What Symptoms and Diseases Are Associated With Camp Lejeune Contaminated Drinking Water?

Updated: Oct 20




This blog entry discusses the symptoms and diseases associated with drinking and bathing in Camp Lejeune contaminated water.


For more than 30 years, between 1953 and 1985, Camp Lejeune military personnel, their families, and civilian workers drank and bathed in water contaminated with toxins at concentrations from 240 to 3400 times above the accepted safety standards.


This blog entry presents information about Camp Lejeune health issues associated with that exposure and their respective symptoms. Q&As include:


  1. What were the pollutants in Camp Lejeune drinking water?

  2. What health issues have been linked to Camp Lejeune contaminated water?

  3. What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?

  4. What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?

  5. What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?

  6. What are the symptoms of liver cancer?

  7. What are the symptoms of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma?

  8. What are the symptoms of adult leukemia?

  9. What are the symptoms of aplastic anemia?

  10. What are the symptoms of multiple myeloma?

  11. What are the symptoms of renal toxicity?

  12. What are the symptoms of scleroderma?

  13. What are the symptoms of hepatic steatosis?

  14. What are the symptoms of infertility in women?

  15. What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

  16. What are the neurobehavioral symptoms of drinking Camp Lejeune polluted water?

  17. What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

  18. What are “presumptive conditions” according to the Veterans Administration?

  19. What is the status of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

  20. What does it cost to hire a Camp Lejeune attorney?


1. What were the pollutants in Camp Lejeune drinking water?


The major pollutants in Camp Lejeune water were volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Examples of these are perchloroethylene (PCE), used for dry cleaning, and trichloroethylene (TCE), an industrial degreaser (See source).


VOCs are implicated in human cancer. Symptoms of VOC exposure include:


  • Headaches

  • Loss of coordination

  • Nausea

  • Liver and kidney failure

  • CNS damage

Other contaminants found in the tainted Camp Lejeune wells were:


  • Benzene. This chemical is a component of crude oil and the main constituent in gasoline. It is also used in making detergents, drugs, dyes, lubricants, pesticides, plastics, resins, rubber, and synthetic fibers.

  • Symptoms of benzene exposure include vomiting, dizziness, convulsions, abdominal pain, stomach irritation, and death.

  • Vinyl chloride. This chemical is used primarily to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a kind of plastic for producing packaging materials, pipes, and wire coatings. The primary target of vinyl chloride acute exposure is the CNS.

  • As well as irritating the eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory tract, symptoms of drinking vinyl chloride include dizziness, ataxia, inebriation, fatigue, numbness and tingling of the extremities, visual disturbances, coma, and death.


2. What health issues have been linked to Camp Lejeune contaminated water?


Health issues linked to Camp Lejeune contaminated water include but are not necessarily limited to:


  • Bladder cancer

  • Breast cancer

  • Cervical Cancer

  • Esophageal cancer

  • Liver cancer

  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

  • Adult leukemia

  • Aplastic anemia

  • Multiple myeloma

  • Renal toxicity

  • Scleroderma

  • Hepatic steatosis

  • Infertility in women

  • Lung cancer

  • Neurobehavioral effects

  • Parkinson’s Disease


3. What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?


This type of cancer most often occurs in the inner lining of one’s bladder and is caused by abnormal cellular growth. Blood in the urine (hematuria) is usually the first sign of this cancer and indicates that there is possibly a tumor inside the bladder that is bleeding. Such bloody urine might occur regularly or intermittently and be colored bright red, orange, or pink. Blood particles might be microscopic and detected only by urinalysis ordered by a physician (see source).


