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Who Poisoned The Water At Camp Lejeune?

Quick Answer

The water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants from the 1950s through February 1985. The contamination was primarily caused by waste disposal practices at ABC One-Hour Cleaners and leaking underground storage tanks. This contamination put residents, civilian workers, Marines, and Naval personnel at risk of cancers, adverse birth outcomes, and other adverse health effects. Lawsuits have been filed, and those who meet certain criteria may be eligible for compensation.

Introduction

Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base located in North Carolina, was the site of a significant water contamination issue that has had far-reaching consequences for those who lived or worked on the base. From the 1950s through February 1985, as many as one million military and civilian staff members and their families were exposed to contaminated drinking water.

The contaminants found in the water at Camp Lejeune included trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other harmful substances. These pollutants entered the water supply due to various sources such as waste disposal practices at an off-base dry cleaning firm called ABC One-Hour Cleaners and leaking underground storage tanks within Camp Lejeune itself.

Exposure to these toxic chemicals put individuals at risk of developing serious health conditions ranging from cancers like kidney cancer, bladder cancer, liver cancer; leukemias including myelodysplastic syndromes; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; multiple myeloma; Parkinson’s disease; systemic sclerosis/scleroderma among others listed by law after exposure at Camp LeJeune.

This blog post aims to provide comprehensive information about this unfortunate incident surrounding Camp Lejeune’s contaminated drinking-water crisis along with its potential health effects on residents living there during that period. The primary focus will be providing insights into lawsuits related to this matter while also discussing eligibility criteria for compensation available under specific circumstances set forth by law.

The Contaminants and their Sources

The water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was contaminated with several harmful substances that posed serious health risks to those who were exposed. These contaminants included trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other toxic compounds.

ABC One-Hour Cleaners

One of the primary sources of contamination was ABC One-Hour Cleaners, an off-base dry cleaning firm. Their waste disposal practices led to the contamination of the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant with PCE. This chemical compound is commonly used in dry cleaning processes but can be hazardous when present in drinking water.

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks and Industrial Area Spills

Another significant source of contamination came from leaking underground storage tanks and industrial area spills near the Hadnot Point water treatment plant. TCE was primarily responsible for contaminating this facility along with other pollutants such as PCE and benzene.

It’s important to note that both Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point experienced varying degrees of pollution due to different contaminants entering their respective systems through separate pathways.

Contaminant Levels

At Tarawa Terrace, it has been estimated by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) that concentrations exceeding EPA maximum contaminant levels were found during 346 months between November 1957-February 1987 regarding PEC presence in drinking water. Similarly, ATSDR estimates indicate that at least one volatile organic compound exceeded its current EPA maximum contaminant level during August 1953-January 1985 concerning VOCs’ presence within drinking waters sourced from Hadnot Point.

These findings highlight how multiple factors contributed to widespread contamination throughout Camp Lejeune’s potable supply system over a prolonged period.

Health Effects and Risks

Exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has been linked to a range of serious health effects and risks. The contaminants found in the water, including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and others, have been associated with various adverse outcomes.

Cancer Risks

One of the most concerning risks is an increased likelihood of developing cancers. Studies conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) estimate that exposure to these contaminants may have elevated cancer risk among individuals who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during this period. Specific types of cancer include kidney cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer (in non-smokers), brain tumors, and many more.

Adverse Birth Outcomes

In addition to cancers, the contamination also poses potential dangers for pregnant women residing on base as it can lead to adverse birth outcomes such as miscarriages and certain birth defects like cardiac abnormalities, cleft palate, and neural tube defects. The ATSDR estimates suggest that there might be a higher incidence of neurobehavioral effects among children exposed prenatally or early in life.

Other Health Conditions

Additionally, it’s important to note that other health conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty Liver Disease), systemic sclerosis/scleroderma, male breast cancer, female infertility, hypersensitivity skin disorders, aplastic anemia, liver cirrhosis, are also associated with exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, though they are less commonly discussed compared to cancers and birth defects. These conditions can have profound impacts on the quality of life and significantly impact individuals and their families for years after exposure occurs.

It is crucial to understand that some people may not experience any immediate health symptoms or complications from exposure to the contaminated water. However, these long-term risks and potential consequences cannot be ignored. The ATSDR’s estimates highlight the potential severity of these effects, and it is important for individuals who were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to be aware of these risks and seek appropriate medical attention.

If you or a loved one lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during the period when the water was contaminated and have been diagnosed with any of these health conditions, it may be worth exploring your legal options for compensation. The lawsuits surrounding this issue aim to provide justice and support for those who have suffered as a result of their exposure.

Please note that I am not an attorney, but if you believe you meet the criteria mentioned earlier in this article regarding injuries after exposure at Camp LeJeune, you should consider seeking professional legal advice from qualified attorneys specializing in military toxic tort cases. They can evaluate your specific situation, determine whether you qualify under applicable laws, and guide you through the process of filing a claim if appropriate.

Lawsuits and Compensation

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune has led to numerous lawsuits seeking justice for those affected by the exposure. These legal actions aim to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence in allowing such a hazardous situation to occur.

To be eligible for compensation, individuals must meet certain criteria set by law. One of the key requirements is being diagnosed with one of the specific injuries or conditions that have been linked to exposure at Camp Lejeune. The list includes:

  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

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What caused the water contamination at Camp Lejeune?

A1: The water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants. The primary sources of contamination were waste disposal practices at ABC One-Hour Cleaners, an off-base dry cleaning firm that contaminated the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant with PCE. Additionally, leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, and waste disposal sites contributed to the contamination of the Hadnot Point water treatment plant primarily by TCE.

Q2: How long did the contamination occur?

A2: According to estimates from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), PCE concentrations exceeded EPA maximum contaminant levels in drinking water for 346 months during November 1957-February 1987 at Tarawa Terrace. At Hadnot Point, it is estimated that at least one volatile organic compound (VOC) exceeded its current EPA maximum contaminant level in drinking water between August 1953 and January 1985.

Q3: What are some health effects associated with exposure to contaminated water?

A3: The contaminants found in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune have been linked to a range of serious health conditions including cancers such as kidney cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Other potential health consequences include Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, miscarriage, female infertility, hypersensitivity skin disorder, and neurobehavioral effects. Additionally, birth defects, such as cardiac birth defects and non-cardiac birth defects (eye defects, oral clefts, and neural tube defects, etc.), have also been associated with exposure to contaminated water at the base. It is important to note that these are representative examples and there are other health conditions that may be associated with exposure to the contaminated water.

Q4: Who is eligible for compensation?

A4: Individuals who were diagnosed with specific injuries or conditions after exposure at Camp Lejeune may be eligible for compensation. The criteria include diagnoses such as Parkinson’s disease, kidney cancer, leukemias (all types), liver cancer, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and many others listed in our eligibility requirements section on military-forces.net. Additionally, a person may qualify for compensation if they have been diagnosed with another injury or condition not listed above, such as any type of cancer, serious medical condition, or injury not listed above. It is important to note that lead does not have legal representation for this matter.

Q5: How can I apply for a free claim review?

A5: To apply for a free claim review and determine if you qualify for compensation related to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, you can visit our website, military-forces.net. There you will find detailed information about the eligibility criteria and specific instructions on how to apply. You will need to document your diagnosis and provide any relevant medical evidence as you follow the directions outlined on our website. Our team of experts is there to guide you through the process and increase your chances of receiving compensation if the criteria are satisfied.

References

  1. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/background.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK215286/
  3. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/chem_descriptions.html