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Why Was The Water At Camp Lejeune Toxic?

Quick Answer

The water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the 1950s through February 1985, putting as many as one million military and civilian staff and their families at risk. The presence of chemicals such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in the drinking water has been linked to various health conditions, including cancers, birth defects, and other adverse health effects. Those affected may be eligible for compensation if they meet certain criteria and have been diagnosed with specific injuries or conditions.

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 there. The drinking water at Camp Lejeune was found to be toxic due to the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants.

The contamination occurred from the 1950s through February 1985, affecting as many as one million military personnel and civilian staff members along with their families who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during this time period. These individuals were unknowingly exposed to harmful chemicals on a daily basis by simply consuming tap water.

Exposure to these contaminated waters put people at risk for serious health consequences such as various types of cancer including kidney cancer, liver cancer bladder cancer; neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease; birth defects; reproductive issues; autoimmune diseases like systemic sclerosis/scleroderma among others.

This blog post aims to provide comprehensive information about the lawsuits surrounding the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune and inform readers about eligibility criteria for compensation if they have been affected by exposure to this toxic drinking water.

The Cause of Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune

The water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune was primarily caused by the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water. These VOCs are chemical substances that can easily evaporate into the air and dissolve in water.

Specifically, trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants were found to be present in the water supply. These chemicals have been linked to various health risks when consumed or exposed to over a prolonged period.

The contamination occurred from as early as the 1950s through February 1985, affecting thousands of individuals living or working on U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune during this time frame.

Tarawa Terrace

The primary contaminant identified here was tetrachloroethylene (PCE). This toxic substance originated from an off-base dry cleaning firm called ABC One-Hour Cleaners which disposed waste improperly.

Over several decades, PCE seeped into groundwater supplies used for drinking purposes within Tarawa Terrace area leading it exceeding EPA’s maximum contaminant level for approximately 346 months between November 1957-February 1987.

Hadnot Point

At Hadnot point TEC along with other harmful contaminants such as benzene, PCE, etc. were detected. The source included leaking underground storage tanks, waste disposal sites, and industrial spills. These pollutants exceeded their respective current EPA maximum levels continuously throughout August. In total, the exposure risk lasted until January, 1985.

These two treatment plants supplied most of Camp Lejeune’s drinking water needs. Due to these contamination issues, both wells had shut down operations permanently after discovery.

It is important to note that once these contaminants were discovered, measures were taken to address the issue and prevent further exposure. However, it is believed that past exposures to the contaminated water have had long-lasting health effects on those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during this period.

The next section will discuss in detail about the potential health consequences for individuals exposed to this toxic drinking water.

Health Effects of the Contaminated Water

Residents, civilian workers, Marines, and Naval personnel at Camp Lejeune who were exposed to the contaminated water faced significant health risks. The presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water has been linked to various adverse health effects.

Cancer Risks

One of the most concerning consequences is an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers. Studies have shown a higher incidence rate for kidney cancer among individuals exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Additionally, there is evidence suggesting an elevated risk for multiple myeloma, leukemias (including myelodysplastic syndromes), liver cancer, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and other forms of cancer.

Adverse Birth Outcomes and Other Health Issues

Furthermore, the contamination has been associated with adverse birth outcomes and other health issues. Infants born to women exposed to the toxic water during pregnancy have a higher likelihood of suffering from cardiac birth defects, cleft palate or lip defects, and neural tube defects. Additionally, female infertility, miscarriages, and premature births may also be associated with exposure to these contaminants.

It’s important to note that limited information is available on the exact impacts of these drinking water contaminants on human health. Most studies conducted so far are based on animal research or investigations into occupational exposures rather than direct studies involving people affected by this specific contamination incident.

Lawsuits and Compensation Eligibility

Camp Lejeune’s water contamination issue has led to numerous lawsuits seeking compensation for the health consequences suffered by those exposed to the toxic drinking water. The contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, which contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other contaminants, put residents, civilian workers, Marines, and Naval personnel at risk of serious health conditions.

Criteria for eligibility:

  • Must have lived or worked on U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between August 1st, 1953 through December 31st, 1987.
  • Individuals must not have received a dishonorable discharge from service during their time there.

Specific injuries and conditions that qualify for a free claim review include but are not limited to:

  • Parkinson disease
  • Kidney cancer
  • Various types of 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
  • Miscarriage
  • Hepatic Steatosis/Fatty Liver Disease
  • Female infertility
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Skin disorders due to hypersensitivity reactions
  • Aplastic anemia

It is important to note that if you were diagnosed with another injury after exposure at Camp LeJeune that is not listed above, it may still be possible to seek compensation based on your specific circumstances.

If you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria and have been diagnosed with one of the listed injuries or another injury not mentioned, it is recommended to apply for a free claim review. This will help determine if your case qualifies for compensation under federal law.

Please note that lead does not currently have legal representation in this matter.

For more information on how to proceed with filing a claim or seeking compensation related to Camp Lejeune’s water contamination issue, consult an attorney specializing in environmental litigation or visit official government websites dedicated to providing assistance and guidance regarding these claims.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: How many people were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune?

Answer:
As per estimates, as many as one million military and civilian staff, along with their families, may have been exposed to the contaminated drinking water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Question 2: How can individuals apply for a free claim review regarding the water contamination issue?

Answer:
To apply for a free claim review related to the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune, individuals must meet certain criteria set by law. They need to have been diagnosed with one of several specific injuries or conditions after exposure at Camp LeJeune. These include Parkinson’s disease, kidney cancer, leukemias (all types), 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 such as eye defects oral clefts neural tube defects etc., 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 Alternatively PC must be diagnosed with another injury not listed above but occurred after exposure.
By meeting these criteria and providing necessary documentation from medical professionals confirming their diagnosis and connection to the contaminated water exposure they may qualify for compensation.

Question 3: What benefits are available for those affected by the water contamination?

Answer:
Individuals who were living or working on base during that time period may be eligible for disability and health care benefits through various programs like Veterans Affairs’ Disability Compensation program if they served there while being active-duty personnel; however family members who lived at Camp Lejeune during this time period may also be eligible for benefits if they meet certain requirements. The PACT Act of 2022 allows individuals who lived, worked, or were exposed to the contaminated water for at least 30 days (or whose mothers did while pregnant) to file claims and seek appropriate relief.

Question 4: Do individuals need legal representation for this matter?

Answer:
Legal representation is not required in order to receive VA disability or health care benefits related to the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue. However, it can be beneficial as lawyers specializing in these cases have experience navigating through complex processes and ensuring that victims’ rights are protected throughout their claim process.

References

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