Currently, Camp Lejeune water is safe to drink. However, this was not always the case. For decades, the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated by a variety of industrial chemicals. These pollutants later led to the development of a variety of health issues in many of the people who lived there.
A Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer can help if you or your family member suffered injuries due to toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune.
Waer Contamination in Camp Lejeune
From 1953 to 1987, the water of Camp Lejeune contained a number of chemicals. Multiple water sources used by the base were affected. Pollutants in the water included:
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Vinyl chloride
PCE was the dominant contaminant in one water source after an off-base dry cleaner did not safely dispose of its perchloroethylene. As a result, it found its way into the water and wells serving the Tarawa Terrace system. This contamination may have begun in 1953, and it continued for years.
Authorities found other chemicals in water coming from the Hadnot Point water treatment plant. Multiple sources of contamination began to find their way into the water in the 1980s.
Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune Was Unsafe for a Time
This rendered the drinking water at Camp Lejeune unsafe to drink at the time, but that was not known. Additionally, being exposed to the water, in general, could also be dangerous. When people used water to shower, cook, or clean, they may have still suffered exposure to these toxic materials.
Cleaning Up the Water at Camp Lejeune
Now, Camp Lejeune’s drinking water is safe, but it took a while for conditions to improve. Once authorities noticed the contamination, they began to source water from other locations and test it more thoroughly.
There have been multiple assessments of the water supply at Camp Lejeune since then. One report from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) indicates that the water is now safe to drink and that it has been safe since efforts to address the problem began back in March 1987. Reports from the General Accountability Office (GAO) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) back up this assertion.
Officials now check the drinking water at Camp Lejeune for volatile organic compounds on a quarterly basis, analyzing it more frequently than federal law requires. Unfortunately, this diligence and effort to clean up the water supply at Camp Lejeune came too late for some of those exposed to PCE, TCE, and other chemicals.
Links Between Camp Lejeune Water and Health Issues
Victims exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune developed health issues in later years. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes the following diseases and medical conditions as results of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune:
- Adult leukemia
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Renal toxicity
Some of these diseases have resulted in big medical bills and continued health problems for those exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune. If you were one of those people exposed to the water before it was safe to drink, you may be able to trace your health issues back to the polluted water on the base. If they are connected, you may have options for compensation.
Benefits for Residents of Camp Lejeune
Now people who were exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune can apply for benefits through VA, which helps cover the healthcare costs for veterans, reservists, and guardsmen who can show that they were stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days from August 1953 through December 1987. They also need to show that they were not dishonorably discharged and that they are suffering from one of the above ailments.
Family members who lived on Camp Lejeune can also apply for benefits if they have developed health problems since they were exposed to the base’s water supply. They need to show that:
- They were a resident for at least 30 days from August 1953 through December 1987
- A document proving a relationship to a vet who served on active duty for at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune
- Medical records showing that they have been diagnosed with one of the above health issues
Once the paperwork is in order, someone can receive compensation that can help them pay for current healthcare costs and their previous medical expenses stemming from exposure to Camp Lejeune’s water.
We Can Handle You Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Case
We are glad that the water at Camp Lejeune is safe to drink now, but that was not always so.
If you believe that exposure to the base’s water supply between 1953 and 1987 caused you health issues, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC. We can tell you more about applying for benefits and pursuing the compensation that you deserve. Our environmental justice lawyers can handle your case while you focus on your health.