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Why Was The Water Toxic At Camp Lejeune?

Quick Answer

The water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with toxic chemicals such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) due to various sources including leaking underground storage tanks and waste disposal sites. This contamination lasted for several decades and put as many as one million military and civilian staff and their families at risk. Exposure to the contaminated water increased the risk of cancers, adverse birth outcomes, and other adverse health effects. Victims may be eligible for compensation if they meet certain criteria set by law.


Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base located in North Carolina, has been at the center of a major water contamination issue that has affected as many as one million military and civilian staff members along with their families. The purpose of this blog post is to provide comprehensive information about the lawsuits surrounding the water contamination at Camp Lejeune and outline the criteria for eligibility for compensation.

For several decades, those living or working on base were unknowingly exposed to toxic drinking water containing harmful contaminants such as trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and others. This exposure put individuals at risk of serious health consequences including various types of cancers, adverse birth outcomes, kidney disease, neurological disorders, and other significant medical conditions.

The scale of potential impact from this contaminated water is staggering – up to one million people may have been affected by these hazardous substances during their time spent at Camp Lejeune. The gravity of this situation cannot be understated; it’s crucial that we shed light on the issue and provide information to those who are seeking justice for their health complications as a result of exposure at the camp. This blog post will provide the needed insight into these lawsuits and also outline eligibility criteria for potential compensation claimants. It is our hope that by sharing this knowledge, we may assist individuals in finding the resources and guidance they need to seek redress for the pain and suffering they have endured due to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

Causes of Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune was primarily caused by the presence of several contaminants, including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and others. These toxic substances infiltrated the drinking water supply on the base, putting residents, civilian workers, Marines, and Naval personnel at risk.

Off-Base Dry Cleaning Firm

One significant source of contamination was an off-base dry cleaning firm that disposed of waste improperly. The Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant became contaminated mainly due to PCE from this facility’s waste disposal practices.

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks

Leaking underground storage tanks in various areas around the base contributed to further pollution. These tanks contained hazardous substances that seeped into the groundwater, contaminating the water supply.

Industrial Area Spills

Industrial area spills were another factor leading to water contamination. Chemicals used or produced during industrial activities seeped into groundwater sources supplying both residential and working areas within Camp Lejeune.


Health Effects of the Contaminated Water

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune had severe health effects on those who were exposed to it. Ongoing studies have been conducted to understand the full extent of these health effects and provide support for affected individuals.

Increased Risk of Cancers

One significant concern is the increased risk of various types of cancers among those exposed to the contaminated water. Studies have shown a higher incidence rate of:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Leukemias (including myelodysplastic syndromes)
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Lung cancer (in non-smokers)
  • Brain cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Female breast cancer

These findings highlight how exposure to toxic substances can lead to serious medical conditions that impact long-term well-being.

Adverse Birth Outcomes

In addition to an elevated risk for developing certain cancers after exposure at Camp Lejeune, adverse birth outcomes are also associated with contact with contaminated drinking water during pregnancy or while trying to conceive. Miscarriages and stillbirths may occur as a result. Furthermore, infants born alive might experience cardiac birth defects such as heart valve abnormalities or septal defects, which affect normal blood flow through their hearts. Other potential impacts include neurobehavioral disorders in children whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy.

It’s important not only to consider military personnel but also civilian workers living near the base, as they could be equally susceptible due to proximity from where contaminants originated – leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, waste disposal sites, etc.

These devastating consequences emphasize why it is crucial for residents, Marines, and Naval personnel who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953-1987 to seek proper medical evaluation if they suspect any symptoms related to illnesses caused by prolonged ingestion, inhalation, or dermal absorption of hazardous chemicals present within the tap water supply system during that time period.

Lawsuits and Compensation Eligibility

If you or a loved one were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, it is important to understand your eligibility for compensation. The government has recognized that those who suffered from specific injuries or serious medical conditions as a result of exposure may be eligible for compensation.

Qualifying Criteria

To qualify for compensation, individuals must meet certain criteria set by law. One key requirement is having been diagnosed with one of the following injuries after exposure at Camp Lejeune:

  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

Alternatively, if an individual was diagnosed with another injury not listed above but believes it was caused by their exposure at Camp Lejeune, such as any type of cancer, some other serious medical condition, or injury not listed above, they may still be eligible for compensation.

Importance of Legal Representation

It is important to note that legal representation can greatly assist in navigating the complex process of filing a claim and seeking compensation. An experienced attorney specializing in Camp Lejeune water contamination cases will have the knowledge and expertise needed to guide you through this process effectively.

If you believe you meet the criteria for eligibility, it is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Compensation claims must adhere to specific deadlines set by law, so taking prompt action is essential.

Remember, if you were exposed at Camp Lejeune and diagnosed with one of these injuries or other serious medical conditions related to your exposure, you might qualify for compensation under existing laws. Seek professional assistance from an attorney who specializes in handling such cases today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How do I know if I qualify for compensation?

If you have been diagnosed with one of the specific injuries or medical conditions listed after exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you may be eligible for compensation. These include Parkinson’s disease, kidney cancer, leukemias (all types), liver cancer, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and many others. To determine your eligibility for compensation, it is recommended that you consult with a legal professional who specializes in these cases.

Q2: What should I do if I believe I have been affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune?

If you suspect that you have been affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune and are experiencing any symptoms related to the listed injuries or medical conditions mentioned earlier such as cancers or adverse birth outcomes among others; it is important to seek immediate medical attention from a healthcare provider familiar with this issue. Additionally, you should gather all relevant documentation including records of residence on base during the period when contamination occurred and any supporting evidence like diagnosis reports.

It is also advisable to contact an attorney experienced in handling claims related specifically to toxic exposures so they can guide through necessary steps towards seeking justice & potential financial recovery available under law based upon individual circumstances surrounding their case(s).

Q3: How can I find legal representation for my case?

Finding appropriate legal representation plays crucial role while pursuing claim against responsible parties involved in contaminating drinking supply causing serious health consequences. To find qualified attorneys specializing in military-related environmental hazards, you could start by researching online directories which list lawyers practicing within this area expertise. You might consider reaching out local bar associations requesting referrals recommendations regarding reputable firms/attorneys dealing similar matters.

When selecting an attorney make sure they possess experience knowledge about laws governing hazardous material exposure claims particularly those pertaining camp leJeunne Water Contamination incident. Initial consultations usually offered free charge during which you can discuss your case, evaluate their expertise and determine if they are the right fit for representing your interests.

Q4: What types of compensation are available for victims?

Victims who qualify may be eligible to receive various forms of compensation. This could include financial reimbursement for medical expenses related to diagnosis and treatment, as well as potential future healthcare costs. Compensation might also cover lost wages or loss of earning capacity due to illness or disability caused by exposure at Camp Lejeune. Additionally, victims may seek damages pain suffering emotional distress experienced result contamination incident.

It is important consult with an attorney specializing in these cases so that they can assess individual circumstances provide guidance on what specific compensatory benefits one potentially entitled under law based upon facts surrounding their situation(s).

Q5: Are there any deadlines for filing a claim?

Yes, it is crucial file claims within specified time limits set forth by applicable laws governing such matters. These statutes limitations vary depending jurisdiction where lawsuit filed. To ensure compliance timely submission requirements, it recommended contacting legal professional familiar toxic exposure litigation promptly after discovering eligibility pursue claim against responsible parties involved water contamination camp leJeunne North Carolina.


  1. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/background.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK215286/
  3. https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/