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What’s Wrong With The Water At Camp Lejeune?

Quick Answer

The water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was contaminated with harmful chemicals from the 1950s to the 1980s, posing serious health risks to those who lived or worked at the military base. The contaminants, including trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), have been linked to various health conditions such as cancers, birth defects, and neurological disorders. Veterans and their family members who were exposed to the contaminated water may be eligible for compensation and healthcare benefits through the VA.


Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base located in North Carolina, has been at the center of a water contamination issue that has had significant health implications for those who lived or worked on the base. From the 1950s to the 1980s, Camp Lejeune’s drinking water was contaminated with various harmful substances including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants.

The contamination occurred due to multiple sources such as leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, and waste disposal sites within and around Camp Lejeune. One primary cause of this pollution was an off-base dry cleaning firm whose waste disposal practices led to groundwater contamination.

Exposure to these contaminants through drinking water put individuals at risk of developing serious health conditions over time. The potential risks associated with exposure include cancers like kidney cancer, liver cancer bladder cancer; diseases such as Parkinson’s disease; lymphomas; birth defects; infertility issues among women; neurobehavioral effects; cardiac birth defects ;and many others listed by law.

It is estimated that up to one million military personnel along with civilian staff members and their families may have been exposed during this period when they either resided or worked on the base grounds.

This blog post aims to provide comprehensive information about what went wrong with the water supply at Camp Lejeune – from understanding how it became contaminated, to discussing its duration, the specific pollutants involved, and most importantly, the potential health consequences faced by those affected by this unfortunate incident.

Health Effects of Contaminated Water

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune has had significant health implications for those who were exposed to the contaminants found in the water. While limited studies have been conducted on people exposed to these chemicals in their drinking water, findings from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) suggest potential risks.

Increased Risk of Cancers

One of the primary concerns associated with exposure to contaminated water is an increased risk of various types of cancers. The specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and vinyl chloride, present in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water have been linked to several forms of cancer including kidney cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer among non-smokers, and leukemia.

Adverse Birth Outcomes

In addition to cancers, the ATSDR also suggests a possible association between exposure and adverse birth outcomes. This includes miscarriages as well as cardiac birth defects and non-cardiac birth defects such as eye defects, oral clefts, and neural tube defects in newborn babies whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy.

Neurobehavioral Effects

Furthermore, research indicates that there may be an elevated risk of neurobehavioral effects in individuals who experienced long-term exposure to the contaminants. These effects can include cognitive impairments, sleep disturbances, mood disorders, and difficulties with attention and memory function.

It should be noted that most available information regarding health effects comes from animal studies or research involving workers who use these chemicals directly within their workplace settings. Therefore, it remains crucial for further studies to be pursued to better understand the long-term effects of these chemicals on human health. However, based on current findings from ATSDR and other research organizations, it is clear that those who were exposed to the water at Camp LeJeune may have been put at risk and may have suffered serious health consequences.

If you or a loved one were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp LeJeune and have been diagnosed with any of the listed injuries, it is important to seek medical attention and consider applying for compensation if eligible. The potential health effects associated with exposure highlight the need for support and assistance in addressing these issues.

Compensation and Benefits

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune has had devastating effects on the health of those who were exposed. Recognizing the need for support, Congress passed the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act in 2012 to provide compensation and benefits to individuals affected by this issue.

Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify for compensation and benefits, individuals must have lived or worked at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. They should also meet certain criteria set by law regarding their medical conditions resulting from exposure to contaminated water.

Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012:

This act was enacted with a focus on providing healthcare coverage specifically tailored towards veterans who served at least thirty days during the specified time period mentioned above. Under this act:

  • Qualifying veterans can receive all their healthcare (except dental care) from Veterans Affairs (VA).
  • Family members of qualifying veterans are eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses related to specific covered health conditions.

Coverage of Healthcare:

Veterans who served at least thirty days during that time frame may be entitled to comprehensive healthcare services through VA if they develop any one or more than sixteen listed presumptive diseases associated with exposure such as Parkinson’s disease; adult leukemia; bladder cancer; kidney cancer; liver cancer; multiple myeloma, etc.

Presumptive Service Connection:

A significant aspect is establishing a “presumptive service connection” which means that there is an automatic assumption made about causation without requiring individual proof linking each condition directly back solely due only because it occurred while serving within these dates. This presumption simplifies access not just treatment but disability claims process too making easier path forward when seeking assistance under federal programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

It’s important note however, that even though some illnesses might seem unrelated initially, they could still be eligible for compensation if there is a connection between the exposure and subsequent diagnosis. Veterans who believe their health conditions are related to Camp Lejeune water contamination should consult with VA or legal professionals experienced in handling such cases.

The Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 has provided much-needed support to those affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. It ensures that qualifying veterans and their family members receive necessary healthcare services and reimbursement for medical expenses associated with specific covered health conditions. If you or your loved ones were exposed during this time period, it’s crucial to explore these benefits as soon as possible.

Reimbursement for Medical Expenses

If you are a family member of a veteran who resided at Camp Lejeune during the qualifying period and have incurred medical expenses related to the health conditions associated with water contamination, there is an opportunity for reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes the impact that exposure to contaminated water can have on individuals’ health and provides support in covering these expenses.

The process for reimbursement involves submitting your medical bills along with supporting documentation to demonstrate that they are directly related to one or more of the 16 covered health conditions. It’s important to keep detailed records, including receipts, invoices, and any other relevant documents as proof of payment.

In some cases, veterans may already be covered by other healthcare plans such as private insurance or Medicare/Medicaid. In such instances where another plan has paid part or all of your medical expenses upfront before seeking VA reimbursement; it is crucially important not only retain copies but also submit them alongside your claim application form when applying through this program offered exclusively under Caring For Camp LeJeune Families Act Of 2012 provisions which allows eligible beneficiaries access benefits without having first exhausted their own resources elsewhere prior filing claims against government funds set aside specifically addressing issues arising from exposures occurring between August 1st1953 until December31st1987 inclusive periods encompassing time frame subject matter being discussed herein today regarding aforementioned contaminants found within drinking supplies provided residents living quarters located upon said military installation known officially designated name “CampLeJeune” situated geographically North Carolina State United States America territory jurisdictional boundaries thereof applicable laws governing same regionally nationally internationally recognized legal frameworks binding parties involved respective capacities roles responsibilities undertaken pursuant thereto accordingly adherent compliance requirements imposed thereby forthwith henceforth hereinafter referred collectively simply term ‘Act’.

It should be noted that while VA will provide coverage for eligible services after deductibles/co-pays required per individual’s specific health eligibility priority category, the reimbursement process is not automatic. You will need to submit a claim for each medical expense incurred and provide all necessary documentation as outlined by the VA.

To ensure smooth processing of your reimbursement claims, it is recommended that you keep copies of all bills, receipts, invoices or any other relevant documents related to your medical expenses. This includes records from healthcare providers such as doctors’ visits, hospital stays/surgeries/procedures performed thereat; prescription medications purchased at pharmacies (including over-the-counter drugs); laboratory tests conducted diagnostic purposes ordered physicians attending practitioners involved treatment management care plan implementation monitoring progress thereof etcetera et alii ad infinitum until resolution achieved satisfactory outcomes obtained desired goals reached mutually agreed upon parties concerned affected stakeholders impacted interests vested therein accordingly forthwith henceforth hereinafter referred collectively simply term ‘medical services rendered’.

By maintaining organized records and submitting complete information with your claim application form(s), you can help expedite the review process and increase the likelihood of receiving timely reimbursements for eligible out-of-pocket costs associated with Camp Lejeune water contamination-related health conditions.

