After the discovery of contaminated water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, thousands of Marines and their families have spoken out about health issues that they have faced. With new legal action, troops, families, and workers at Camp Lejeune can now sue the government and get compensation for their illnesses and pain.
Our attorneys at John Foy & Associates discuss the most relevant health issues that people at the base camp are still reporting. Read on to learn about the different types of illnesses that can result from the contaminated water, how you and your family can get disability benefits, and how one of our lawyers can help.
What Contaminants Were in the Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune?
A Marine Corps investigation discovered harmful chemicals in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune in 1982. Now that an act has passed both Congress and the U.S. Senate, families can sue the government for their damages. The following chemicals the Marines found at the camp show clear evidence of causing various health issues.
Members of the Marine Corps discovered that this chemical was a result of poor waste disposal protocols from a dry cleaning company that was off base. This chemical is primarily used to make refrigerants and as a degreasing solvent for metal. Despite its intended uses, it can also be found in many household products, such as paint removers and cleaning wipes.
It is also used as a spot remover, which is why the dry cleaning company was using it. When people are exposed to it at high levels, like in the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, it most often causes kidney cancer, but exposure can also cause liver cancer and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This contaminant was the main chemical at the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant on the base of Camp Lejeune.
This chemical was also found at the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant. Benzene is a chemical that is used to make other chemicals to make plastics, resins, and synthetic fibers. When people come into contact with it, their bone marrow can deteriorate, resulting in weaker bones, and it can also cause blood disorders such as anemia.
Benzene was found in leaking underground storage tanks and at waste disposal facilities around the camp. Since then, the Marine Corps created an Underground Storage Tank (UST) Program dedicated to cleaning up storage tanks and reinforcing them with techniques such as double-walling them as well as using various forms of technology.
Vinyl chloride is a flammable gas that the breakdown of trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) creates. Vinyl chloride is often referred to as PVC, which is a common type of synthetic plastic. PVC is often found in packaging materials, car parts, and hospital supplies.
When people are exposed to vinyl chloride, they have an increased chance of developing liver cancer. Other health effects that can occur but are still being studied include brain cancer, lung cancer, soft tissue cancer, and liver cirrhosis.
If you know that you have been exposed to any of the chemicals above, you should contact your doctor to get treatment. A doctor can help diagnose your health issue, which may entitle you to compensation.
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Neurobehavioral Effects of Contaminated Water
The chemicals in the water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune are also known to have neurobehavioral effects on marines and other workers. There have been and continue to be various organizations and universities looking into the neurobehavioral effects of contaminated water.
Neurobehavioral effects can require a significant amount of treatment that lasts for several years or a lifetime. Some of the most common known neurobehavioral effects associated with contaminated water from Camp Lejeune include:
- Changes in mood or personality
- Involuntary muscle movements
- Learning disorders
- Memory problems
- Motor problems (balance, coordination, etc.)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Poor concentration
While this is an extensive list, we would like to emphasize that this is not a comprehensive list of all the neurological effects that the chemicals found in Camp Lejeune’s water supply caused. We recommend that you visit your primary care physician if you have any of the above symptoms.
Common Symptoms from Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
While there are many other types of cancers and illnesses that marines and their families have reported, the illnesses below showcase the most common symptoms that marines and other workers experienced.
Bladder Cancer Symptoms
Bladder cancer is common and is documented as one of the many types of illnesses that troops at Camp Lejeune suffered from. The symptoms of bladder cancer include:
- Blood or blood clots in urine
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Frequent urination
- Urge to urinate frequently throughout the night
- Urge to urinate but fail to do so
- Lower back pain on one side of the body
Kidney Cancer Symptoms
Another type of cancer that was present among marines and other workers at the camp was kidney cancer. Kidney cancer can be life-threatening and lead to an eventual total shutdown of the kidneys. The symptoms of kidney cancer include:
- Low back pain on one side
- A lump on the side or lower back
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Ongoing fever with no identifiable cause
Parkinson’s disease was another illness that was common among marines and their families at Camp Lejeune. The symptoms of this illness are more obvious than different types of illnesses. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:
- Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
- Muscle stiffness
- Slowness of movement
- Impaired balance and coordination
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, and speaking
- Urinary issues or constipation
- Skin issues
It’s important to remember that this is in no way an exhaustive list of all the symptoms that former marines and workers at Camp Lejeune experienced. Since this is an ongoing situation, we recommend that you look at credible government and scientific sources to learn more about the symptoms.
