05B4 Public Health Review Updates

Public Health Review Updates

06/23/16

 

 

 

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Health Review Update - June 23, 2016

Navy Releases Public Health Review Document
By Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

The Navy has released two public health reports associated with the Camp Justice public health review (PHR) currently in progress. The PHR is being conducted in response to a DoD IG hotline complaint filed last summer. The complaint alleges that since 2004 military and civilian personnel working for the DoD's Office of Military Commissions (OMC) at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been exposed to carcinogens in an area surrounding the OMC's trailers, tents, offices and courtrooms.

The PHR is part of a comprehensive process and thorough analysis to understand potential health risks for personnel serving at Camp Justice, a tenant command at NS Guantanamo Bay. The two reports provide information and data as of the date of the reports, and will contribute to the final report which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Both reports are listed below with a brief description, including a link to the entire report. Given the technical and complex nature of these, fact sheets were created to help provide context for some of the terms that were used in the reports, along with some additional updated sampling results to address the data gaps that were outlined in the February 2016 report. 

The reports, along with the fact sheets, also may be found by visiting the Public Health Review documents to the left on this page, or by clicking HERE:

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Preliminary Public Health Review Report for Camp Justice, August 2015: (PDF)

This report contains the results and findings from the August 4-8, 2015 visit made by Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) public health experts to Camp Justice. The purpose of the report was to compile information obtained from a preliminary assessment by the public health team which included an epidemiological review of medical data bases to determine whether a cancer cluster exists, gathering and reviewing available historical occupational health and environmental data, conducting an on-site walk-through survey of living and work environments, and assessing the need for collecting additional environmental data to fill data gaps. (LINK TO REPORT) 
 
Fact Sheet May 2016 for PHC PHR 12 Aug 2015 Report

Fact Sheet May 2016 rev 16 June for PHC PHR 23 Feb 2016 Report

Fact Sheet 24 May 2016 Formaldehyde Uses and Exposure Sources

Fact Sheet 10 June 2016 List of Chemicals and Microorganisms Analyzed

Fact Sheet 12 June 2016 Camp Justice Mercury in Air

Fact Sheet 12 June 2016 Formaldehyde in Air


Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center Preliminary Public Health Screening Risk Assessment Report, February 2016:
(PDF) 

This report provides an overview of the current status of the findings to date, including recommendations to be taken between now and the completion of the PHR. The report was written by public health and environmental professionals from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, Portsmouth, VA. The report was compiled as a result of the preliminary risk screening assessment of the environmental sampling data for individual chemicals of concern collected to date. The report provides a compilation of what's taken place to date with risk management actions, and provides recommendations to address identified data gaps. (LINK TO REPORT)

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A frequently asked questions (FAQ) document has also been maintained to support the public health review and may be found HERE.

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Health Review Continues- April 18, 2016
By NS Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

An assessment team, including personnel from the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC), Naval Facilities Command Southeast (NAVFAC SE) and contract personnel, has returned to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay this week to continue their ongoing public health review at Camp Justice.

In accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, the assessment team will conduct additional environmental sampling, including air sampling, needed for their public health review, which was initiated last summer in response to a Department of Defense Hotline (IG) complaint. The team will carry out their work at Camp Justice for 10-15 days.

The preliminary report describes the most recent NMCPCHC findings and recommendations. This is another step towards completing the public health review. Facilities initially surveyed in October included structures used by OMC personnel, such as the OMC Headquarters (AV29), McCalla Hangar (AV32), the old Commission Building (AV34), Security Building (AV 31), Expeditionary Legal Complex, tents and Cuzco trailers.

Continued sampling and analysis of Camp Justice is part of the in-depth and comprehensive process needed to complete the public health review.

 

Navy Public Health Review Update: Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Moving Ahead with Environmental Sampling Plan - October 9, 2015

By NS Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

Environmental sampling will begin the week of Oct. 9 as part of the ongoing public health review being conducted on Camp Justice, the site of the Office of Military Commissions (OMC) located at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay. 

