Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Causing Bladder Cancer
At Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, military personnel and civilians were exposed to toxic chemicals through the water supplied to the base. This water was concentrated in two out of the base’s eight water treatment systems, Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point. (2)
The water at Camp Lejeune was found to be contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC) and benzene. (3) Two of these toxic chemicals, TCE and PCE, are of particular concern and were the primary contaminants found in the water supplying the base. (4)
Exposure to carcinogens can put you at greater risk for bladder cancer. TCE is a known carcinogen. (5) PCE has been found to be a “likely” carcinogen. (6) PCE can break down into TCE and has been linked to bladder cancer. (7) (8)
Dangerous Levels of Toxic Chemicals
“PCE concentration was estimated to have exceeded the current EPA maximum contaminant level of 5 μg/L [micrograms per liter] in drinking water at the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant for 346 months during November 1957-February 1987,” reports the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) (9)
TCE maximum levels detected in drinking water at the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant were “1,400 μg/L in May 1982. The current limit for TCE in drinking water is 5 μg/L,” ATSDR also reports. (10)
If you or a loved one developed bladder cancer after being exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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How Do You Get Exposed to TCE and PCE?
One of the primary sources of contamination for these water systems has been traced to a local dry cleaning business. Industries, such as dry cleaners, use certain toxic chemicals — including TCE and PCE. These were used as solvents and degreasers in dry cleaning and in the cleaning of metal parts by the military. (11)
When these volatile organic chemicals get into the groundwater, they break down slowly and remain there for long periods of time. (12)
Contaminated water can be absorbed through your skin, through bathing and swimming. But it can also be ingested, by drinking, eating, or cooking with contaminated water. Exposure also happens from breathing water vapor containing TCE or PCE. (13) (14)
Risks for Bladder Cancer from TCE and PCE
Exposure can occur from working directly with these toxic chemicals. So workers — both civilian and military — can have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer. The risk varies, depending on your level and length of exposure. (15)
The American Cancer Society (ACS) projections are, “About 16,710 deaths from bladder cancer” in 2023. “Overall, the chance men will develop this cancer during their lifetime is about 1 in 28. For women, the chance is about 1 in 91. But each person’s chances of getting bladder cancer can be affected by certain risk factors.” (16)
Some of these causes of bladder cancer can be controlled. Controllable risk factors include: (17)
- Limiting workplace exposure.
- Preventing toxic chemicals in drinking water.
The contamination at Camp Lejeune was entirely preventable.
How to Prove You Had Significant Exposure to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune?
If you have suffered from bladder cancer after living or working on or near Camp Lejeune, a lawsuit can help you gain compensation for medical expenses. It may also get you compensation for your pain and suffering.
For your lawsuit to be successful, you need to provide proof of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune during the specified time period.
A successful claim depends on your attorney showing the court there is a connection between Camp Lejeune and your condition. It is best for you to supply as much evidence as possible to your attorney. Your attorney uses that evidence and helps you further explore your legal options.
If you were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and developed bladder cancer, contact us today to understand your legal rights.
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Providing Documentation for Your Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
You need to prove you had significant exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. To do this, you need to show you lived or worked on or near the base and were present in the contaminated areas for at least 30 days, in total, between August 1953 and December 1987.
Documentation to help verify your claims include:
- Mortgage payments.
- Rent payments and/or lease agreements.
- Utility bills.
- Base housing records.
- Military service records or orders.
- Employment records and/or contracts.
And, you also need to show you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer. Paperwork you can submit as evidence of bladder cancer includes:
- Medical records.
- Hospital bills.
- Statement of diagnosis from your physician.
- Receipts for doctors’ visits, medications, tests, and treatments.
If you were exposed because you were a family member of someone who lived or worked on the base, you need to supply proof of relationship.
Proof of relationship documentation can include:
- Birth certificates.
- Adoption papers.
- Marriage licenses.
Legal Options for Victims of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Have you been victimized by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune? If you have experienced bladder cancer, or other serious side effects, you can now file a lawsuit against the U.S. federal government. Your lawsuit can help you to gain compensation for your medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering.
A new law signed by President Biden — the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 — allows Camp Lejeune victims to file suit against the U.S. federal government. However, you only have a narrow window of time to file your claims, so you need to act quickly.
You want to obtain an attorney with experience in these types of large-scale environmental and toxic tort cases. An attorney with experience in personal injury lawsuits is the most likely to bring your case to the conclusion you deserve.
Weitz & Luxenberg is a leader in mass toxic tort litigation. Our attorneys have years of successful experience representing military veterans and their families.
W&L has already filed claims for people who were at Camp Lejeune and got cancer from the contaminated water. We believe this legislation can finally bring justice to veterans, their family members, as well as other victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
How W&L Can Help
W&L has successfully pursued several types of litigations at the national level against multimillion dollar corporations and government agencies. Here are some of our success stories:
- The Hoosick Falls, New York, community attained a $65 million settlement in their PFOA (perfluorooctanoic) water contamination litigation.
- More than 150 public water systems reached a $423 million settlement in our MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) litigation against some major U.S. oil companies.