Veterans and exposure to contaminated water
On Veteran’s Day, Americans remember the men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces and honor those who lost their lives serving and fighting for our freedom. But lives and health were not just lost on foreign soil. We now know that toxic contaminations from hazardous chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on bases like Camp Lejuene may also have had negative health effects on soldiers and their families living on base as well as civilian workers.
In the 1980s, the well water drinking supply systems at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejuene in North Carolina were discovered to be contaminated with industrial solvents including benzene, perchloroethylene (PCE), and tricholoethylene, (TCE) from spills and leaks from underground storage equipment and improper disposal. People living and training at Camp Lejuene include Marines and their families, certain Navy personnel, and some Reserve and National Guard members. The exposure occurred to these contaminants during a 34 year period between 1953 and 1987 and those exposed face potential health consequences that can be linked to a myriad of cancers, neuro-behavioral diseases, and female infertility and miscarriage.
In 2012, President Obama signed a law into effect that ensures that the VA will treat any Marine who lived at Camp Lejuene for 30 days or more during the described 34 year period for a list of diseases that include cancers of the esophagus, breast, lung, kidney, bladder and leukemia; multiple myeloma and scheroderma, female infertility, miscarriage, and neuro-behavioral problems like Parkinsons disease. In addition, Veterans may be eligible for Disability Compensation and Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) service related pensions and care if they were stationed at Camp LeJeune during that time period. The Veteran’s family members who were exposed to the toxic water may also qualify for health care expense compensation.
If you have health concerns about exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejuene, talk to your health care provider, your local VA Environmental Health officer at the nearest VA, or an Accredited VA Attorney. You and/or your family may be entitled to healthcare benefits, as well as monthly monetary compensation.