The main toxins in the water at Camp Lejeune were Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and Trichloroethylene (TCE), which are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Additional known toxins were vinyl chloride and benzene. Vinyl chloride is created when PCEs and TCEs break down in their environment. Benzene occurs naturally in volcanoes and forest fires and is used to create other chemicals.
These chemicals have industrial uses, including dry cleaning, degreasing metal, and in the production of products like plastic, detergent, pesticides, and nylon. Water contamination mainly involved two water treatment plants — Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point. The contaminants found in these plants have been linked to various forms of cancer and many other adverse medical conditions.
What Diseases Have Been Linked to Each of These Toxins?
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has identified many illnesses and diseases linked to water contamination exposure. The effect on the health of anyone exposed at Camp Lejeune will depend on each individual’s:
- General health
- Personal habits
- Length of exposure
- Method of exposure
Your health care professional can further explain the role of possible contamination on any definitive diagnosis you received. A personal injury lawyer will explain your options for financial compensation if you qualify to file a lawsuit.
Diseases Linked to PCEs
PCEs are found in air, water, and soil. They have various industrial uses and can help build other chemicals. Exposure to PCEs has been linked to bladder cancer.
Diseases Linked to TCEs
TCEs are colorless and used in many different industrial cleaning applications. Exposure to TCEs has been linked to kidney cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cardiac defects.
Diseases Linked to Vinyl Chloride
Vinyl chloride is a byproduct of PCEs and TCEs and used to create plastic and packing materials. Exposure to vinyl chloride has been linked to liver cancer.
Diseases Linked to Benzene
Benzene is colorless and sweet and used to create detergents and pesticides. Exposure to benzene has been linked to various leukemias and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Pregnancy Complications Linked to the Water at Camp Lejeune
Water contamination also led to difficulty conceiving and to miscarriages in subsequent pregnancies. When expectant mothers were exposed in the first trimester of pregnancy, some newborns had brain, spine, and/or spinal cord birth defects. First trimester exposure is sometimes linked to leukemia or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
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How did These Toxic Substances Get Into the Water at Camp Lejeune?
Contaminated water was at Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant. Contamination resulted from a nearby dry cleaner. The primary toxin identified at this location was PCE. It and its associated by-products were found in the drinking water in Tarawa Terrace homes. The levels detected exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximums. Researchers also found benzene in the drinking water in this area.
Contaminated water was also found at the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant. The contamination there included TCE caused by leaks in part by underground storage tanks. Additional chemicals in this area included PCE, benzene, and vinyl chloride.
What Are the Symptoms of Water Contamination?
TheReview of VA Clinical Guidance for the Health Conditions Identified by the Camp Lejeune Legislation cites the following symptoms of exposure to the toxins found in the water at Camp Lejeune:
- Anxiety and depression
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of coordination
- Mental confusion
- Motor function limitations
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you were exposed to the drinking water at Camp Lejeune and experience these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
Who Can File a Water Contamination Lawsuit?
Seeking personal injury compensation typically has a statute of limitations. You could still be eligible to seek compensation even though exposure to the water contamination issues at Camp Lejeune happened decades ago.
According to The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, you still have time to request monetary recovery if you meet the following criteria:
- You are a military veteran.
- You were a dependent of a military veteran.
- You were a civilian employee.
- You were exposed at Camp Lejeune from August 1953 to December 1987.
- You were exposed for at least 30 days.
A personal injury lawyer can explain your rights to financial recovery and help you or an affected family member build a strong case file.
Call Us if You Were Exposed to the Water at Camp Lejeune
Were you exposed to the toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune? Knowing what toxins were in the water and how they may have damaged your health can help you understand your right to monetary recovery for your medical bills and related expenses.
Contact Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We’ll explain how Darryl “The Hammer” Isaacs will help you fight for financial compensation. Our attorneys don’t take any upfront fees or costs.