“The sampling plan is intended to fill gaps in data identified in an earlier Public Health Review Report for the OMC facilities,” said Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay's Commanding Officer, Capt. David Culpepper. “We want to ensure that the appropriate action is being taken so we can continue to provide   quality living and working spaces.”

A team of experts from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC), Commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE), and Navy Facilities Engineering Command Southeast (NAVFAC SE), visited NS Guantanamo Bay Sept. 25-29 to develop the sampling plan, which will be conducted over the course of the next several months and into 2016. The first sampling efforts will be conducted during the week of Oct. 9-16 and again from Oct. 30 to Nov. 10.  Additional sampling will be conducted after the new year.  Results of the sampling will help complete some of the data gaps that were identified in initial assessments that were conducted last month.  The results will be carefully analyzed with a final report anticipated by mid-2016.

Indoor air sampling, soil sampling, water sampling, testing for ionizing radiation and paint samples in and around Camp Justice, will be included in the sampling efforts.  Multiple buildings within Camp Justice also will be sampled, including the OMC Headquarters (AV29), McCalla Hangar (AV32), the old Commission Building (AV34), the Security Building (AV 31), and the Expeditionary Legal Complex.  Additionally, sampling will be conducted in the tents and Cuzco trailers, and at the base’s incinerator.  Personnel working in these locations can expect to see sampling equipment placed in various locations around Camp Justice, and technicians conducting the sampling during these time frames.

This sampling is the latest step in addressing concerns brought to Navy leadership's attention alleging that since 2004 military and civilian employees working for the DOD Military Commissions on Camp Justice at NS Guantanamo Bay have been exposed to carcinogens in an area surrounding the Commissions' trailers, tents, offices and courtrooms.   The Navy requested that a Public Health Review be launched with the assistance of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) to investigate the allegations.  The initial site visit for the Public Health Review was conducted Aug. 4-8 by a team of Navy public health experts from NMCPHC, Portsmouth, Va.

Based on a review of available documentation and the site visit, the public health experts determined that the buildings, tents and trailers where personnel live and work are habitable for occupancy.  The team also determined the administrative worksites are low hazard and have low potential for overexposures to current occupational health standards.

While the review of existing environmental records for Camp Justice found no record of contamination, the team did find that data gaps exist in the available historical documentation.   In order to address those gaps, the experts recommended follow-on sampling be conducted.

For updates on the public health review, visit http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrse/installations/ns_guantanamo_bay.html.

 

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Commanding Officer Addresses OMC Regarding Public Health Assessment – Sept. 9, 2015

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay's Commanding Officer, Capt. David Culpepper, met with Operation of Military Commissions (OMC) personnel during a staff meeting as part of an ongoing effort to keep personnel informed of the status of the public health review (PHR).  The PHR is taking place in response to concerns brought to leadership's attention alleging that military and civilian personnel who worked in the OMC of NS Guantanamo Bay were likely exposed to carcinogens.

Culpepper explained to the staff what the follow-on steps will be.

"Based on the health records review and available documentation, the walk-through and air sampling conducted by health professionals from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) in early August, it has been determined that the buildings, tents and trailers where you all live and work are habitable for occupancy," said Culpepper.   

Culpepper went on to say that, based on the preliminary findings that the types and number of cancers observed and other associated factors, it is unlikely that an environmental or occupational exposure is associated with these cancers.   A formal cancer cluster investigation is not supported because the number and various types of cancer cases validated in the review do not meet the criteria established by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which is the criteria being used by the NMCPHC team. 

Culpepper also shared with the staff what the plans are moving forward.

"The review of existing environmental records (for Camp Justice) found no record of contamination, but the team did find that data gaps exist in available historical documentation.  In order to fill those gaps, the experts recommend follow-on testing," explained Culpepper.  "So, we are proceeding to develop a testing plan and are tentatively planning on having contractors on the ground in late September to finalize the environmental sampling."

Culpepper concluded by emphasizing the health and safety of personnel at the base is a priority and leadership will do it's very best to keep everyone informed as the public health review moves along. 

For updates on the public health review, visit http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrse/installations/ns_guantanamo_bay.html

 

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Health Review Update - August 14, 2015

By NS Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

This week public health professionals from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center completed their preliminary assessment as part of a public health review.  While a complete and final report is not yet finished, initial findings indicated that the buildings at the Office of Military Commissions (OMC) at Guantanamo Bay are habitable for occupancy.

