This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

Need to Know, September 2, 2011: Water contamination at Camp Lejeune, polls and markets, crisis-mapping

This week on Need to Know, we delve into the story of Camp Lejeune, a Marine base that faced massive water contamination for three decades. Were hazardous chemicals in the water responsible for rare cancers that developed among former Camp Lejeune residents? While no direct link has been proven, many believe it is the case.

Also: We also examine an innovative futures  market in Iowa that has proven to be a more accurate predictor of presidential election outcomes than traditional polling. We also report on “crisis mapping,” a technology that uses cell phones to locate and bring help to disaster victims.

And: Guest essayist Desiree Cooper offers her opinions on domestic workers and the controversy surrounding the new film “The Help.”

Check your local listings for details.

Watch the individual segments:

Searching for answers at Camp Lejeune

A new documentary tells the story of a massive water contamination incident at the Camp Lejeune Marine base, which many believe is responsible for causing cancer among former residents.

Can markets predict elections?

Need to Know travels to Iowa to examine a unique futures market that may be better at predicting winning political candidates than traditional polling methods.

In Perspective: “The Help” and racial history

Guest essayist Desiree Cooper argues that confronting one of the most uncomfortable aspects of the new film “The Help” — the depiction of affection between maids and the families they worked for — can help lead to a better understanding of our racial histories.

Crisis mappers

Need to Know host Alison Stewart reports on a breakthrough technology that uses cell phones to locate disaster victims and get them help. Created after the earthquake in Haiti, it’s now being used to help some of the victims of Hurricane Irene, the tornados in the Midwest last spring, the earthquake in Japan and the unrest in the Middle East.

Sis, boom, bust: The high cost of college sports

While state budget deficits force public universities to make painful cuts, one area not feeling the budget knife much is intercollegiate sports. How is this imbalance affecting the classroom?

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.


  • Richard Deats

    As a New Yorker raised in the south with strong memories of Jim Crow days, I found the commentary on The Help to be excellent. It reflects my feelings (I have been involved in civil rights efforts all my adult life)

  • Olsonmiki

    An amazing show.  Thank you.

  • Charles Barber

    The Camp Jejeune contaminated water casts fear into every family.  Broaden your scope of reporting to also provide some education about famly protection of drinking water supply by using the appropriate water filters.  Some “carbon block” and “granulated activated carbon” filters are effective for many endocrine disrupters in human’s drinking water, About $50.00 per 30 gallons.  ”Ultra filters” will reduce all reported contaminates for family protection, at about $100.00 per 125 gallons.  “Reverse osmosis” filters for $250.00 and 600 gallons.  Responsible reporting regarding drinking water in America ought not add to ” “FEAR FACTOR” ” in today’s economic crisses.  Charles Barber

  • Paul Sonderman

    Excellent program across the board this week. Thanks for you insightful reporting, analysis and opinion.

  • Anonymous

    I am the
    wife of one of the Lejeune Marines who served in the later 1950s who contracted breast cancer.
    In 2002 my husband had his left breast removed.  He
    now has Stage IV breast/bone cancer metasticies throughout his body and it is
    unlikely he will live to see the outcome or any acknowledgement by the
    Corps as to its part in his suffering.  Enlisting
    as a patriotic young man two days out of high school during the Korean conflict,
    with love and pride he defended and served his country for his as well as your family.  He served with loyalty and
    pride under the mantra “semper fidelis.”  Unfortunately, he along with other trusting
    young Marines, were thrown under the bus; regarded as mere collateral damage as the
    government’s inaction and deception were exposed when their health issues came
    to light. 

    cancer in males is not a common disease. 
    Any of these 67 victims who have had chemo, radiation, blood thinners,
    hormones, nausea, complications from their disease or meds (i.e, blood clots,
    etc.), ongoing weekly testing, painful treatments and infusions at cancer
    centers and hospitals can attest to the life-altering adjustments and angst
    that has confronted them and their families on an every-day basis. 