4. What are the symptoms of breast cancer?


Different people will have different symptoms of breast cancer, and some do not have any symptoms at all. Warning signs include (see source):


  • Change in breast size or shape

  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin

  • Lump in the breast or underarm

  • Nipple discharge, especially blood

  • Pain in the nipple or any area of the breast

  • Pulling in of the nipple

  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area

  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast


5. What are the symptoms of cervical cancer?


This cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Cervical cancer in its earliest stages generally has no signs or symptoms. Signs of more-advanced cervical cancer include (see source):


  • Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods, or after menopause

  • Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor

  • Pelvic pain

  • Pain during intercourse


6. What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?


This cancer occurs in the esophagus, which is the long hollow tube running from the throat to the stomach, that moves swallowed food from the back of the throat to the stomach for digestion. Esophageal cancer in its earliest stages typically has no signs or symptoms. Later stages are characterized by (see source):


  • Chest pain, pressure, or burning

  • Coughing or hoarseness

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

  • Weight loss without trying

  • Worsening indigestion or heartburn


7. What are the symptoms of liver cancer?


This cancer begins in the cells of one’s liver, which is the football-sized organ in the upper right portion of the abdomen, beneath the diaphragm, and above the stomach. Most people do not have signs and symptoms of liver cancer in its early stages. When they do appear, such signs and symptoms might include (see source).


  • Weight loss without trying

  • Loss of appetite

  • Upper abdominal pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • General weakness and fatigue

  • Abdominal swelling

  • Jaundice

  • White, chalky stools


8. What are the symptoms of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma?


Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer that begins in the lymph system: the body's germ-fighting immune system. In this disease, white blood cells (lymphocytes) grow abnormally and can form tumors throughout the body. Signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can include (see source):


  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin

  • Abdominal pain or swelling

  • Chest pain, coughing, or trouble breathing

  • Persistent fatigue

  • Fever

  • Night sweats

  • Weight loss without trying


9. What are the symptoms of adult leukemia?


This is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow in which the latter makes a large number of abnormal blood cells. Adult leukemia worsens quickly if not treated. Common signs and symptoms include (see source):


  • Bone pain or tenderness

  • Easy bleeding or bruising

  • Excessive sweating, especially at night

  • Fever or chills

  • Frequent or severe infections

  • Losing weight without trying

  • Persistent fatigue, weakness

  • Recurrent nosebleeds

  • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen

  • Tiny red skin spots (petechiae)


10. What are the symptoms of aplastic anemia?


Aplastic anemia occurs when a person’s body stops producing enough new blood cells, leaving one fatigued and more prone to infections and uncontrolled bleeding. Symptoms include (see source):


  • Unexplained or easy bruising

  • Skin rash

  • Shortness of breath

  • Rapid or irregular heart rate

  • Prolonged bleeding from cuts

  • Pale skin

  • Nosebleeds and bleeding gums

  • Headache

  • Frequent or prolonged infections

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness


11. What are the symptoms of multiple myeloma?


Multiple myeloma is cancer that forms in a person’s white blood cells—specifically in those called plasma cells, which help one fight infections by generating antibodies to recognize and attack germs. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate and displace healthy ones. There might not be symptoms early in the disease. Eventual symptoms include (see source):


  • Bone pain, especially in the spine or chest

  • Constipation

  • Excessive thirst

  • Fatigue

  • Frequent infections

  • Loss of appetite

  • Mental fogginess or confusionNausea

  • Weakness or numbness in the legs

  • Weight loss


12. What are the symptoms of renal toxicity?


Renal toxicity (aka, kidney failure) is a condition wherein one or both kidneys can no longer function on their own. Treatments include dialysis and kidney transplant. Symptoms include (see source):


  • Confusion or trouble concentrating

  • Dry or itchy skin

  • Fatigue

  • Frequent bathroom trips

  • Metallic taste of food

  • Muscle spasms and cramps

  • Poor appetite

  • Swelling, especially around the hands or ankles

  • Upset stomach or vomiting


13. What are the symptoms of scleroderma?


Scleroderma is a disease of a person’s autoimmune connective tissue. It causes inflammation of the skin and other areas of the body. In scleroderma, the immune response causes tissues to act as if they were injured, causing the body to produce too much collagen, which is a protein responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity. Symptoms of scleroderma include (see source):


  • Patches of skin thickened into firm oval-shapes, which might have a yellow, waxy appearance surrounded by a bruise-like edge