The review is being conducted to address allegations that military and civilian personnel who worked at the OMC were likely exposed to carcinogens.

The public health team used protocols set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which include a review of historical documentation, medical records and industrial hygiene and habitability assessments. The public health team will continue to compile their report and present their final assessments and recommendations by the end of the month to Navy leadership.

Following a thorough review of the public health team's report, leadership will determine any additional steps that may be necessary.

For updates on the public health review, visit http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrse/installations/ns_guantanamo_bay.html

 

 

GTMO's Commanding Officer Addresses Health Concern

08/07/15

From BUMED Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay's Commanding Officer, Capt. David Culpepper, spoke today at a town hall as part of an ongoing effort to keep personnel informed of the current public health review taking place as a result of a concern that was brought to leadership's attention alleging that military and civilian personnel who worked at the Commissions area of Guantanamo Bay were likely exposed to carcinogens.

Culpepper reviewed the timeline of information with the approximate 56 attendees, and explained what is being done.

"On Tuesday a team of public health professionals from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center arrived here at the base," said Culpepper. "They are supporting the review which includes an occupational and environmental health survey, a public health review, and a medical records check. The team is already at work."

While a timeline for when results will be available is not known, the public health team, lead by Dr. Paul Gillooly, from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, emphasized the need to allow the process to take its course. "A public health review involves a variety of efforts, so we don't want to rush the process. We want to be deliberate with every step," said Gillooly.

Culpepper emphasized during the town hall that the health and safety of personnel at the base is a priority and that regular updates would be provided through town halls, the command website and the weekly base newspaper, The Guantanamo Gazette.

"We are in front of this issue and will do our very best to keep everyone informed," Culpepper said. 
 
To access the article on Navy.mil please click visit http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=90513.

 

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Performs Public Health Review

07/30/15

From Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) is working with Navy public health and environmental experts to conduct a preliminary inquiry into allegations of cancer among personnel assigned to the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions site at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay.

In response to a notification on July 14, 2015, Commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) is working with Navy public health and environmental experts to conduct a preliminary inquiry into allegations of cancer among personnel assigned to the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions site at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay.

The complaint alleges that military and civilian personnel who worked at the Commissions area of Guantanamo Bay were likely exposed to carcinogens. According to the complaint, up to seven individuals who lived and worked in the area have subsequently been diagnosed with cancer.

In response to this complaint, CNRSE and NS Guantanamo Bay Commanding Officer Capt. David Culpepper have requested the support of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) and other Navy environmental officials to review available records pertinent to the site and the allegations in the complaint.

As part of their review, NMCPHC public health experts are reviewing historical medical records of the individuals identified in the report to confirm the type of cancer and date of diagnosis. Historical environmental data is also being reviewed by NMCPHC to determine if there are any potential health risks from exposure to environmental hazards. This initial review must be completed before a final plan would be developed.

The initial records search is in coordination with NS Guantanamo Bay, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic and NAVFAC Southeast. To ensure an exhaustive process and review are met, the records search could take several weeks. Additionally, while records review is taking place, a small team of PH professionals will be traveling to Guantanamo Bay next week to provide subject matter expertise for the base commanding officer and leadership.

Navy leadership is committed to the safety and security of all personnel at its installations and will provide regular updates on the progress of the inquiry at http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrse/installations/ns_guantanamo_bay.html,
on the Armed Forces Network's weekly radio news program "Open Line," and in the pages of the "Guantanamo Gazette."

 To access the article on Navy.mil please click visit http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=90401

 

Statement from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay

07/29/15

The Department of Defense is aware of concerns about possible carcinogens around the DoD Military Commissions site located at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay.  The health and well-being of all personnel living and working on NS Guantanamo Bay is important to us and we take any health concerns very seriously.   Working together with the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center and other environmental and health officials, Navy Region Southeast is looking into this to identify whatever steps may be necessary to address these concerns.  We will keep everyone informed as we go along.

 

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