What Toxic Chemicals Were Found in the Water at Camp Lejeune?

Contaminants found in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune include trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride. (1) 

Research indicates a link between esophageal cancer and exposure to both TCE and PCE. (2) Benzene and vinyl chloride have also been associated with esophageal cancer. (3)

Overview of Esophageal Cancer

“Esophageal cancer is cancer that occurs in the esophagus — a long, hollow tube that runs from your throat to your stomach,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Esophageal cancer usually begins in the cells that line the inside of the esophagus.” (4)

Two common forms of esophageal cancer are squamous cell (also called epidermoid carcinoma) and adenocarcinoma. 

Squamous cell carcinoma forms in the “the thin, flat cells lining the inside of the esophagus,” says the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It is usually located in the upper and middle parts of the esophagus. (5) 

Adenocarcinoma begins in the glandular cells of the esophagus “in the lower part of the esophagus, near the stomach.” (6)

Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer at Camp Lejeune

Some of the common symptoms of esophageal cancer at Camp Lejeune include: (7)

  • Chest pain, pressure, or burning.
  • Cough.
  • Heartburn.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Indigestion.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Weight loss without trying.

In the early stages, esophageal cancer may not present any symptoms. (8)

What Causes Esophageal Cancer?

Scientific evidence suggests environmental exposure to industrial chemicals increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer. This includes perchloroethylene, a chemical used in dry cleaning, (9) 

Seeking justice for Camp Lejeune-related esophageal cancer? Contact us now to explore your legal rights.

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Connection Between Camp Lejeune and Esophageal Cancer

The chemicals found in the water at Camp Lejeune were known cancer-causing agents (carcinogens), especially TCE. (10) (11) 

The contaminated water at Camp Lejeune was traced to a local dry-cleaning business. The dry cleaner improperly released these contaminants into the surrounding soil, air, and groundwater. (12) 

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) lists TCE as a carcinogen. (13) It is also a known fact that PCE breaks down into TCE and vinyl chloride. (14)

Review of Mortality studies of Camp Lejeune veterans and civilian victims by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) raise concerns regarding causes of death. Among those causes is esophageal cancer. (15) Three of the studies reviewed observed elevated risks of esophageal cancer. (16)

Legal Options Available to Camp Lejeune Esophageal Cancer Victims

The PACT Act is a law that allows victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination — including Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer victims — to file claims against the U.S. government. You could receive compensation for pain and suffering, as well as any related medical costs. (17)

You are eligible even if you are a veteran who was denied disability or benefits through the Veterans Administration. 

To qualify, you must have lived or worked on Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 total days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. The right to file extends to unborn babies who were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, in utero. (18)

You have a limited amount of time to take action against the government. This is why it is so important for you to contact an attorney about your case as soon as possible. 

You need to provide your attorney with all the documentation you have about your case. For example, you want to provide a birth certificate, adoption papers, marriage license, military and housing records, mortgage papers, utility bills, and medical diagnosis and bills for related treatments. These documents can be used to support your claim. 

Your attorney evaluates your case, investigates, and advises you of your legal options. We can help you settle your claim against the government for as much compensation as possible.

If you or a loved one developed esophageal cancer after serving on Camp Lejeune, contact us today to understand your legal rights.

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How W&L Can Help

W&L has a proud and lengthy history of helping veterans, their families, and many others who have suffered harm because of the greed and negligence of others. We have pursued cases against corporate giants and government entities alike. 

W&L attorneys are ready to take on the U.S. government — on your behalf — in your Camp Lejeune esophageal cancer case. Contact us, so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Here are some ways we have helped others in similar contaminated water cases: