Can Contaminated Water from Camp Lejeune Cause Multiple Myeloma?

Water supplied by and to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was found to be contaminated with several hazardous chemicals: trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride. (1) 

Exposure to these chemicals is linked to a variety of serious adverse health effects, including MM. In particular, evidence for exposure to TCE and benzene is considered to have a “causal relationship” with the disease. (2)

One study looking at the relationship between MM and occupational exposure to six chlorinated solvents found, “Increasing duration and cumulative exposure to TCE were associated with significantly increasing risk of MM…Increasing cumulative exposure to PCE was also associated with increasing MM risk.” (3) 

PACT Act Lets You File Claim Over Toxic Chemicals 

The U.S. federal government passed new legislation, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (part of the Honoring our PACT Act), to help people exposed to the water on the base seek compensation for their injuries. (4)

This legislation helps people who served in the military or worked on base, and their families — between August 1953 and December 1987 — and suffered from illness due to their toxic water exposure. The PACT Act makes it possible for you to file suit against the U.S. federal government in order to gain compensation for your pain and suffering. (5)

The government has identified multiple myeloma as one of the injuries where sufficient evidence exists to support a causal connection to the chemicals present at Camp Lejeune.

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

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How Did These Chemicals Get into the Water at Camp Lejeune? 

These chemicals are chlorine solvents. They are used in industry to clean the metal parts of machines, as degreasers. The chemicals are also found in paint thinners, lacquers, and pesticides. (6)

These toxic chemicals were introduced into the water supplying the military base from a local dry cleaning business, fuel storage tanks, chemical waste sites, and military and industrial production areas. (7) 

Victims of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were exposed to the toxic chemicals repeatedly, and over a significant period of time. They cooked with the contaminated water, drank it, bathed in it, and washed clothes in it. Years later, many developed serious adverse health effects, like MM.

What Is Multiple Myeloma?

“Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells,” according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). (8)

Plasma cells are found in your bone marrow (the soft tissue inside your bones). . Plasma is made up of several types of cells, including white blood cells, that make up part of your immune system to fight diseases and infections. (9)

One of the primary kinds of white blood cells found in plasma are B cells. “When B cells respond to an infection, they mature and change into plasma cells. Plasma cells make the antibodies (also called immunoglobulins) that help the body attack and kill germs,” explains the ACS. The organization continues, “when plasma cells become cancerous and grow out of control, this is called multiple myeloma.” (10)

How can you tell if you have this disease? MM sufferers may or may not experience symptoms. However, here are some of the signs and symptoms associated with multiple myeloma: (11)

  • Bone problems, such as fractures from minor injuries, weakness, or pain —especially in the back, hips, and skull.
  • Low blood counts.
  • High calcium levels.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Infections.
  • Nervous system issues such as pain, numbness, weakness, and nerve damage.
  • Hyperviscosity or thickened blood leading to dizziness, confusion, and stroke symptoms.
  • Signs of light chain amyloidosis — a “protein misfolding and metabolism disorder in which insoluble fibrils are deposited in various tissues, causing organ dysfunction and eventually death,” according to researchers. (12)

What To Do If You Are Suffering from Multiple Myeloma

The first thing you should do if you have MM is to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. It is important to do this, so you can get any medical treatment that might be necessary. Your health needs to be addressed before you proceed with considering any legal action.

This medical information also can help support any legal claims you make regarding your exposure to toxic chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune.

Your next step should be to contact an attorney to evaluate your case. Your attorney advises you of your legal options.

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

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Legal Options for Victims of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Filing a lawsuit is one way to seek justice and compensation for the harm you and your family have suffered. 

The new PACT Act allows people affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune — who have suffered from severe illnesses — to pursue legal claims against the U.S. government for medical expenses and compensation. 

If you want the best chances of winning your lawsuit, you need an attorney who is experienced in handling your type of legal case. This includes attorneys who are experienced in large scale litigation and have won water contamination cases for people who were made sick by toxic chemicals.

Many law firms don’t have attorneys with this experience — and the necessary legal and financial resources — to sue the U.S. government. W&L attorneys do. And their experience can help you have a successful case.

How W&L Can Help

W&L has a long history of representing the interests of veterans and their families, as well as communities affected by environmental pollution. We proudly fight for those who cannot defend themselves against unconscionable misconduct and negligence. 

W&L is a nationally recognized leader in this area of law. Our teams of attorneys are experienced in handling complex environmental and personal injury cases.

W&L’s winning record demonstrates our commitment to our clients. We are determined to get you the justice you deserve.

These are just some of our notable cases:

  • W&L was co-lead counsel in the Roundup weed killer multidistrict litigation, resulting in a multi-billion dollar settlement with Monsanto for people suffering from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. 
  • W&L negotiated a $65 million settlement for Hoosick Falls, New York, residents in their PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) water contamination case.
  • W&L secured a $423 million landmark settlement against major oil companies for 153 public water systems, due to water contamination from the gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether).