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What Was Wrong With The Camp Lejeune Water?

Quick Answer

The Camp Lejeune water contamination issue occurred from the 1950s through the 1980s at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The drinking water at the base was contaminated with industrial solvents and other contaminants, leading to serious health consequences for residents, civilian workers, Marines, and Naval personnel. Those affected may be eligible for compensation and healthcare benefits, and the VA has established programs to provide assistance to qualifying veterans and their families.

Introduction

The Camp Lejeune water contamination issue has been a significant concern for the residents, civilian workers, Marines, and Naval personnel at the U.S. Marine Corps Base in North Carolina. For several decades from the 1950s through February 1985, individuals living or working at Camp Lejeune were exposed to contaminated drinking water that had serious health consequences.

The contaminants found in the drinking water included trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, benzene, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These substances entered the water supply due to various factors such as leaking underground storage tanks and waste disposal practices on-site.

This contamination lasted for an extended period of time before it was discovered by authorities. In fact, it wasn’t until 1982 that specific VOCs were identified in two out of eight water treatment plants on base – Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant primarily contaminated with PCE from off-base dry cleaning firm’s waste disposal practices; Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant mainly affected by TCE along with other contaminants like PCE and benzene resulting from industrial area spills and leakage from underground storage tanks.

As a result of this prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals present in their daily drinking-water consumption routine over many years potentially put approximately one million military staff members including civilians stationed there alongside their families under severe risk leading them susceptible towards developing numerous adverse health effects ranging across multiple categories encompassing cancers like kidney cancer,liver cancer ,bladder cancer etc., birth defects,certain medical conditions,and more which have significantly impacted lives even after leaving camp lejueane premises.

It is crucially important now than ever before those who may have suffered these ill-effects are aware they might be eligible compensation if certain criteria set forth law met accordingly. Victims must meet specified requirements outlined within legal framework pertaining eligibility claim review process ensuring proper evaluation takes place determining whether they qualify for compensation or not.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the causes of contamination, health effects experienced by individuals exposed to this contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and explore available options for seeking compensation.

Causes of Contamination

The contamination of the water at Camp Lejeune was a result of various factors and sources. Understanding how the water became contaminated is crucial in comprehending the extent and severity of the issue.

Description:

During its operation from the 1950s through February 1985, specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were discovered in drinking water provided by two out of eight water treatment plants on base. The primary contaminants found were trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, benzene, and other harmful substances.

Factors contributing to VOC presence:

Several factors contributed to these volatile organic compounds being present in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water:

  1. Waste Disposal Practices: One significant factor was waste disposal practices both on-base and off-base that led to groundwater contamination. For instance, an off-base dry cleaning firm disposed PCE waste improperly which primarily affected Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant.
  2. Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: Another major contributor was leaking underground storage tanks containing fuel or hazardous chemicals used for military operations or industrial activities within Camp Lejeune premises.
  3. Spills & Industrial Area Contaminants: Accidental spills during handling or transportation as well as improper management practices resulted in chemical pollutants seeping into soil layers eventually contaminating supply wells providing potable waters across different areas within Camp Lejeune.
  4. Waste Disposal Sites: Improperly managed landfills where toxic materials including solvents like TCE, PCE, etc., were dumped over time also played a role.

Specific Sources Of Contamination:

  • The Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant primarily suffered from PCE contamination due to poor waste disposal practices by an external dry-cleaning company located near it.
  • The Hadnot Point Water Treatment plant faced multiple contaminants such as TEC, Benzene, and degradation products along with PCE. These contaminants were primarily caused by leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, and waste disposal sites.

The presence of these volatile organic compounds in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune posed a significant health risk to those who lived or worked on the base. The contamination persisted for several decades before being discovered, leading to serious consequences for many individuals exposed to this toxic water supply.

Health Effects

Exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has had severe health consequences for those who lived or worked on the military base. The presence of trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants in the drinking water has been linked to a range of injuries and medical conditions.

Specific injuries and medical conditions associated with the Camp Lejeune water contamination include:

  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 defects, 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 some examples of the many serious health issues that individuals exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune may have experienced.

The contaminants found in the drinking water can increase an individual’s risk of developing various cancers such as kidney, liver, bladder, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Additionally, exposure to the contaminated water has been associated with adverse birth outcomes including cardiac defects and neural tube defects.

Furthermore, individuals exposed to the contaminants may also experience other adverse health effects such as neurobehavioral issues and liver cirrhosis. The long-term consequences of this exposure can be debilitating for those affected.

It is important for anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during the period of contamination to seek medical attention if they are experiencing any symptoms related to these injuries or conditions. Early detection and treatment can make a significant difference in managing these health issues.

If you believe that your health problems are linked to your time spent at Camp Lejeune and meet certain criteria set by law regarding specific injuries or medical conditions resulting from exposure, you may be eligible for compensation through legal channels.

Compensation and Benefits

The Camp Lejeune water contamination issue has had a significant impact on the health of those who were exposed to the contaminated drinking water. As a result, victims may be eligible for compensation if they meet certain criteria set by law.

