Understanding the History of the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Water wells supplying the military base and surrounding areas of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina were found to be contaminated with toxic chemicals. The period of contaminant exposure was from August 1953 to January 1985. (1) 

Groundwater from these wells was contaminated through a combination of leaky underground storage tanks, local area industrial spills, and the waste disposal practices of a local dry-cleaning business. (2) 

Testing revealed the toxic chemicals consisted of volatile organic compounds (VOC). (3) “VOCs typically are industrial solvents…fuel oxygenates…or by-products produced by chlorination in water treatment,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA also notes that dry-cleaning agents frequently contain VOCs. (4) 

Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water was used for drinking, cooking, bathing, and doing laundry. Most victims were repeatedly exposed over long periods of time. Research indicates the amount and length of exposure to VOCs can increase risks for adverse health effects. (5) 

Camp Lejeune Brain Cancer and Toxic Chemicals 

A report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) notes the VOCs found in Camp Lejeune water included “trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, 1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE) and vinyl chloride.” (6) 

There were high concentration levels of these toxic chemicals in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. These levels far exceeded EPA maximum contaminant levels of 5 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water. (7) 

Growing Evidence of Chemicals and Cancer Link 

Evidence is mounting for increased risks for cancer in association with exposure to VOCs. A possible link between brain cancer and vinyl chloride (VC) exposure is becoming clearer. One study indicates possible increased mortality from brain tumors after occupational exposure to VC. (8) 

Another study notes the association of brain tumors with environmental pollutants, specifically TCE, PCE, and benzene. (9) And, as ATSDR points out, “TCE and PCE degrade in groundwater over time to VC.” (10) 

ATSDR goes on to say VC and benzene were found to be present in Camp Lejeune water systems. “Vinyl chloride and benzene were also detected in the Hadnot Point distribution system during sampling conducted on or after December 1984.” (11)

Researchers in the second study noted the danger posed by repeated exposure over time. This is the case for Camp Lejeune brain cancer victims. 

These researchers conclude, “These compounds, due to their chemical nature, alter the activity of biological molecules naturally found in the body. The bioaccumulation leads to harmful effects for humans, increasing the risk of the onset of several pathologies, including cancer.“ (12)

If you or a loved one are suffering due to the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination, contact us today to understand your legal rights

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Health Impact of Brain Cancer

Victims of brain cancer suffer both physical and mental side effects. Some of these include: (13) 

  • Seizures.
  • Communication difficulties.
  • Depression.
  • Fatigue.
  • Memory issues.
  • Personality changes.
  • Sight problems.
  • Cognitive challenges — making decisions, learning, planning, and concentrating. 

Treatment for brain cancer may mean you need to take time off work, or are unable to work at all. This can jeopardize you and your family’s financial security. 

Added to that are the mounting costs of medical treatments. This goes along with the psychological and emotional toll affecting you and your family’s quality of life.

Seeking Legal Assistance and Support for Camp Lejeune Brain Cancer Victims

A law called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 makes it possible for victims of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to file claims against the federal government.

The law even allows claims by individuals who were exposed to the contaminated water while in utero. 

Additionally, veterans — even with their claims for disability or benefits turned down by the Veterans Administration — can still file a lawsuit against the federal government. 

It is important to act quickly because there is a narrow window of time to file your lawsuit. So, reach out to a Weitz & Luxenberg attorney as soon as possible. 

Who Qualifies for A Camp Lejeune Brain Cancer Lawsuit 

To be eligible to file, you need to meet these criteria: (14)

  • Have lived or worked on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987.
  • Were exposed for a minimum total period of 30 days.
  • Received a diagnosis of Camp Lejeune brain cancer (or other health condition) associated with exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

If you or a loved one are suffering from brain cancer from exposure from the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination, we are here to fight for you

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Documentation Supports Your Claim 

When you reach out to your W&L attorney, it is very helpful to support your claim with as much documentation as possible. This documentation should include:

  • Written medical diagnosis.
  • Medical bills and receipts for treatments.
  • Birth certificate or adoption papers.
  • Marriage license and any divorce decree.
  • Military records — especially housing records or orders.
  • Rental agreements or mortgage papers.
  • Utility bills.

These legal cases are very complex, so it is advisable you have an experienced environmental and personal injury attorney. The attorneys at W&L have both.

Your attorney listens to your story, investigates your claim, and advises you of your best legal options. Your W&L attorney can then file your necessary paperwork.

How W&L Can Help

W&L has been helping veterans, their families, and civilians for almost 40 years. We are proud of our record. Our team can help Camp Lejeune brain cancer victims gain compensation for injuries you sustained — due to no fault of your own. 

Reach out to us, by phone at (833) 977-3437 or using our online form, so we can help you get the justice you deserve.

Here are a few of our wins in similar environmental water contamination cases: