Camp Lejeune Water Contamination – What Was It and Its After-Effects?

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    Camp Lejeune, the largest Marine Corps Base on the east coast, had a problem. From the 1950s to 1987, civilians and military personnel living or working at Camp Lejeune were exposed to drinking water contaminated with harmful chemicals. Those chemicals have been linked to several forms of cancer and other serious illnesses. 

    Moreover, if you’re the one who has been impacted by the tragedy, then a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination lawsuit may help speed up the process of compensation. Also, it will help you smoothly navigate the tiring government procedure.

    The families who were exposed to contaminated water suffered unbearable loss and suffering later in life. Therefore, they deserve better healthcare and cash compensation to live the rest of their lives in better conditions.  

    In this blog post, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about this case: what are the contaminants involved? How did they get into the drinking water? And what is being done to help those affected by this tragedy?  

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    How Did the Contamination Happen?

    The contamination started with a leaking fuel tank. The tank, which had been used to fuel a generator for 20 years and was located near the water supply, was not properly maintained and had not been inspected regularly.

    The leak began when two workers at Camp Lejeune decided to use their welding skills to patch up a hole in an underground storage tank. The workers did this by cutting out part of the side of the tank, removing all of its contents (fuel), then pouring in some new diesel fuel into what would otherwise have remained empty space inside.

    The problem with this approach? Diesel is much heavier than gasoline which means that if you mix it with gasoline and store it underground without taking measures like adding extra absorbent material (like sand), then any leaks will tend to flow downward rather than outward into nearby bodies of water—which could lead to serious contamination issues like those we see at Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Sites. 

    It Caused Fatal Diseases

    The water at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina, was contaminated with benzene and trichloroethylene (TCE) for many years. The chemicals eventually made their way into the drinking water supply for more than 500,000 people who lived or worked at the base.

    Since then, scientists have linked many diseases and medical conditions to long-term exposure to the chemicals in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Here are some of them:

    • Multiple myeloma
    • Infertility in females
    • Scleroderma
    • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
    • Lung cancer
    • Bladder cancer
    • Leukemia
    • Hepatic steatosis
    • Miscarriage
    • Neurobehavioral effects 

    Even though the government has since tried to compensate those who have been affected by the contamination, there is still much that needs to be done in order to provide full restitution for their pain and suffering.

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    How Many People Were Affected?

    Several thousand people have been affected by Camp Lejeune water contamination. There is no way to know exactly how many people were exposed to the tainted water at the base, but it’s estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 may have been exposed to harmful chemicals throughout their service there.

    The Marine Corps estimates that 750,000 gallons of contaminated water were released into the groundwater at Camp Lejeune every day for 30 years.  

    There are also some statistics on how many people have died because of Camp Lejeune water contamination:

    • At least 14 deaths from kidney cancer have been linked to drinking contaminated water at this Marine Corps base.
    • Five female veterans who served during the time period when their families lived on the base say they’ve suffered from breast cancer since returning home — one died from it in 2013; another was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and died last year; two more have been diagnosed with breast cancer since then; one more has high blood pressure which she believes resulted from her exposure to toxic chemicals while living at Camp Lejeune.

    What Is the VA Doing to Help?

    The Department of Veterans Affairs is ready to help veterans who have been affected by this tragedy in any way they can. The VA will assist veterans in obtaining the treatment they need and also help them receive compensation for their injuries. Additionally, it will provide other benefits like education assistance and home loan guaranty that may be necessary due to conditions stemming from this catastrophe.

    All Camp Lejeune veterans who were stationed there between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, are eligible for enrollment in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry (AHPBPR). The AHPBPR is an easy way for you to share your experiences with exposure to possible hazards while serving at Camp Lejeune or other locations where open-air burn pits were used during this time period. 

    If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with any of the illnesses associated with Camp Lejeune water contamination, please take a few moments to register for VA health care as soon as possible.

    What Is the Current Status?

    The good news is that Camp Lejeune’s drinking water is now safe to drink. The bad news is that it took over 30 years for the government to admit its negligence and fix the problem.

    The first step in solving the problem was to install filters in all of their wells, which they did in 1989. This solved one problem: It stopped them from being poisoned by TCE and PCE every time they drank from a well or showered at home. But it didn’t make everything perfect again—people were still getting sick because of long-term exposure, so there was still some damage done by the contamination period.

    Summing Up

    It’s important to remember that the health effects of Camp Lejeune have been devastating for many people. It’s easy to dismiss some of these illnesses as not being related to or caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune; however, we believe that there is sufficient evidence showing a connection between the contamination and many of the illnesses associated with it.

    The government has dedicated much time and resources to investigating the Camp Lejeune water contamination and helping those who were affected by it. The VA has taken steps to provide healthcare for these veterans, but many are still fighting for compensation and recognition of their illness.  


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