The Camp Lejeune water contamination saga has captured national attention in recent months. The Marine Corps is working to address the water contamination problem at Camp Lejeune. From 1953 to 1987, thousands of Marines and their families were unwittingly exposed to carcinogenic chemicals from the contaminated water. Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is investigating all veterans who may have been exposed to the contaminated Camp Lejeune drinking water and filing claims on their behalf. Several families have also filed independent lawsuits and are seeking compensation.
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The National Research did an assessment Council (NRC) on the water at Camp Lejeune after the water contamination came to light. It identified several contaminants in the water that could pose health risks to those who drank it. These included:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE),
- Tetrachloroethylene (PCE),
- Vinyl chloride
- Other Compounds
TCE is a solvent found in paint strippers and degreasers. Exposure to TCE can cause liver and kidney damage, increasing the risk of cancer. PCE is an industrial solvent that is found in paint removers. Exposure to PCE can cause kidney damage and an increased risk of cancer. Chloroform is also a solvent used to make drugs and other chemicals. Exposure to chloroform can cause liver damage and an increased risk of cancer. It’s worth noting that these are not the only toxins in the water at Camp Lejeune. If a veteran has been diagnosed with one of these diseases after being stationed at Camp Lejeune, the veteran may be able to receive disability benefits from the VA.
The contamination affected anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. People who lived in the base housing and the enlisted barracks on the base were exposed to contaminated water through tap water, showers, and sinks. Veterans who served at Camp Lejeune during this period also faced an increased risk of illness due to water contamination. Some VA disability claims are filed by veterans who served at Camp Lejeune during this period, and some claimants are not veterans.
The source of the water contamination is still unknown, but it was likely due to the disposal of toxic chemicals into the water. A dry-cleaning facility may have dumped chemical waste into a septic tank near the well, which leached into the groundwater supply and eventually reached Camp Lejeune. An investigation by the EPA has identified several sources that could have caused the contamination. These include dry cleaners, gas stations, industrial plants, and other sources. Many of these sites are still in operation today, so contamination may still exist.
All of the long-term effects of exposure to contaminated water are unclear. However, some veterans have suffered from health problems as a result of the exposure. Some of these include cancers of the skin, lungs, liver, and prostate gland. Kidney problems and problems with the central nervous system have also been reported. Family members have also been exposed and are at risk of developing health problems in the future. Reproductive problems are also a potential concern. Studies have shown that exposure to TCE and PCE during pregnancy can lead to miscarriages and stillbirths. There have been reports of birth defects in the children of women who served at Camp Lejeune during the period when the water was contaminated.
If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, you can submit a claim for health effects related to exposure to contaminated water by contacting the VA Regional Office in your area. You can submit a claim online using the Electronic Application Submission System (EASS) or by calling the Regional Office to request an application form by mail. You can also contact the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) by submitting a letter to your nearest VBA regional office, including a copy of the form VA Form
You can also hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with the claims process. These lawyers can help you apply for benefits and ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to under the law. Many pending camp Lejeune settlements are available right now that can help with medical bills and other expenses related to the illness.
Your lawyer can also help you get retroactive benefits for the years when you became ill as a result of the contamination. If you or your family members were exposed between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, you may be entitled to a settlement to help cover the cost of your medical care and treatment. Contact a lawyer to learn more about your options.