Eligibility Criteria:

To apply for compensation, individuals must have been diagnosed with one of the following injuries after exposure at Camp LeJeune:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemias (all types, including myelodysplastic syndromes)
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Additionally, veterans can also qualify if they have been diagnosed with any type of cancer or serious medical condition not listed above. It is important to note that lead does not currently have legal representation in this matter.

Healthcare Benefits provided by VA:

Qualifying veterans who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987 are entitled to receive all their healthcare needs from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), except dental care. This means that these veterans will no longer need private insurance coverage as their healthcare expenses related to conditions caused by exposure will be covered entirely through VA services.

Presumptive Service Connection:

For specific diseases associated with exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune such as adult leukemia, aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease, veterans do not need to prove direct service connection but instead benefit from presumptive service connection which simplifies the claims process significantly.

This means that qualifying veterans only need evidence showing presence during the specified period without having to provide proof linking illness directly back to toxic substances found in the water.

Reimbursement of Medical Expenses for Family Members:

Family members who resided at Camp Lejeune during the qualifying period are also eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses related to 16 covered health conditions. The VA can provide payment only after other health plans have made their payments, and any remaining costs will be reimbursed by VA.

It is important that victims and their families understand these compensation options available to them as they navigate through this difficult situation. Applying for compensation may require gathering necessary documentation such as medical records, so it’s advisable to consult with legal representation or seek assistance from organizations specializing in helping individuals affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue.

Lawsuits and Legal Actions

The Camp Lejeune water contamination issue has resulted in 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 and provide compensation to those affected.

Overview of Lawsuits:

Since the discovery of contaminants in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune, multiple lawsuits have been filed on behalf of military personnel, civilian workers, residents, and their families who suffered health consequences as a result. The plaintiffs allege that they were not adequately informed about or protected from exposure to toxic chemicals present in the base’s water supply.

Legal Options Available:

Victims seeking compensation have several legal options available depending on their circumstances:

  1. Individual Lawsuits: Individuals can file personal injury claims against responsible parties such as government agencies or private companies involved with waste disposal practices that contributed to groundwater contamination.
  2. Class Action Lawsuit: Some individuals may choose to join class action lawsuits where groups collectively seek damages against common defendants based on shared injuries resulting from exposure at Camp Lejeune.
  3. Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA): Military service members are generally barred from suing federal entities under sovereign immunity laws; however, FTCA allows them an avenue for filing administrative claims directly with relevant government departments like Veterans Affairs (VA) if certain criteria are met.

Progress and Settlements:

Over time, progress has been made regarding these cases through settlements reached between various parties involved:

  • In 2017, Congress passed legislation known as “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act” which extended healthcare benefits provided by VA specifically related to illnesses associated with exposure during residency at Camp Lejeune.
  • Additionally, the Department of Justice established a program called “CampLeJeunewater.com,” providing information about ongoing litigation efforts along with updates on any settlement agreements reached so far.

It is important to note that each case is unique, and the outcome of lawsuits may vary. Victims are encouraged to consult with legal professionals experienced in environmental contamination cases for guidance on their specific situation.

As these legal actions progress, it remains crucial to continue raising awareness about the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue and advocating for justice on behalf of those affected by this preventable tragedy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What was the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue?

Answer:
The Camp Lejeune water contamination issue refers to the presence of harmful contaminants in the drinking water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. From the 1950s through February 1985, trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other pollutants were found in the base’s drinking water supply.

Question 2: How can I apply for a free claim review?

Answer:
To apply for a free claim review related to exposure at Camp LeJeune, you must have been diagnosed with one of several specific injuries or medical conditions associated with contaminated water exposure. These include Parkinson’s disease, kidney cancer, leukemias (all types), liver cancer bladder cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma multiple myeloma kidney disease systemic sclerosis/scleroderma cardiac birth defects esophageal Cancer male breast cancer lung Cancer miscarriage hepatic steatosis female infertility neurobehavioral effects non-cardiac birth defects female breast cancer cervical Cancer Hodgkin’s Disease ovarian Cancer prostate Cancer rectal Cance brain Can cer liver cirrhosis soft tissue Canc hypersensitivity skin disorder aplastic anemia or alternatively PC must have been diagnosed with another injury after exposure not listed above such as any type of canc serious medical condition or injury.
Once you meet these criteria set by law, you may be eligible for compensation. You should consult legal representation experienced in handling claims related to this matter who will guide you on how best proceed.

Question 3: What are some examples of injuries and medical conditions that qualify for compensation?

Answer:
Victims exposed to contaminated water may suffer from various health consequences. The following is a list of common injuries and medical conditions qualifying for compensation:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemias (all types, 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

Question 4: Is legal representation available for victims?

Answer:
Yes. Victims exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune may seek the assistance of experienced legal representation who specialize in handling claims related to this matter. These attorneys have knowledge and expertise in navigating the complex process of seeking compensation for those affected by the water contamination issue.
Legal representatives will guide you through each step of your claim review or lawsuit, ensuring that all necessary documentation is gathered and presented effectively on your behalf. They will help determine if you meet eligibility criteria, set forth by law, and assist with filing a claim or pursuing litigation against responsible parties.
It’s important to consult with a qualified attorney who has experience in this area of law and is familiar with the specific requirements for compensation related to Camp LeJeune water contamination.

References

  1. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/background.html
  2. https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK215286/