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Information About Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Between 1953 and 1987, Marines and their families at Camp Lejeune drank and bathed in water that was contaminated with toxic chemicals. These volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are dangerous and can cause serious health conditions, including infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects like cleft lip and cleft palate. Learn more information about Camp Lejeune water contamination.

If you or a loved one suffered these issues, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Contact our firm to learn more.

What Caused the Water Contamination?

Between the 1950s and 1980s, Marines at Camp Lejeune drank water that contained dangerous chemicals in high concentration levels. The drinking water at two of the base’s eight water treatment plants was contaminated with specific volatile organic compounds that are known to cause serious health issues.

The chemicals contaminating Camp Lejeune’s water included trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE) and vinyl chloride, which are all known to cause negative health outcomes like cancer, birth defects, neurological effects and neurobehavioral problems. These chemicals were found in the drinking water at the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment plants.

Military chemists found evidence of contamination in the water at both plants in October of 1980, but a lack of tighter environmental regulations meant the Marine Corps didn’t take action until 1982. Those who served at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 are at risk of suffering from serious health conditions related to the contamination, including several types of cancer and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

What Are the Health Risks?

Marines, their spouses and children drank, bathed and cooked with water contaminated by synthetic organic cleaning solvents. The chemicals found in the water system were trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). Several scientific studies have linked these solvents to different diseases.

The contaminated water also contained benzene. Benzene is a known carcinogen that can affect the bone marrow and cause leukemia. It can also lead to easy bruising and bleeding.

In addition, people who drank the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were twice as likely to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymph nodes. It can also cause fatigue, weight loss and fever. People exposed to the contaminated water may have a higher risk of liver cancer as well. That is because vinyl chloride, which forms when TCE and PCE break down, can damage the liver. The same is true for hepatitis C, which has been linked to the solvents. Research has also shown a link between the chemicals and bladder cancer.

How Do I Know if I Have a Case?

When you lived at Camp Lejeune, you may have consumed contaminated water for decades. Between 1953 and 1987, drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, vinyl chloride, and benzene. These chemicals were found in the supply wells at the Hadnot Point water treatment plant and in the residential areas.

The contaminated water system also supplied nonresidential areas on the base, such as schools, workplaces, and a hospital. The contaminated water was primarily used by enlisted families and single Marines in prime child-bearing age.

The contaminants in the contaminated water can cause a variety of health conditions, including kidney toxicity, early-onset dementia, and fertility problems. Other symptoms can include rashes, changes in urination, Raynaud’s phenomenon, and more. Many of these issues can be linked to exposure to TCE, the chemical cited in many Camp Lejeune lawsuits. TCE is a known groundwater contaminant that can cause damage to organs in the body and skin symptoms, such as hardened or thickened skin.

How Can I Get Help?

For 30 years, people stationed at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in Jacksonville, North Carolina, were exposed to toxic chemicals in their water supply. These harmful chemicals were sprayed into the groundwater from two of the base’s water-supply systems – one at Tarawa Terrace and the other at Hadnot Point. Approximately 1 million military men and women and their families used the contaminated water systems.

The contaminated water systems supplied drinking, cooking and bathing water to nonresidential areas of the base, including schools, workplaces, and recreational facilities. The chemicals found in the water were mostly organic solvents, such as tetrachloroethylene (PCE), which has many uses and is a suspected carcinogen, and trichloroethylene (TCE), another organic solvent with several industrial and household uses.

Under the PACT Act, veterans and their loved ones who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 are now eligible to file a claim for compensation. To determine if you qualify, contact us to speak with a qualified lawyer today.

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