Camp Lejeune was established in 1941 as a military base shortly before the United States joined World War II. Lt. General John Archer Lejeune, who served in the marines for more than 40 years, was the namesake of the facility.
Camp Lejeune was founded as a training facility for Marine Expeditionary Forces, and it has housed millions of people from military personnel and personnel to their families.
It was also the primary focus of the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Camp Lejeune Water Contaminants
Eight plants were used to treat the water supplied to the Camp Lejeune base population from 1953 through 1982. In 1982, two of these water treatment facilities showed adverse effects due partly to water supply contamination.
The Marine Corps discovered that water from the Tarawa Terrace water treatment facility was tainted with Perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene (“PCE”) as a result of waste disposal methods at ABC One-hour Cleaners, a nearby off-base dry cleaner. From November 1957 through February 1987, the Marine Corps determined that this pollution had damaged the Tarawa Terrace facilities for 346 months.
Meanwhile, the water from the Hadnot Point treatment plant was tainted with Trichloroethane (“TCE”), PCE, TCE degradation products, benzene, and vinyl chloride. Approximately two-thirds of the total number of water samples taken for this study exhibited evidence of pathogens. A variety of factors contributed to this contamination, including leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, and waste disposal sites. From 1953 until 1985, at least one of these chemicals was found to exceed EPA allowed amounts.
By 1997, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was called in to inspect the water and discovered that cancer-causing consequences from the polluted water were unlikely; nevertheless, they failed to look at what has been labeled the main cause of cancers: benzene. Finally, in 2009, after acknowledging the presence of benzene in the water, the ATSDR began to investigate whether or not there was a link between the water and cancer.
The results of their study are still being evaluated.
Over 800,000 gallons of fuel had leaked into the soil from fuel storage tanks, according to the water contamination report. These fuel tanks were in terrible proximity to the well from which the military officer and enlisted personnel quarters and the base hospital obtained its drinking water. The water poisoning has resulted in significant consequences for persons who lived on the military base during the Camp Lejeune disaster.
The chemicals in the Camp Lejeune water are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These compounds, which can be found in fuels, paint thinners, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, and dry-cleaning agents, among other things, may lead to serious injuries and medical problems.
According to the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs, there is enough evidence linking the following health and medical conditions to occupational or environmental exposure at Camp Lejeune contaminated water:
- Kidney Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Cardiac Defects
- Bladder Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Liver Cancer
This list is not comprehensive. Camp Lejeune water contamination may have a causal link to other medical issues. In fact, a long list of potential health problems has been linked to contact with these compounds that were discovered in the water at the bottom. Because of the presence of these hazardous chemicals in the body, residents and personnel working at the site may not have known they were in danger.
These endocrine disruptors, much like those found in cigarettes, can have long-term health effects that take years to surface as a disease in the body — and it’s frequently too late to reverse medical problems and harm.
The United States, through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, recognizes those stationed at Camp Lejeune for thirty continuous days between August 1953 and December 1987 as possibly being exposed to contaminated drinking water containing industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals.
This spring’s water has been linked to a slew of serious health issues, only some of which were mentioned above.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has acknowledged that the tainted water affects not just service members and their families but also those of contractors, civilians who worked at the military facility during the same period, and family members. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (“ATSDR”) has developed models to estimate the full impact of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.