogether sir, covers this turns out to be one of the weirdest interviews of my life, the Marines arranged for their engineers to show me around the base, but they don't want me to record them. So I ask my question, they tell their answers to Nat who standing right next to us, and then he more or less repeats what they say. Our first stop is up. Lot surrounded by some brick buildings
standing here on the site of a former dry cleaner that set up in the nineteen sixties and operated until two thousand four, and it says roughly between our Provost Marshall, headquarters and a barracks. Two hundred feet away the dry cleaner, used to see it leaked the groundwater directly under us and contaminated the drinking water. The military We stopped using this water for drinking in the nineteen eightys, but the toxic chemical, are still underground and eventually they find their way back up to the surface. When that have, Tcp turns into a gas which pay ok, inhale that puts Marie in and civilians on the base at risk. Now we're looking at a barracks, it's three story: Rick building looks like a motel. Basically, this is the same barracks that Chris was so worried about because of the female Marines who live here. The engine
here say they detected tcp in and around this barracks, starting in twenty town, but it took four years before the military investigated to find out how those tcp vapours we're getting into the building Finally realized it was sleeping in through some old plumbing. Now, there's a sewer venting system near the barracks. Pumping toxic fumes out of the barracks right where I'm standing with the engineers and not the marine spokesman. It's a large silver box like the size of forward enjoy. Raiders, though, is We're standing here. We can smell this very clear smell of sewer gas. It's quite disgusting yeah. So, let's move but a little bit besides. We don't need to subject ourselves to that. I've talked to a number of scientists to our exports and tc. They ve been doing experiments for years. They say that there's this point very early in pregnancy, when fetuses are vulnerable to
birth defects turn their hearts can be deformed, and so I'm curious when you found the chemicals here. Did you move the women Marines out the de nears tell me no. They didn't, even though the EPA headed given that the amount of TCP in the barracks could have caused fetal, heart defects do still women Marines in this barracks. Yes, and do they face any risk, any danger from the chemicals that were found in this building He looks to the engineers and they tell him what to say. I'm not a doctor, not doesn't have an answer. Neither do his experts. The Pentagon did its own guidelines on how much exposure to tc IE is safe. It ignored the fetal heart research, just like that. It house did when it made EPA rewrite the report by its own scientists. That means
people on military bases could be exposed to levels of tcp, far higher then scientists say, is safe for feel hearts. Twenty five hundred times higher most people on the base don't even know about the danger of TCP, include The female marines living in those barracks. That's the kind of thing that worries Chris or is he feared? another generation of babies will suffer. From the same kind of heart defect that nearly killed him. I think one of reasons that I have lived and that I'm here today is to make sure that somebody else doesnt lose their baby or doesnt. Wake up to a phone call that their child is dying because of the water here at Camp Pusher.
That story from reveals Lisbon, children this week show was edited by Deborah George and our executive producer Kevin Solvent. We had additional editorial support from Esther CAP are so she producer wasn't G Bellini, clear, see. Merlin mix to show, with help from aiming Mustafa Epidemic magic windy in are sound design team is that dynamic duo, Jbreezy J Breezy, Miss Jim Briggs and Fernando my man, no Aruba. Or see. Ios Greece's sharper Miss Thompson. His eye editor in chief, a theme is, by Colorado, Lightning support for reveals provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the John in Kathmandu, Macarthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation before Foundation devising Simons Foundation, the market. The fund and the ethic Excellency Journalist Foundation reveal
coal production of the centre for investigative reporting and key or x amount legit and remember, there's always more to the story, x,.
Transcript generated on 2020-03-06.