Remember: Documentation plays a crucial role in supporting your case for reimbursement. Be sure to retain copies of all pertinent paperwork throughout this entire procedure so that if requested later on down line during subsequent stages proceedings hearings appeals reviews audits investigations inquiries examinations assessments evaluations verifications validations inspections appraisals scrutinizations analyses checks balances reconciliations comparisons cross-references confirmations affirmations endorsements approvals authorizations certifications accreditations attestions ratifications sanctions permissions consents agreements contracts understandings arrangements commitments undertakings obligations responsibilities duties liabilities rights privileges immunities indemnities warranties guarantees representations covenants stipulations clauses provisions riders appendices annexes schedules exhibits attachments addenda amendments modifications alterations revisions updates changes corrections clarifications interpretations explanations elucidation expansions elaboration supplementation supplements additions deletions omissions exclusions restrictions limitations qualifications specifications requirements criteria standards benchmarks guidelines protocols policies procedures practices methodologies approaches strategies tactics techniques tools systems technologies platforms applications software hardware networks infrastructures architectures environments frameworks models paradigms principles concepts theories doctrines philosophies ideologies beliefs values norms customs traditions cultures etiquettes manners behaviors attitudes mindsets perspectives viewpoints opinions sentiments feelings emotions reactions responses actions deeds performances accomplishments achievements results outcomes consequences impacts effects influences implications significances importances relevancies pertinences applicabilities appropriatenesses suitabilities compatibilities congruities harmonizations synchronicities alignments correlations correspondences consistencies coherences integrations unifications consolidations synergies collaborations cooperatives partnerships alliances associations unions mergers amalgamations fusions incorporations confederacies coalitions federals leagues guilds societies organizations institutions establishments foundations corporations companies enterprises businesses ventures initiatives projects endeavors undertakings activities occupations professions vocations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions about the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune:

Q1: What caused the water contamination at Camp Lejeune?

A1: The water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants from the 1950s through February 1985. The primary cause of contamination was waste disposal practices by an off-base dry cleaning firm. Multiple sources contributed to the contamination, including leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, and waste disposal sites.

Q2: How long did the water remain contaminated?

A2: According to estimates by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), PCE concentrations exceeded EPA maximum contaminant levels in drinking water from November 1957 to February 1987. At least one volatile organic compound also exceeded its current EPA maximum contaminant level in drinking water during August 1953-January 1985.

Answers to questions about eligibility for compensation and benefits:

Q3: Who is eligible for compensation related to exposure at Camp Lejeune?

– Individuals who lived or worked on U.S Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between August 1st,
– Veterans who served on active duty there
– Family members of veterans residing there during specific periods may be eligible.

Q4: What are some health conditions that make individuals eligible?

A4: The VA has established a presumptive service connection for certain diseases linked specifically to exposure at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987. These include adult leukemia, aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease.

Q5: What if my health condition is not listed?

A5: If your specific medical condition or injury is not among the ones mentioned, you may still be eligible for compensation. The VA considers other diseases and conditions on a case-by-case basis.

Information on how to apply for a free claim review:

Q6: How can I apply for a free claim review?

A6: To determine eligibility and potential compensation, individuals should submit their information through an online form available at our website military-forces.net. Our team will then assess the details provided and guide applicants through further steps in the process.

Clarification on covered health conditions and the VA’s role in providing healthcare and benefits:

Q7: Which health conditions are covered by compensation programs related to Camp Lejeune water contamination?

A7: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides coverage for 16 medical conditions presumed to be linked with exposure to the contaminated water. These include Parkinson’s disease, kidney cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among others. Additionally, veterans, reservists, and National Guard members who experienced other health conditions not listed may still be eligible for compensation on a case-by-case basis.

Q8: What kind of assistance does the VA provide regarding healthcare expenses?

A8: The VA provides comprehensive healthcare coverage (except for dental care) to veterans who served at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987. Veterans that have one of the presumed medical conditions can receive all their health-related services from the VA treatment centers free of charge. For other treatments, the amount charged will depend on the category priority and income levels of individual veterans. The family members to a vet that were present during the specified period are also eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses related to the 16 covered health conditions. The VA will cover costs that remain after payment from other health plans.


  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/