It’s heartbreaking to learn about the injury to some of the bravest men and women in our country when they serve on the battlefield in faraway countries. But it’s equally as heartbreaking when the injuries they sustain are as a result of an unseen enemy on our own soil.
In the case of the more than 1 million veterans, reservists, guardsmen, or civil contractors who were on duty or worked at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for any 30-day period from August 1953 until 1987, they along with their family members may be entitled to compensation. Why? A variety of serious illnesses resulting from contaminated drinking water as a result of two polluted wells have injured these unsuspecting men and women in devastating ways.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the most egrecious wells were shut down in February 1985 – but not before significant damage had been done to thousands of our military men and women, and their families – including the unborn.
What Was In The Water?
Sometimes what you can’t see CAN hurt you. The chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune were often odorless, colorless, and undetectable to the naked eye. But they did their damage nonetheless.
Science has shown an association between exposure to these particular toxic contaminants found in the water at Camp LeJeune:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE) – a known carcinogen that can cause kidney failure, liver damage, skin irritation, and cancer. Underground storage tank leaks, industrial area spills, and water disposal sites are believed to have been the sources of the TCE contamination (source: Langdon and Emison)
- Perchloroethylene (PCE) – according to the EPA, this colorless, odorless chemical may cause birth defects and several types of cancer, including bladder, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, esophageal, kidney, cervical, and breast cancer. Its most common use pertains to dry cleaning. According to Langdon and Emison, the source of this contamination was found to be the waste disposal practices of an off-base dry cleaning company.
- Benzene – the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans, particularly leukemia and cancer of the blood-forming organs.
- Vinyl chloride – the EPA reports that this chemical, used in the manufacture of PVC and vinyl products, is a known carcinogen and can cause liver cancer, reproductive/developmental effects, lung and kidney irritation, and the inhibition of blood clotting, and cardiac arrhythmias.
According to TorHoerman Law, LLC, there may have been an additional 70 other hazardous chemicals affecting those military service members and their families.
Common Symptoms of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
You may have spent decades dealing with unexplained health issues without understanding the root cause. We found this online Camp Lejeune Toxic water exposure quiz that might help you determine if you are qualified for governmental reimbursement. Questions include whether or not you lived, worked, or served on the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina from August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987; and what medical diagnosis (or diagnoses) you have received. Note: We’re not necessarily endorsing this company, but the questions they ask may help you determine if you or a loved one is qualified to move forward with a claim for compensation.
Be advised that symptoms may develop over the course of many years following exposure. Because of this delay, physicians treating former Camp Lejeune soldiers, workers, and residents may not readily identify these toxins as the causal to the disease you are dealing with.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
After many decades, the federal government finally stepped up and enacted The Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This law enables veterans and family members who have suffered from Camp Lejeune water contamination to seek legal compensation. Individuals who believe they may qualify are eligible for free, no-obligation case reviews with an attorney. We are not necessarily endorsing this source, but it is one of many to consider: Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claim
What Conditions Are Covered?
These fifteen conditions are listed on the Veterans Administration website as being eligible for compensation:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects (such as ALS and Parkinson’s)
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
How to File A Claim
According to Consumer Safety Watch, there is a 2-year limit from the time the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 was signed, for you to sign up.
Seek help from an attorney or the VA, or find out how to file a claim online at this link.