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What Is The Water At Camp Lejeune Contaminated With?

Quick Answer

The water at Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base in North Carolina, was contaminated with industrial solvents and benzene from the 1950s through the 1980s. As a result, veterans and their family members who were exposed to the contaminated water may be eligible for healthcare and reimbursement of medical expenses related to certain health conditions. The VA has established a presumptive service connection for qualifying individuals, and the PACT Act of 2022 allows for filing for appropriate relief for harm caused by the contaminated water.

Introduction

Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base located in North Carolina, was the site of a significant water contamination issue that lasted from the 1950s through the 1980s. The drinking water at Camp Lejeune was found to be contaminated with industrial solvents and benzene, including trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). This contamination posed serious health risks for those living or working on the base during this period.

The contaminants in the water were primarily caused by drycleaning waste and leaking underground fuel storage tanks. As a result, as many as one million military personnel, civilian staff members, and their families may have been exposed to these harmful substances.

Exposure to such toxic chemicals can lead to various adverse health effects ranging from cancers like kidney cancer, liver cancer bladder cancer; leukemias; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; multiple myeloma; Parkinson’s disease ; birth defects cardiac birth defects , neurobehavioral effects miscarriage etc . These conditions are just some examples of what individuals who were exposed might develop over time due to exposure .

This blog post aims to provide comprehensive information about camp lejeune lawsuits surrounding its notorious history regarding contaminated drinking water. The purpose is also providing details about compensation options available for victims affected by this unfortunate incident.

Contaminants in the Water at Camp Lejeune

The water at Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base located in North Carolina, was contaminated with several harmful substances from the 1950s through February 1985. The contaminants found in the drinking water included trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, vinyl chloride, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals pose significant health risks to those who were exposed.

The contamination of the water supply can be attributed to various sources. One major contributor was drycleaning waste generated by ABC One-Hour Cleaners – an off-base dry cleaning firm that disposed of its waste improperly. Additionally, leaking underground fuel storage tanks within and around Camp Lejeune also played a role in contaminating the groundwater.

It is important to note that specific areas on base had different primary contaminants based on their respective water treatment plants. The Tarawa Terrace plant primarily dealt with PCE contamination while TCE pollution affected mainly Hadnot Point’s facility operations.

In response to these alarming findings about toxic pollutants present in their drinking water system, authorities took action by shutting down some of the most heavily contaminated wells as early as February 1985.

Health Consequences of Exposure

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune has had severe health consequences for those who were exposed to the contaminated drinking water. The contaminants found in the water, including trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and benzene, have been linked to various serious medical conditions.

Listed below are some of the health conditions that have been associated with exposure to the contaminated water:

  1. Parkinson’s Disease
  2. Kidney Cancer
  3. Leukemias (all types, including myelodysplastic syndromes)
  4. Liver Cancer
  5. Bladder Cancer
  6. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  7. Multiple Myeloma
  8. Kidney disease (end-stage renal disease)
  9. Systemic sclerosis / scleroderma
  10. Cardiac birth defects
  11. Esophageal cancer
  12. Male breast cancer
  13. Lung cancer – if non-smoker
  14. Miscarriage
  15. Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty liver Disease)
  16. Female infertility
  17. Neurobehavioral effects
  18. Non-cardiac birth defects (eye defects, oral clefts, neural tube defect, etc.)
  19. Female Breast Cancer
  20. Cervical Cancer
  21. Hodgkin’s disease
  22. Ovarian cancer
  23. Prostate cancer
  24. Rectal cancer
  25. Brain Cancer
  26. Liver cirrhosis
  27. Soft Tissue Cancer
  28. Hypersensitivity Skin Disorder
  29. Aplastic anemia

These are just a few examples of the many potential health issues that individuals may develop as a result of exposure to these harmful substances.

To address this issue and provide support for affected individuals, VA has established presumptive service connection criteria for veterans, reservists, and National Guard members who were exposed to the contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. This means that if a veteran served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and has been diagnosed with one of these conditions listed above or any other serious medical condition not mentioned specifically, they may be eligible for disability compensation.