  • Fatigue (only in some cases)

  • Lines of thickened or different-colored skin running down the arm, leg, and (rarely) the forehead


14. What are the symptoms of hepatic steatosis?


This condition is diagnosed when you have extra fat in your liver. It usually has no signs and symptoms except (possibly) fatigue and/or pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen. Some people with hepatic steatosis can develop nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which is an aggressive form of fatty liver disease marked by liver inflammation and scarring (cirrhosis). Symptoms include (see source):


  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)

  • Enlarged blood vessels just beneath the skin surface

  • Enlarged spleen

  • Red palms

  • Jaundice


15. What are the symptoms of infertility in women?


The inability to get pregnant can mean that a woman is not ovulating. Symptoms are a menstrual cycle that is 35 days or more (too long), less than 21 days (too short), irregular, or absent. There might be no other signs or symptoms (see source).


16. What are the symptoms of lung cancer?


Lung cancer usually offers no signs or symptoms in its early stages. As the condition progresses, symptoms might include (see source):

  • Aches or pain when breathing or coughing

  • Chest infections that keep coming back

  • Cough that doesn’t go away after 2 or 3 weeks

  • Coughing up blood

  • Long-standing cough that gets worse

  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy

  • Persistent breathlessness


Less common symptoms include:



17. What are the neurobehavioral symptoms of drinking Camp Lejeune polluted water?


The term “neurobehavioral effects” refers to the way changes to one’s brain and spinal cord might affect emotion, behavior, and learning. Symptoms include:


  • Weakness

  • Tremors or involuntary movements

  • Tension

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Poor motor skills

  • Memory issues

  • Learning disorders

  • Lack of coordination

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia

  • Depression

  • Dementia

  • Confusion

  • Attention difficulties or trouble concentrating

  • Anxiety

  • Aggression


18. What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?


Parkinson's Disease is a progressive disorder affecting the nervous system. Symptoms appear slowly. In the early stages, one’s face might show little or no expression. Arms might not swing when one walks. Speech might become soft or slurred. Symptoms worsen as the condition progresses over time (see source).


Scientists estimate that less than ten percent of Parkinson’s Disease cases are primarily due to genetic causes. Instead, environmental factors (such as exposure to toxins) increase the risk of contracting it (see source).


Four primary motor symptoms define Parkinson’s Disease (see source):


  1. Tremors. Slow rhythmic tremors are a classic characteristic of Parkinson’s disease and typically occur at rest. They usually start in one hand, foot, or leg and eventually affect both sides of one’s body. These “resting tremors” can also occur in the jaw, chin, mouth, or tongue.

  2. Rigidity. This is a tightness or stiffness of the limbs or torso that is often misattributed to arthritis or orthopedic problems, especially in the earlier stages of Parkinson’s disease.

  3. Bradykinesia. This is the Greek term for slow movement, which is a frequent symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Bradykinesia also includes a reduced or mask-like expression of the face, decreased rate of eye-blinking, and problems with fine motor coordination. Other manifestations might be vocal problems, gait changes, and/or difficulty walking.

  4. Postural Instability. This is more pronounced in the later stages of Parkinson’s Disease. It includes the inability to maintain a steady, upright posture, or to prevent a fall. E.g., a slight push can cause one to continue stepping backward or fall.


19. What are “presumptive conditions” according to the Veterans Administration?


Certain illnesses are called “presumptive conditions” because if someone contracts one of them and he or she belongs to a certain group (e.g. servicepersons stationed at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days), then the Veterans Administration automatically presumes that the person contracted the disease during military service. These conditions are:


  • Adult leukemia

  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes

  • Bladder cancer

  • Kidney cancer

  • Liver cancer

  • Multiple myeloma

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

  • Parkinson’s disease


20. What is the status of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?


President Biden signed legislation in August 2022 that includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. It empowers veterans, their on-base families, and civilians working at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1985 inclusive to file civil lawsuits against the government for injuries caused by the camp’s polluted water.


21. 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 water contamination.



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