The book Chemistry on a Budget contains inexpensive chemistry labs that are useful with easy to obtain materials.
There are two versions of each lab, one with a ten-question conclusion and one with directions for a full lab report. This way the teacher has the option! Each lab is two pages to allow for one two-sided handout.
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According to a news report dated January 12, 2017, “[t]he Obama administration has agreed to provide disability benefits to military veterans exposed to contaminated drinking water while at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina…
Veterans, former reservists and former National Guard members who served for at least 30 days at the U.S. Marine Corps Base from 1953 to 1987 and have been diagnosed with one of eight diseases are eligible, according to the document published in the Federal Register, the government’s official journal.”
“The Associated Press, which first reported the story, said the estimated cost to taxpayers of the added benefits would total $2.2 billion over five years.
The additional payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs would start in March and go to veterans who developed adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease, the notice said.”
“After years of waiting, veterans who were exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina may now be able to receive a portion of government disability benefits totaling more than $2 billion.
Beginning in March, the cash payouts from the Department of Veterans Affairs may supplement VA health care already being provided to eligible veterans stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 cumulative days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987. Veterans will have to submit evidence of their diagnoses and service information. …
The estimated taxpayer cost is $2.2 billion over a five-year period. The VA estimates that as many as 900,000 service members were potentially exposed to the tainted water. …
Documents uncovered by veterans groups over the years suggest Marine leaders were slow to respond when tests first found evidence of contaminated ground water at Camp Lejeune in the early 1980s. Some drinking water wells were closed in 1984 and 1985, after further testing confirmed contamination from leaking fuel tanks and an off-base dry cleaner. The Marine Corps has said the contamination was unintentional, occurring when federal law didn’t limit toxins in drinking water.”
“The new rule covers active duty, Reserve and National Guard members who developed one of eight diseases: adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease.
It allows veterans to qualify for government disability aid based on toxic harm sustained while at a garrison, as opposed to a battlefield. In 2015, McDonald also agreed to award disability benefits for another category of veterans who weren’t on the ground, those who had developed medical conditions after exposure to Agent Orange residue on planes used in the Vietnam War.”
Here is a brief news report (2.45 minutes) about this judgement, and the continuing struggle of non-military workers exposed to the carcinogens at the base:
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
“Family members of Veterans who also resided at Camp Lejeune during the qualifying period are eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses related to the 15 covered health conditions. VA can only pay treatment costs that remain after payment from your other health plans.”
“ ‘Almost every military site in this country is seriously contaminated,’ said John D. Dingell, a soon-to-retire Michigan congressman who served in World War II. ‘Lejeune is one of many.’
These military sites form a sort of toxic archipelago across the land: Kelly Air Force Base in Texas, where the Air Force allegedly dumped trichloroethylene (TCE) into the soil, part of what some residents call a ‘toxic triangle’ in south-central Texas; McClellan Air Force Base near Sacramento, California, which includes not only fuel plumes and industrial solvents but also radioactive waste; Umatilla Chemical Depot in the plains of northern Oregon, where mustard gas and VX nerve gas were stored; Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a onetime sarin stockpile just north of Denver; the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod, poisoned by explosives and perchlorate, a rocket fuel component that is emerging as a major Pentagon pollutant. But because Camp Lejeune’s abuses and betrayals are more flagrant, it has become a test case for whether the military can defend our soil without ruining it.”
“According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), two of eight water treatment plants at Camp Lejeune were found to be contaminated in a 1982 study. The Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant was contaminated with perchloroethylene (PCE), also known as tetrachloroethylene, which was released by an off-base dry cleaning firm. For thirty years, the PCE exceeded the limit of 5 parts per billion (ppb) with maximum levels at approximately 215 ppb.
The other polluted treatment plant was Hadnot Point. Leaking underground storage tanks, waste disposal sites, and industrial area spills released trichloroethylene (TCE) as well as other contaminants into the drinking water near this site. Though the maximum contaminant limit for TCE is only 5 ppb, the maximum TCE level detected in the drinking water when tested in 1985 was 1400 ppb.”
“Fifteen diseases and conditions have now been associated with exposure to the water, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma; esophageal, breast, kidney, bladder and lung cancer; multiple myeloma; kidney damage; female infertility; scleroderma; leukemia; miscarriage; hepatic steatosis, a liver disease; neurological and behavioral problems; and myelodysplastic syndromes,which disrupts the production of blood cells.”
“Between 1953 and 1987, nearly 1 million veterans, their families and civilian employees at Camp Lejeune were exposed to drinking and bathing water contaminated with dry cleaning chemicals, degreasers and a host of other toxins. Many base residents developed illnesses -- including rare cancers -- and disabilities in the aftermath.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ‘past exposures from the 1950s through February 1985 to trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants in the drinking water at the Camp Lejeune likely increased the risk of cancers (kidney, multiple myeloma, leukemias, and others), adverse birth outcomes, and other adverse health effects of residents (including infants and children), civilian workers, Marines and Naval personnel at Camp Lejeune.’ “
Here is a “Dan Rather Reports” 20 minute news segment about the Camp Lejeune. This report aired 10/16/2008, eight years before the decision to provide disability benefits to those who served and their families totaling more than $2 billion.
This situation could inspire research and/or discussion amongst your students, and/or provide an extension to the importance of Water.
Past blog posts involving the topic of Water include:
03/19/2014 Properties of Solutions
03/26/2014 Vapor Pressure, BP/FP, and Molality
04/15/2015 Solubility Curves
10/08/2015 Current Event - Contaminated
*This Blog contains several entries that would be helpful to your chemistry classroom. Check out the Topic List to help you to find past Blog entries.
Also, Write To Me about your successes, challenges, or questions in the Chemistry Classroom.
Remember, buying a copy of the lab book Chemistry on a Budget can be very useful to your Chemistry classroom with labs and class article ideas.
Have a great weekend!