What Are the Requirements to Qualify for Benefits?
The Department of Veteran Affairs has announced troops and their families that drank the contaminated water can qualify for disability benefits if they developed a health condition linked to the toxic chemicals. To qualify for disability, there is a set of conditions that you need to meet.
The conditions you need to meet are being on active duty for at least 30 days from August 1953 through December 1987 and medical records that show you have one or more of the following illnesses:
- Adult Leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
If you have one or more of these illnesses, you may qualify for disability benefits and other forms of compensation. One of our attorneys can help you navigate getting disability benefits as well as filing a lawsuit against the government.
Conditions that the VA Will Cover Your Co-Pay for
The Department of Veteran Affairs also stated that they will cover the cost of you and your family’s co-pay for a select amount of conditions and illnesses. The Department of Veteran Affairs will cover your co-pay if you have any of the following conditions:
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Lung cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Hepatic steatosis
- Neurobehavioral effects
If you or a family member are suffering from any of the above conditions, you should talk to your doctor as well as your health insurance company. They can help you understand how to move forward and get the benefits you deserve.
A Further Look Into Cancer and Its Link to Camp Lejeune’s Contaminated Water
Cancer is an ongoing health issue that affects millions of people and families, despite there being effective treatment options like chemotherapy and transplants. Marines, their families and other workers at the camp have reported a diagnosis of a variety of cancers. Let’s take a look at the most common types of cancers associated with Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water.
Kidney Cancer at Camp Lejeune
After many investigations, evidence shows that kidney cancer is the most common health issue that the chemicals in the contaminated water have caused. Kidney cancer is a fairly common type of cancer and claims thousands of lives each year. It ranks as the 8th most common type of cancer in the United States.
Evidence shows that troops and their families reported a significantly higher amount of kidney cancer diagnoses than a control group that was used in the study. With the diagnosis of kidney cancer being so high, it’s clear that the chemicals that contaminated the water are to blame. The most common chemical that resulted in a kidney cancer diagnosis was TCE.
Due to the harmful effects of the various chemicals in Camp Lejeune’s water supply, there is evidence that it also increases the risk of having other illnesses in the kidneys. This includes chronic kidney diseases and total failure of kidneys.
Bladder Cancer at Camp Lejeune
Another type of cancer that has a high number of diagnoses among Camp Lejeune Marines and their families is bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is the 6th most common type of cancer in the United States, with 82,000 new cases of it each year. An assessment by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry stated that there was very strong evidence that the contaminants found in the water at the North Carolina Camp Lejeune increased the risk of bladder cancer.
In the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s study, researchers found that the rate of death among people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune was approximately 3 times more than the control group they used. This suggests that there is a strong correlation between the toxicity of the chemicals and this type of cancer.
Prostate Cancer At Camp Lejeune
A type of cancer that does not qualify for disability benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs but was present among the residents at Camp Lejeune. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, there is a high chance that people who drank the contaminated water had an increased chance of developing and dying from prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the third most common type of cancer that is diagnosed in the United States, with an average of 165,000 new cases each year. Just like the other parts of the study, the rate of prostate cancer was significantly higher than the rate that was present in the control group. The agency selected 10 participants for the study, and eight of them were classified as having a high exposure level to the contaminants.
Leukemia At Camp Lejeune
The last type of cancer that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry chose to research the effects of is Leukemia. The study found that there was an increased risk of Leukemia among the marines and other workers who drank the water at Camp Lejeune.
The study states that there was a clear correlation between the level of exposure to the harmful chemicals in the water and the occurrence of Leukemia among the residents at the camp. Out of the 12 participants that the agency chose, nine of them died from Leukemia. All forms of Leukemia are the 10th most common type of cancer, with an average of 60,000 new cases per year.
Contact a Lawyer at John Foy & Associates for Your Camp Lejeune Case
When you or a family member of yours is diagnosed with cancer or any type of illness, we understand that it can be overwhelming. Even though the contaminants in the water were discovered a long time ago, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a way to get justice. You and your family expected to be safe under the government’s promises, but you weren’t.
That’s why our lawyers at John Foy & Associates are here to help. We can help you understand the benefits that you qualify for and file a lawsuit against the government.
However, we must emphasize that guidelines regarding the Camp Lejeune water contamination situation are still developing. But we’re here to help, to get a free consultation, give us a call or fill out the contact form on our website.