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Marines & Breast Cancer

Marines based in Camp Lejeune

Yes, you read that correctly, Marines based in Camp Lejeune, N.C., have allegedly been victimized by contaminated drinking water. So far, 20 Marines have been diagnosed with male breast cancer.

From the 1950s to the mid-1980s -- the water supply used by hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families was laced with chemicals from an off-base dry-cleaning company and industrial solvents used to clean military equipment.

One victim who had a mastectomy said the Marine Corp. knew of the contaminated water problem but failed to do anything or tell anyone.

In men, breast cancer is rare. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1,900 cases are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, compared with 192,000 cases in women.

Establishing a link between chemical exposure and a specific cancer cluster is difficult but the 20 Marines all stationed at Camp LeJeune or living there with their military families say their collective male breast cancer illnesses are more than mere coincidence.

According to the victims' website, 484 people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune say they have been diagnosed with cancer or other illnesses. More than 1,600 former base residents have filed claims against the federal government seeking $34 billion in damages.

The Few, the Proud, the Forgotten/victims' website:

PA Firefighters Propose a Cancer Workers Comp Bill

Firefighting is a dangerous career as fire fighters risk life and limb trying to save the lives of others. Now they are trying to save their own with the Cancer Presumption Bill.

If the Bill passes, it would mean that any veteran firefighter who develops cancer as a result of on-the-job hazards the burden would be placed on the employer or municipality to prove that job hazards were not a major contributor to the fire fighter's cancer.

Even wearing protective breathing apparatus, fighters are vulnerable to combustible household products and chemicals and bedding and diesel fumes. There are hundreds of chemicals in a building that become toxic when on fire.

A firefighter would have to work a minimum of four years to qualify and be covered by the Cancer Presumption Bill.

Benefits would be disbursed by the municipality's insurance company or workers' compensation carrier. Thirty states already have adopted similar measures.

There are some concerns as to how municipalities could afford the coverage and how to separate cancer that developed from other causes such as smoking.



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Pfizer's Whistleblower Makes Millions

It takes a special kind of person to be a whistleblower. For John Kopchinski who tried to save lives while fighting in the Gulf War, he despised Pfizer's dishonesty and misrepresentation in the marketing of Bextra.

Kopchinski will earn $51.5 million because he dared speak out by filing a qui tam lawsuit in 2003. Pfizer is being fined $2.3 Billion in civil and criminal penalties for its massive marketing transgressions promoting Bextra and a dozen other drugs for unapproved uses and doses.

This isn't the first time Pfizer has been fined; it's part of the corporate culture. During Kopchinski's early days at Pfizer, the epilepsy drug Neurontin was under scrutiny from a previous whistleblower suit over illegal promotions. The results led to stiff penalties and corporate probation.

Despite the potential for big rewards, life can be hellish for whistleblowers. Do you have what it takes to be a whistleblower?


Five Employee Deaths May Result in Criminal Prosecution

Five employees died in a chemical fire at a Colorado hydroelectric power plant in 2007. Both the power plant and its contractual coating repair firm are facing rare criminal indictment over the workplace deaths. One or both companies could be held liable for $5 million in fines if found guilty.

In 2007 a fire occurred during the renovation of a large empty metal pipe down which water normally flowed to create hydroelectric power. Five employees of coating company were trapped in the pipe when chemicals being used in the renovation caught fire and blocked their only exit.

OSHA ruled that violations of its safety rules resulted in the fire and the men being trapped. Workers on the other side of the fire were able to escape. In a rare stance, OSHA referred the case to the U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.

The hydroelectric company and the coating company were each charged with five counts of violating OSHA regulation and causing death, which is punishable by a fine of as much as $500,000 per count. If convicted, the owners of each company could be sentenced to up to six months in prison and fined as much as $1.25 million.


Employee Deaths

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