    If you drink
    bottled water or give it to your kids and grandkids, I assume that this is
    because you want to consume only pure water that is not contaminated.  Imagine what it is like to worry whether you
    have passed on to your family and their families dreaded mutations within
    your body that exposure to hazardous chemicals such as those that were dumped into
    the drinking water at Lejeune created.  If
    you learned that the bottled water you are drinking originates from such a
    site, would you say “c’est la vie?” 

    I sincerely pray that no one else will ever be in this position; however,
    if it occurs, do not assume your medical expenses will be covered or reimbursed
    by any government agency.  It’s not
    so.  You will not receive any promise of assistance,
    an apology or even admission of responsibility from our government. 

    Start setting aside a sizable portion of your paycheck now as self-insurance.
    Cancer treatment is devastating to body, soul, and finances.


  • Buffaloproducts

    Who wrote this !!!!   The Producer, Oh ! maybe a grip….Or maybe a Republican…

  • Buffaloproducts

    Who wrote this !!!!   The Producer, Oh ! maybe a grip….Or maybe a Republican…

  • Buffaloprocts

    Now This Guy. Apparently works for ” Culligan Water ” or some other water Purification company, Nice sales Pitch… Keep Tryi’n….

  • Buffaloprocts

    Now This Guy. Apparently works for ” Culligan Water ” or some other water Purification company, Nice sales Pitch… Keep Tryi’n….

  • Bruce0262

    This documentary should open the eyes of all Americans. We the Marines chose to serve our country with pride and with representation of true values and honor. Little did we know that we were being subjected to harmful toxins that show their ugly faces years later. I was stationed and lived at Camp Lejuene for 7 years 1979-1986. I started my young family there, residing in a part of Tarawa Terrace known as Knox Trailer Park. Me and my young family drank and showered in that water for 7 long years. Were we concerned, of course not, my beloved corps instilled in me that “we took care of our own”. Well on July 27, 2010 my world changed thanks to my beloved corps. I was diagnosed with CLL , chronic lymphocitic leukemia at the ripe old age of 48 years old. I will not die without a fight, a fight that we (all who have been effected )need help fighting. Please write your congressman, senators and governers and request their sponsorship of the JANEY ENSINGER BILL requireing our government to help us with our battle to live.  

  • Bruce0262

    YOU ARE A SICK MAN. There are people fighting for their lives and you use this platform to sell your wares. Your products will do nothing to help any of the people that this documentary is representing.

  • Susan Utsey

    I am very thankful that word is finally getting out to the general public on this issue!  One of the main problems with proving a connection to the exposure is no research has been done on TCE and PCE and exposure to children.  This is logical due to the fact that children aren’t exposed to these chemicals unless they were unfortunate enough to live at Camp LeJeune.  It’s up to the public to put pressure on Washington to provide Veteran’s Benefits to the young children who were exposed and are now suffering from serious illnesses.  

    Jerry Ensminger deserves a great deal of gratitude for his hard work in bringing this issue to the attention of Washington and those who were exposed.  Without his efforts we would not know of the toxic water and the potential health risks.

