Over the course of 30+ years, Camp Lejeune military personnel and their families drank and bathed in water contaminated with pollutants at concentrations from 240 to 3400 times the levels allowed by safety standards. If you believe you or your family were affected, rea more.
This blog entry presents important information about health issues and symptomology related to Camp Lejeune water contamination. FAQs include:
How likely is it that you will become ill from Camp Lejeune drinking water?
How bad was the water contamination at Camp Lejeune?
What kinds of pollutants were found in Camp Lejeune drinking water?
Does contaminated Camp Lejeune drinking water cause cancer?
What cancers are associated with contaminated Camp Lejeune drinking water?
Does Camp Lejeune contaminated drinking water cause leukemia?
What noncancerous conditions are associated with Camp Lejeune drinking water?
Can you be medically tested to see if Camp Lejeune drinking water has made you ill?
How can you obtain your military medical records?
What is the present status of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022?
What happens after the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is signed by the President?
Should you seek damages when the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is passed?
Why should you hire a Camp Lejeune attorney?
What does it cost to hire a Camp Lejeune attorney?
1. How likely is it that you will become ill from Camp Lejeune drinking water?
The odds of your becoming ill from exposure to contaminated Camp Lejeune drinking water are related to a number of factors, and some people do not become sick at all. These factors include:
To which chemicals you were exposed
During what years you suffered such exposure, as pollutant levels varied over time
Your age at the time of exposure (e.g. fetus, a child, or adult)
Your degree of exposure
Your lifetime exposures to other environmental or occupational hazards
Your lifestyle issues (e.g. tobacco, alcohol, sedentariness, obesity)
Another complication can be the drugs you have taken over the years that are associated with cancer (see source). These include:
Fluoxetine and Paroxetine. These are synthetic compounds that inhibit your brain’s serotonin uptake and are used to treat depression.
Proton Pump Inhibitors. These have exceeded H2 blockers as the most commonly prescribed meds to reduce stomach acid
2. How bad was the water contamination at Camp Lejeune?
The pollution at Camp Lejeune is considered one of the worst cases of drinking-water contamination in American history. Approximately 900,000 military personnel and their on‑base families were exposed to contaminated water—at levels 240 to 3,400 times higher than applicable safety standards—according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
3. What kinds of pollutants were found in Camp Lejeune drinking water?
More than 70 pollutants were found in Camp Lejeune drinking water. Likely sources are on-base use of chemicals to clean military gear, solvents from a dry-cleaning company that was nearby and seeping underground fuel storage tanks.
The primary pollutants were volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Along with being alleged human carcinogens, VOCs are known to cause eye, nose, and/or throat irritation; headaches; loss of coordination; and nausea. Prolonged exposure can damage the liver, kidneys, and CNS.
Examples are perchloroethylene (PCE), used for dry cleaning, and trichloroethylene (TCE), an industrial degreaser. (See source).
Other contaminants found in the tainted wells were:
Benzene, which is found in crude oil and a major constituent of gasoline. It is used to make plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, rubber lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.
Vinyl chloride, which is used primarily to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a variety of plastic employed to make pipes, wire coatings, and packaging materials.
4. Does contaminated Camp Lejeune drinking water cause cancer?
The extent of danger related to the pollutants in Camp Lejeune drinking water varies according to how old you were at the time of your exposure, along with the kind of exposure and its duration. Young children, pregnant women, and anyone who drank Camp Lejeune water suffer the greatest risk of illness (see source).
Although the scientific literature is not definitive about the health damages caused by the contaminants in Camp Lejeune drinking water, people exposed to those chemicals are associated with several cancers and other chronic conditions.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has been conducting studies to ascertain if there are increased mortality risks from cancers and other chronic conditions relative to Camp Lejeune drinking water. These have not produced definitive evidence to date, but are adding to the body of knowledge regarding causality.
5. What cancers are associated with contaminated Camp Lejeune drinking water?
Some cancers associated with Camp Lejeune polluted drinking water include:
Multiple myeloma, which is a sickness wherein cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy blood cells. Symptoms include constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, mental fogginess or confusion, fatigue, frequent infections, weight loss, and/or bone pain in the spine or chest.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system, causing white blood cells to grow abnormally and create tumors throughout the body. Symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin; chest pain, coughing, or trouble breathing; abdominal pain or swelling; persistent fatigue; fever; night sweats, and/or unexplained weight loss.
Kidney cancer, which is a type of cancer that destroys renal function. Symptoms include blood in your urine (hematuria), fever, lower back pain on one side (unattributable to injury), a lump on the side or lower back, fatigue and tiredness, loss of appetite, and/or unexplained weight loss.
Liver cancer is a type of cancer that destroys hepatic function. Symptoms include loss of appetite, general weakness and fatigue, upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, abdominal swelling, yellow discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice), and chalky-looking stools.
