Camp Lejeune Poisoned Water and its Consequences
We take for granted that the water we drink is clean. Yet, that was not the case for those on the property of Camp Lejeune and MCAS (Marine Corp Air Station) New River in North Carolina. Water contamination at Camp Lejeune caused multiple and serious health problems for Marines and their families who were stationed there.
The two primary contaminants were trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), which were used in dry-cleaning and degreasing operations. The contaminants entered the water from a dry cleaning business and a water treatment plant.
It is impossible to accurately estimate how many people at Camp Lejeune were affected by contaminants. According to estimates, over one million people were potentially exposed to the contaminated water. These individuals could be
- Members of the armed forces
- Civil service employees
- Civilian employees working for a private company on the base
- The family member of one of the above, born and unborn
- Visitors to the base
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a chemical used in many industrial and consumer products. Long-term exposure to TCE can cause health effects such as kidney and liver damage, as well as an increased risk of cancer. It is also known to affect the central nervous system, leading to headaches, dizziness, and changes in mood or behavior.
Perchloroethylene (PCE) is also a chemical found in many industrial and consumer products. Long-term exposure to PCE can cause damage to the liver and kidneys, as well as an increased risk of cancer. It can also affect the central nervous system, leading to dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. PCE is also known to cause reproductive and developmental problems.
Heavy metals, pesticides, vinyl chloride and benzene also entered the water.
Long-term exposure to these chemicals has been linked to a variety of illnesses, including cancers of the kidney, liver, bladder, and lymphatic system, neurological disorders, and reproductive health problems. In addition, Marines and their families have reported a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and depression.
In response to the contamination, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has established a special program to provide medical and disability benefits to Camp Lejeune veterans and families affected by the water contamination.
Mechanism of Contamination
1. Leaking Underground Fuel Storage Tanks: One of the most common causes of water contamination at Camp Lejeune is leaking underground fuel storage tanks. These tanks are used to store various types of fuel and are located throughout the base. Over time, the tanks can begin to corrode and eventually leak fuel into the surrounding soil and groundwater.
2. Contaminated Soil: Another source of water contamination at Camp Lejeune is contaminated soil. As fuel and other pollutants are deposited on the ground, they can seep into the soil and eventually make their way into the groundwater.
3. Industrial Discharges: Industrial discharges can also be a source of water contamination at Camp Lejeune. These discharges may include chemicals, metals, and other pollutants that can enter the water supply. Workers at an off-site dry cleaning company improperly disposed of chemicals.
4. Runoff from Nearby Areas: Runoff from nearby areas can also be a source of water contamination at Camp Lejeune. Stormwater runoff can contain particles, chemicals, and other pollutants that go into the water supply.
5. Poor Wastewater Treatment: Poor wastewater treatment can also be a source of water contamination. If wastewater is not treated properly, pollutants can enter the water supply.
The VA Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides disability compensation to veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated drinking water while stationed at Camp Lejeune. Eligible veterans and their families can receive benefits for certain illnesses and conditions caused by contaminants found in the water.
To be eligible for compensation, veterans must have served at Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River for at least 30 days (consecutive or nonconsecutive) between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 and not received a dishonorable discharge when they separated from the military.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes over 15 diseases and conditions associated with the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
The VA acknowledges those with 8 presumptive conditions of
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndrome
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
Under the Janey Ensminger Act, however, veterans and their loved ones can also receive healthcare benefits for 15 other diseases connected with the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. While these health conditions do not qualify for presumptive disability compensation, individuals can still pursue legal action for these diseases because of their link to the toxic water. These other diseases include:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/ and https://www.dolmanlaw.com/camp-lejeune-water-contamination-lawsuit/is-the-water-still-contaminated/
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which President Biden signed into law on August 10, 2022, allows veterans and their loved ones, and private contractors, who lived, resided, or stayed at the Camp Lejeune base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, to pursue monetary damages for symptoms related to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
The purpose of this law is to stop the government from bringing an immunity defense to the claims brought in accordance with this Act and stop the North Carolina Statute of Repose, which bars certain tort claims after a specific period. The suit must be filed within the 2-year period after August 10, 2022. https://www.dolmanlaw.com/camp-lejeune-water-contamination-lawsuit/is-the-water-still-contaminated/
Attorneys and legal nurse consultants including those at OnPoint LNC are handling the suits by those affected. We screen for cancers, autoimmune disease, behavioral effects, blood disorders, birth defects, and kidney problems.
Lawyers are helping people exposed to Camp Lejeune contaminants by filing lawsuits against the U.S. government and companies that supplied water to the base. The lawsuits are attempting to hold the U.S. government and companies accountable for the health issues suffered by those exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
The lawsuits seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages sustained by those exposed to the contaminated water. In addition, the lawyers are fighting for the rights of those exposed to the contaminants to receive the health care they need to treat the health issues they have developed due to the exposure.
OnPoint LNCs are evaluating medical records and other documents for
- The plaintiff’s type of illness alleged to be related to the contamination
- The degree of pain and suffering the plaintiff experienced
- Pre-existing conditions of the plaintiff
- The amount (in terms of time) of exposure to the contaminated water
- Medical expenses, lost wages, costs to hire replacements for services the plaintiff provided
Are you handling a case involving contaminated substances that injured plaintiffs?
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