In May 2023, Military Times reported on a study published in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), which revealed that veterans and their family members exposed to the polluted water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune are 70% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared to others.
These recent findings confirm the long-lasting consequences of the contaminated water at the base between the 1950s and 1980s. The findings may support ongoing civil lawsuits against the government, indicating that over a million individuals who lived at the base could be facing severe health conditions due to the tainted water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the contamination occurred when chemicals from a nearby dry-cleaning company entered the base’s water supply. The National Research Council also found that leaks from underground storage tanks and pollution from industrial sites contributed to the contamination. Shockingly, military officials only became aware of the toxic water quality in 1982, nearly 3 decades after the initial contamination occurred.
The Department of Veterans Affairs currently acknowledges Parkinson’s disease as one of the presumptive conditions associated with service at Camp Lejeune. If a veteran served at the base for at least 30 days and later developed the illness, it is presumed to be connected to their time at Camp Lejeune.
In this blog, we will explore the health hazards caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, identify the symptoms, and discuss how affected individuals can file legal complaints to seek the compensation they deserve.
The Story of Ann Johnson, A Camp Lejeune Victim
In December 2022, CNN news reported on Ann Johnson, who gave birth to Jacquetta, her daughter in 1984, at the Camp Lejeune Marine Base hospital in North Carolina. Sadly, Jacquetta had several abnormalities since birth, including a contracted right hand, a small right eye, and a cleft palate. The doctors made many attempts to save Jacquetta, but it all went futile.
Unbeknownst to Ann, the water she drank and bathed in at Camp Lejeune was contaminated for years due to various sources, including storage tanks and chemical dumping. Ann, along with many others, has filed claims against the government for the health issues caused by the contaminated water.
The “Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry”, identified trichloroethylene as the main contaminant found at the base, which resulted in most health hazards. Other contaminants that can also affect human health include vinyl chloride and benzene.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination: The Crucial Signs
People who resided at Camp Lejeune between the years 1953 and 1987 have been exposed to the toxic chemicals. It is associated with a wide range of health issues and abnormalities.
A few of the signs of the contamination include:
- Behavior disorder
- Mental confusion
- Slowed reaction time
- Not being able to focus well
People who notice these signs should seek medical assistance to determine if it is an after-effect of dirty waters at Camp Lejeune and get themselves treated.
Camp Lejeune Polluted Water and Cancer
There are many types of cancers that are known to be “presumptive conditions” because of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. When an individual suffers from the presumptive condition, they can opt-in for the VA advantages for filing a lawsuit. However, it is necessary for them to qualify based on the eligibility requirements.
The cancers VA links with the polluted waters at Camp Lejeune are:
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Liver Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Adult Leukaemia
- Multiple Myeloma
- Bladder Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Lung Cancer
Since the symptoms are wide-ranging, the diagnosis can be challenging. Any person facing any uncommon medical symptom and feeling that the polluted water at the Marines base could be the reason, should get the correct medical diagnosis and take the next steps to treat the ailment.
Filing a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a part of the PACT Act, was signed into law by President Biden on August 10, 2022. Led by the Veterans Affairs groups, this act impacts the veterans and their family members along with the private contractors who stayed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. Those eligible can pursue compensation for damages, including coverage for healthcare expenses related to symptoms of Camp Lejeune water contamination.
TorHoerman Law asserts that early detection of the symptoms is crucial. It can help to save the life of an individual through correct treatment. Affected individuals should keep track of their symptoms and gather medical evidence that proves the link between contaminated water consumption and their ailment. Once this gets done, getting in touch with a lawyer can help to get the desired compensation.
Since Camp Lejeune lawsuits have gone up, it’s essential to know whether there is any hope of compensation. In March 2023, Roll Call reported on a Texas lawyer, Mikal Watts, who after managing several claims blames the Navy Judge Advocate General for the increasing logjam in North Carolina federal courts.
Watts asserted that the claims resolution process is yet to be set up. Since Congress intended that it would be done at the earliest, it’s a tad bit disappointing to not see that happening, which in turn has led to a litigation backlog.
However, it is necessary for individuals to report the Camp Lejeune water contamination injury so that there is increasing awareness. That might just speed up the compensation process and might cover the damages of the victims.