The water contamination crisis at Camp Lejeune has led to around 750,000 people suffering life-threatening medical conditions. These individuals include active and former military service members, their families, and non-military staff. Nearly one million people were on the base during the contamination era of 1953-1987.
There are many different Camp Lejeune water contamination health issues. While the government is trying to correct these egregious actions, that does not replace the time lost and the suffering you have dealt with for years. If you suffered injuries while serving at Camp Lejeune, speak to a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer from George Sink, PA Injury Lawyers today.
What Medical Conditions Do These Chemicals Cause?
While some prevalent chemicals have led to the suffering of thousands of people, 70 chemicals are in the drinking water that can cause a range of other medical conditions. While the VA is focusing its efforts on specific conditions, many others are relevant. Aside from the direct links to the above conditions, these chemicals are known to also cause:
- Neural tube defects
- Low birth weight
- Eye defects
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Oral cleft damage
- Fetal death
- Major malformations
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Impaired immune system
- Smaller size for gestational age
- Hypersensitivity skin disorder
While these are not directly proven to be in Camp Lejeune victims, they are prevalent among people who have exposure to PCE or TCE. There is ongoing research on these conditions and their relation to toxic water. Victims of a disease not listed in the presumptive list can still obtain compensation and medical care.
Do not delay filing a claim or applying for disability benefits with the VA.
What Chemicals Caused These Symptoms?
There were 70 chemicals found in the water going to Camp Lejeune, making this the worst water contamination incident in US history. The major volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of concern are Benzene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, and tetrachloroethylene, which often result in cancer after excessive exposure. These chemicals came from two primary sources and spread to nearly the entire base.
While there were eight water treatments supplying water to Camp Lejeune, two were the source of the contamination. The plants were the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant and the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant. Unsafe waste disposal practices and issues with underground storage tanks lead to contamination.
Benze is a compound found in industrial chemicals and is dangerous after chronic exposure. Benzene disrupts cell structures and induces DNA strand breaks. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) findings show evidence for causation of leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma from Benzene.
The casual causation of Benzene is multiple myeloma. Benzene is also known to cause aplastic amenia, miscarriages, and myelodysplastic syndrome.
Aplastic Armenia is a blood disorder where the bone marrow stops producing blood cells. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, bleeding, or easy bruising. To treat this condition, you will need bone marrow transplants, blood transfusions, or immunosuppressive therapy.
Myelodysplastic syndrome covers a range of conditions affecting blood and bone marrow. Depending on the syndrome, you are prone to symptoms that will vary but often include fatigue, easy bruising, and bleeding.
PCE is a chemical in dry cleaning and degreasing products. It also manufactures other chemicals that are harmful to people. PCE and TCE attack the central nervous system, immune system, liver, kidney, and the male reproductive system.
Studies show evidence of causation for PCE to result in bladder cancer. There is also evidence of causal causation for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and end-stage renal disease.
Bladder cancer is when cells form in the tissues of the bladders and do not have a cure. Non-Hodgkin’s disease is blood cancer affecting the lymphatic system and involves cell transplants, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. Symptoms will vary in each patient depending on how aggressive the tumor is, but you will often see weight loss, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.
TCE is another chemical that is used as a degreaser. The ATSDR has sufficient evidence for the causation of TCE in cardiac defects, kidney cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Kidney cancer can develop in either kidney and require surgery to remove the affected kidney.
You will also undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Symptoms of kidney cancer include weight loss, bloody urine, and back pain. The condition can be fatal if it is left untreated.
Other conditions that show causal causation include:
- Liver cancer: Symptoms of this cancer are loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, and abdominal pain. Treatment includes chemotherapy and surgery, but the conditions are often fatal.
- Multiple myeloma: This type of cancer affects the plasma cells in the body, and muscle weakness, anemia, frequent infections, and fatigue are common symptoms. There is no cure, but you can undergo chemotherapy, immunotherapy medications, and a bone marrow transplant.
- Parkinson’s disease: This disorder attacks a person’s movements, and signs include tremors, slow movements, and rigidity. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease and limited treatment options.
- Scleroderma: Skin hardening and scarring are common effects of this autoimmune disease. Your kidneys, heart, and lungs will also be affected.
- End-stage renal disease: You can suffer kidney failure and other complications.
- Leukemia: The most common symptoms of adult leukemia are fatigue, pale skin, and easy bruising. Depending on your leukemia type, the condition will progress slowly or rapidly.
Vinyl chloride’s primary use is to produce plastic products like PVC pipes and wire coatings. It is a colorless gas and is harmful after heavy exposure. The chemical binds protein, RNA, and DNA and causes DNA synthesis and mutations.
There is evidence of causation for vinyl chloride in liver cancer. Other health effects of vinyl chloride are lung cancer, brain cancer, liver cancer, and soft tissue cancer. Lung cancer affects your lungs, and treatment includes chemotherapy and surgery.
What Are the Symptoms and Effects of these Chemicals?
Every condition will have different symptoms and effects. The same condition can cause other effects on different people due to the varying exposure levels and disease types. The effects you will suffer from exposure will depend on these factors:
- What stage of life you were exposed
- How long was the exposure
- How much of the toxic chemical you were exposed to
- The method of exposure, such as drinking
Since many people were exposed to these harmful chemicals, the effects and results are very different. The higher the exposure, the worse your condition will be. There are also other risk factors to consider that can worsen your condition.
You will need to evaluate your condition and its severity individually.
How do I Know if I Was Exposed to Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?
There are many ways you can discover that you were exposed to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune. The first is when a family member informs you that your time at Camp Lejeune was harmful due to the drinking water. You may be suffering from a debilitating medical condition that prohibits you from living your life that you attribute to your time at Camp Lejeune.
If you are unsure, you can look for signs of suffering from adverse health conditions. Some symptoms to stay aware of are:
- Memory loss
- Stomach pains
- Weight gain
- Swollen feet and legs
- Joint pain
- Drier and flakier skin than usual
If you experience any signs on this list, it is time to seek medical attention and receive a diagnosis. When you have an official diagnosis, you can determine whether your condition results from the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
What Are Neurobehavioral Effects?
There are various neurobehavioral effects, and you must seek medical treatment for an accurate diagnosis. Some neurobehavioral effects of exposure to these toxic chemicals are delayed reaction times and issues with:
- Visual perception
- Short term memory
- Color vision
- Delayed recall
- Visual perception deficits
- Mood effects like depression, tension, and confusion
- Lower blink reflex
- Lack of coordination
The VA’s current presumptive list for Camp Lejeune victims doesn’t include neurobehavioral effects. Still, enough data shows a link between water contamination and these defects.
How does the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 Help?
As the worst water contamination case in history, it is time for legal steps to remedy the situation. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is set to pass and will offer a path to compensation for those affected by the water contamination. To qualify, you must show you resided at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 for 30 days and now suffer a medical condition from exposure to the toxic chemical found in the water.
Claimants would file a mass tort claim which the court would consolidate in the US District Court Eastern District of North Carolina. In the past, victims could not file claims because of specific statutes that North Carolina has. Not only does the new law allow those on base at the time to file claims, but also those in-utero.
So if you were in the womb during the exposure and suffer from a medical condition, you can also file a claim and obtain compensation for your losses. The most likely outcome will be that all lawsuits will be consolidated into multidistrict litigation.
When victims hear the potential for consolidation, they fear they will not get what their case is worth. However, consolidation can help you recover compensation faster than handling the issue independently. Each case will also have different results because the court will award payment depending on the case’s merit.
Who Is Responsible for the Toxic Water?
There has been a lot of back and forth regarding who is at fault. However, the EPA holds the Navy responsible for monitoring the water. Through a federal claim, the US government will be the party named as the defendant in these claims.
The government is working with the VA to compensate victims for their injuries and medical conditions. There will soon be relief, but you must discuss your options with a Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney. The VA already offers disability benefits for veterans and health benefits for their families resulting from the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
However, additional measures are necessary to remedy the entire situation.
How do I File a Claim?
Members do not need to prove a direct link between your condition and the water contamination if the condition is part of the presumptive conditions by the VA to get disability benefits. If you are unsure whether you are eligible to file a claim with the VA or under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, consult with a legal professional who knows the guidelines for each case. VA representatives cannot process claims because they do not know if the person is eligible or not.
To file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, you must hire an experienced attorney who can represent you and your interests. Critical evidence is necessary for these claims, such as:
- Medical bills
- Travel records
- Health care information
- Military service records
- Proof of camp Lejeune residency
- VA compensation benefits records
- Disability benefits records
- Diagnostic reports
- Medical records
Documentation You Will Need
You will need to provide George Sink, PA Injury Lawyers with as much documentation as you have at your disposal. We will do our part to build your case and file within the deadlines once the bill passes and further details are offered. Aside from evidence to prove that you were a Camp Lejeune resident, we will also need to show the severity of your injuries.
These cases may have a different way of calculating merit. Damages for these cases are not set in stone yet, but most often, we can collect compensation from:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Disability benefits
- Permanent disability
- Out-of-pocket reimbursement
Call George Sink, PA Injury Lawyers Today
If you were sickened when stationed at Camp Lejeune, you must work with a Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney who can use a strong approach for your case and show care and compassion for clients. Hire George Sink, PA Injury Lawyers for your Camp Lejeune claim.