Breast cancer, which is a disease in which breast cells grow out of control. Symptoms include a lump in the breast or underarm (armpit), thickening or swelling of part of the breast, irritation or dimpling of breast skin, redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast, pulling in of the nipple, and/or pain in the nipple area.
Bladder cancer, which begins when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow out of control. Symptoms include lower back pain on one side of the body; blood or blood clots in the urine; pain or burning sensation during urination; frequent urination; feeling the need to urinate many times throughout the night; feeling the need to urinate, but not being able to do so.
6. Does Camp Lejeune contaminated drinking water cause leukemia?
There are two leukemias associated with Camp Lejeune polluted drinking water.
Adult leukemia is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes a large number of abnormal blood cells, while aplastic anemia is one in which the body stops producing enough new blood cells as a result of bone marrow damage
Symptoms of both these leukemias include shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, tiredness, unusually pale skin, frequent infections, easy bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and/or any bleeding that is unusually long.
7. What noncancerous conditions are associated with Camp Lejeune drinking water?
Some noncancerous conditions associated with Camp Lejeune tainted drinking water are:
Parkinson’s disease, which is a progressive disorder of the nervous system marked by tremors; muscular rigidity; and slow, imprecise movements. One of the main symptoms is masked face, which is an expressionless appearance. Other symptoms are finger, thumb, hand, or chin tremors; smaller handwriting; insomnia; loss of smell; dizziness; fainting; constipation; and/or difficulty moving or walking.
Nephrotoxicity, which occurs when your body is exposed to drugs or toxins that cause damage to your kidneys. It is also known as renal toxicity. Symptoms include decreased urine output; weakness; fluid retention that causes swelling of the legs, ankles or feet; shortness of breath; fatigue; confusion; nausea; and/or irregular heartbeat
Female infertility, which is defined as seeking to get pregnant with frequent, unprotected sex for at least 12 months without success. Symptoms include menstrual cycles that are either too long (35 days or more), too short (less than 21 days), irregular, or absent altogether. There might not be other signs or symptoms.
8. Can you be medically tested to see if Camp Lejeune drinking water has made you ill?
Unfortunately, there are no specific tests medically recommended to measure the amount or the effect of exposure to the Camp Lejeune drinking water pollutants. Organic compounds leave your body within a week after the last exposure, and at Camp Lejeune that was many years ago. Instead, you can only monitor your health with regular medical checkups and close consultation with your physician.
9. How can you obtain your military medical records?
You can obtain your military medical records by contacting the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). It is the repository for personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased personnel of all services (see source).
To the extent allowed by law, the NPRC will send you information from your records upon written request. Along with a dated signature, your request needs to contain sufficient information to locate the record. This should minimally include:
Your complete name as it appears on your service records
Your service number or social security number
Your branch of service
Your dates of service
Your date and place of birth will also expedite matters, especially if your service number is lost.
(If your request refers to a record that might have been involved in the 1973 Records Center fire, also include your place of discharge, your last unit of assignment, and your place of entry into the service.)
Send your written request to:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
For more information, see the NPRC website.
10. What is the present status of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022?
11. What happens after the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is signed by the President?
When the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 becomes law, if you and/or your family members were likely sickened by the camp’s drinking water, you will be able to file a claim for damages in the Eastern District of North Carolina against the US government.
Requirements to file a claim will minimally include:
Documentable exposure to Camp Lejeune drinking water for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
Expert medical testimony to explain to the court the connection between your illness and exposure to the contaminated water
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 will also allow you to seek compensation for the loss of a military loved one who died of a disease associated with Lejeune contaminated water. You will also be able to file suit even if your military loved one did not die as a direct result of such exposure but instead suffered lifelong harmful effects due to it.
12. Should you seek damages when the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is passed?
This is an intensely private question. But many Americans would make the case that you should do so not only for yourself, but also for past, present, and future military personnel and families, holding the corps accountable for what was gross—if not criminal—negligence.
13. Why should you hire a Camp Lejeune attorney?
When it becomes law, there will be significant litigation over who qualifies for tort compensation under the provisions of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, as well as about the extent of damages to which they are entitled.
Be mindful that tort law is adversarial by design, and the government officials from whom you will be seeking damages will be motivated to limit claims and the extent of compensation for each.
You should not try to go it alone. An experienced tort attorney can help you understand your rights and win fair and complete compensation for your suffering attributable to Camp Lejeune drinking water.
14. What does it cost to hire a Camp Lejeune attorney?
Galindo Law does not charge any upfront or out-of-pocket fees. We are only paid a percentage of the settlement we are able to secure. So, working with Galindo Law incurs zero financial risk for military personnel and families who have been affected by Camp Lejeune contaminated water.
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