U.S. Senator Kay Hagan released the following statement after the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released a study on birth defects and childhood cancer resulting from water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The results of the ATSDR study suggest associations between contamination in Camp Lejeune drinking water and neural tube defects (NTDs) like spina bifida as well as childhood hematopoietic cancers such as leukemia.
"This study, which provides some answers to veterans from Camp Lejeune whose children have suffered from neural tube birth defects and childhood cancers, is further evidence that those who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune should receive the health care they need and deserve," said Hagan. "I have been committed to helping the veterans who lived or worked on the Marine Corps base and their families since I joined the Senate, and any veteran or family member who needs assistance in filing a claim or obtaining the benefits they need should contact my office. As a Senator from the most military friendly state in the nation, serving North Carolina's veterans, servicemembers and military families has always been and will continue to be one of my top priorities."
In 2012, Hagan joined colleagues on both sides of the aisle in helping to pass the bipartisan Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which ensured that those who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune will receive the health care they need and deserve from the VA. She was also instrumental in ensuring that the Department of Defense released documents related to the water contamination to the public.
Earlier this year, Hagan questioned Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during his confirmation hearing about water contamination at Camp Lejeune and his commitment to seeking answers for affected military members and their families. Secretary Hagel assured Hagan that he was committed to the health and well being of all veterans and military families.
Hagan comes from a strong military family. Her father-in-law was a two-star Marine General; her brother and father served in the Navy; her husband, Chip, is a Vietnam veteran who used the GI Bill to help pay for law school; and she has two nephews who are on active duty.