  • Rodney Rhodan

    Attn: CDC, My name is Rodney E. Rhodan, I’am writing this statement of concern and key issue letter to be made a part of the July 20, 2011 meeting records, that is to be held on the topic of: The camp lejuene contaminated drinking water, in North Carolina at the University of North Carolina. My concerns in regards to the lejuene contaminated water issue is the mishandling of the process, by ATSDR to include the contractors and subcontractors that was hired by ATSDR that actually conducted or performed the research and studies. Key issues of my concerns in this matter is that the first or intial set of contractors and subcontractors hired by ATSDR, was found to have used inaccurate, faulty, false and inconclusive research data, to base the final findings report on. This report under the Bush, administration had to be then redact. My concern is the research and study programs are being used as a vehicle to allow contractors more contractual business and revenues, from the government. My second concern has more to do with the violation of the constitution by our own government against the military servicemen and base employees. My key issue is, I was station at camp lejuene from 1982 to approx; 1985. Although the marine corps and our government elected officials knew about the contaminated toxins in the drinking water systems, there at camp lejuene, military installation. I was informed of the contamination, the toxin and the danger of the toxin, some 26 years after the fact. The mishandling of the contaminated water issue,placed my government in direct violation of the United States Constitution, this action was a direct violation of constitutional amendment 4th, 5th, and the 14th. The 4th amendment to the constitution was violated by our government as a result of me not being informed of the contamination and toxin in the base drinking water system, until 26 years after the fact. The 4th amendment to the constitution: Right of the people to be secure in their person. The 5th constitutional amendment was violated by my government against me also as a result, of my government placing my life in danger. This occured as a result of my government not informing me of the contamination and danger of the toxin, at and in camp lejuene base and water system, until 26 years after the fact. This was a direct violation of the 5th amendment to the constitution: Deprived of life, liberty and property. The 14th constitutional amendment was violated by my government against me as a result of my government not sharing the contaminated water information, with me until 26 years after the fact. The 14th amendment: Equal protection of the law. I Rodney E. Rhodan, request that this letter be made a part of the camp lejuene contaminated water meeting, that will be held in North Carolina, July 20, 2011. I request that this letter be place in the records, as a part of the records of this meeting on July 20, 2011 that is to take place in North Carolina.
    Rodney E. Rhodan.
    06/ 27 / 2011.

  • Norabc66

    What are you talking about????  The Marine Corps let mothers and children and it’s own drink poisoned water..And worse yet, it tried to hide it. This isn’t a story about keeping your drinking water clean. It is a story of treason. Filters?  Idiot. 

  • Norabc66

    My husband (USMC 1982-1987) received his first request for a health survey in Dec. 2008.  Next was a notice on June 25, 2009 stating that The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry did indeed report that toxic chemicals were in the drinking water of Camp Lejeune.  My 44 year old husband was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer on June 5, 2009.  Two weeks ago, a letter addressed to me came asking me to register my health as a civilian that lived on that base in the 80′s.  How do you say “treason” in Latin?  

  • Darlene Hoskins

    My husband was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1981 through 1984, he passed in 2004 from Lung Cancer and I’m just finding about the contaminated water there. I was also contacted by the ATSDR to complete a health survey on my husband. Why weren’t we contacted 20 years ago,maybe his life could have been saved.  For a person to be healthy all of his life so we thought and all of a sudden your in a wheel chair and then your gone. That explains it all. I never could understand what happen, what’s even worst, after you retire from the military and ready to live your golden years after serving your country most of your life  you just want to live a deceit life, and it seems that no one seems to care, the pain that you share with your love one while they suffer.  (You know, they always say it’s something in the water).

  • Daddyn4wisechix

    YOU are an idiot!!  RO can’t bring back the dead, heal the cancer, repair birth defects!!  WHAT is wrong with you… you are SICK!!!!

  • Daddyn4wisechix

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for getting the word out!!!!!!!  Too many have suffered & died as a result of this… yet so many STILL have NO idea what happened to them & their loved one(s).  You are doing a wonderful job at helping to get the word out!!  THANK YOU from another victim… one who probably wouldn’t be alive had my parents not left Lejeune before I was born… even though they left, my life has been impacted tremendously & my health has suffered… I shudder to think how much worse it would have been had I actually been born there… if I even survived…

  • Cliff

    I was at Lejeune in the middle and early seventies, i was notofied in june 08 of the water there and that same month i stated cancer treatments and radiation treatment for throat cancer of which the chemicals in the water at Lejeune had become known to cause, but they informed when i contacted them that i had no effidence to prove it had caused my cancer, now i mind u i have never smoked either. What gets me most is they knew this wates was contaminated for 10 years and let it go on, since i have tried repeatedly to get some help but not a word. Now i have learned that the epa has ruled that the water there does or did cause cancers and that u now can sue them but i would much rather have the marine corp step up and do their part as i did for my county years ago, come on do what is right, if any one knows how to get any help please post it anywhere u can and as often as u can…