In addition to veterans themselves being eligible for healthcare benefits related to their exposure, family members who resided at Camp Lejeune during this period are also entitled to reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses associated with the covered health conditions. To qualify for reimbursement as a family member, they must provide evidence of their relationship (such as marriage licenses or birth certificates) to the veteran along with proof of residency on base for thirty days or more.

It is important to note that individuals seeking relief under the PACT Act should file separately from the VA claims process. Filing under the PACT Act does not affect the eligibility criteria set by law.

The contaminated drinking water issue has had far-reaching consequences on both physical health and financial well-being. It is crucial that those affected understand their rights and options available through various programs established by the VA.

Lawsuits and Compensation Options

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune has led to numerous lawsuits seeking justice for the victims who were exposed to the contaminated drinking water. These legal actions aim to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence in allowing such hazardous conditions.

One of the options available for individuals affected by the water contamination is applying for a free claim review. To qualify, you must have been diagnosed with one of several specific injuries after exposure at Camp Lejeune. These include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemias (including myelodysplastic syndromes)
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Kidney disease (end-stage renal disease)
  • Systemic sclerosis/scleroderma
  • Cardiac birth defects
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Lung cancer (if non-smoker)
  • Miscarriage
  • Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty Liver Disease)
  • Female infertility
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Non-cardiac birth defects (eye defects, oral clefts, neural tube defects, etc.)
  • Female breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Soft Tissue Cancer
  • Hypersensitivity Skin Disorder
  • Aplastic anemia

Alternatively, if you have been diagnosed with another injury not listed above, you may still be eligible for compensation.

Additionally, the PACT Act of 2022 allows individuals who lived or were exposed at Camp Lejeune during this period to file claims seeking appropriate relief from harm caused by the contaminated water. This act provides further avenues through which those impacted can seek compensation and assistance related to their health issues resulting from exposure.

It is important that if you believe you may be eligible under these criteria, you consult with qualified professionals specializing in handling cases related specifically to Camp Lejeune water contamination. These professionals can provide you with the necessary guidance on how best to proceed and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process of seeking compensation for the sufferings caused by this water contamination issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Who is eligible for compensation?

Answer:
Individuals who lived or worked at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 may be eligible for compensation if they have been diagnosed with one of the specified injuries or medical conditions related to exposure to the contaminated water. This includes veterans, reservists, National Guard members, as well as their family members.

Question 2: What documentation is required to apply for reimbursement?

Answer:
To apply for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses related to the covered health conditions resulting from exposure at Camp Lejeune during the qualifying period (August 1st, 1953 – December 31st, 1987), individuals will need certain documents including:

  • Proof of residency on base for a minimum duration of thirty days.
  • Documentation showing dependent relationship such as marriage licenses or birth certificates in case applying on behalf of a veteran.
  • Medical records indicating diagnosis and treatment history relevant to any specific injury listed under eligibility criteria.

It’s important that all necessary supporting documents are provided when submitting an application.

Question 3: Are there any legal representation options available?

Answer:
Yes! Victims exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune can seek legal representation through various law firms specializing in handling cases related specifically to this matter. They can provide guidance throughout the process of filing claims and seeking appropriate relief for harm caused by the contamination. It is recommended that victims consult with experienced attorneys who are knowledgeable about Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits in order to understand their rights and explore available legal options.

Question 4: How can individuals file relief under PACT Act?

Answer:
Individuals affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination also have an option to seek relief from harm caused by submitting a claim under the PACT Act of 2022. The PACT Act provides a legal framework for individuals who lived or were exposed at Camp Lejeune to file for appropriate relief. The process involves filing a claim with the appropriate authorities and providing relevant documentation to support the case. Filing for relief under this act does not affect eligibility for VA benefits. It is recommended that individuals seek legal advice from qualified attorneys who have expertise in handling cases related to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, as they can provide guidance on how to best navigate through this process.

References

  1. https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/
  2. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/background.html
  3. https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/