August 1, 2023 marks seventy years since the beginning of Camp Lejeune’s water problem. Although the contamination problem was corrected, many people still suffer from the consequences–Parkinson’s disease is one of these consequences.
In this post, we’ll share how the Camp Lejeune water problem and Parkinson’s disease are connected. If you or a loved one have this disease due to exposure at the Marine Corps base, you should know that a Camp Lejeune settlement attorney might be able to help.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that develops gradually and leads to loss of coordination, balance, and control of the body. It usually occurs due to aging, but other causes of Parkinson’s disease are:
- Genetic history
- Unhealthy environmental factors
- Exposure to toxins
Moreover, Parkinson’s disease is difficult to diagnose in its early stages because the symptoms of this disease are subtle at first. Some of the earliest signs of Parkinson’s disease are:
- Trembling in the hands, legs, muscles, or head
- Constipation or urinary problems
- Slow movement
- Prolonged muscle contraction
- Loss of memory
- Restless legs
- Loss of balance
- Skin problems
These symptoms may not occur simultaneously; some patients only have one or two symptoms from the list above. The symptoms of Parkingson’s disease are quite generic and are associated with a variety of potential disorders and diseases, making it difficult to diagnose the disease in the early stages. By the time loss of balance and coordination becomes prominent, the neurological degeneration is significantly visible in diagnostic tests. These symptoms develop with time, and the condition of the patient deteriorates over years. Therefore, regular checkups are essential for anyone with even one of the symptoms mentioned above.
What Is the Relationship Between Camp Lejeune and Parkinson’s?
As mentioned earlier, exposure to toxins is one of the causes of Parkinson’s disease. When the Camp Lejeune water problem was identified, Parkinson’s was among the diseases expected to be seen by those who drank the contaminated water.
Years later, fears became reality. Several former residents of the Camp Lejeune region reported having developed disorders and diseases as a result of the water contamination—some of those cases were Parkinson’s.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, two of the three primary sources of Camp Lejeune’s water became contaminated with industrial solvents and chemicals. These were Tarawa Terrace and the Hadnot Point Water System. There was a third water system called the Holcomb Boulevard Water System that also supplied Camp Lejeune, but it was safer than the other two sources.
The contaminated water contained the following harmful colorless chemicals: trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC), and benzene. According to research, extensive exposure to PCE and TCE increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, when the Camp Lejeune Families Act was announced in 2012, it included Parkinson’s disease.
Camp Lejeune Compensation
Camp Lejeune’s water contamination date extended from August 1st, 1953 to December 31st, 1987. During this time, between 700,000 and one million people either lived or worked in or around Camp Lejeune. In light of the large number of residents during this time and the high incidence of illnesses, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced compensation policies for those who were affected by Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water.
Although the government sealed contaminated wells in 1985, it did not help those who had already consumed the contaminated water for long periods of time. Therefore, the government introduced policies to compensate for their suffering and losses. As per the compensation policies, those who worked or lived in the affected region for over thirty days can receive free healthcare for fifteen recognized and directly related health conditions. They also receive significant discounts on associated (secondary) health issues, except for dental problems.
Parkinson’s disease is one of the covered health conditions. Those who previously lived in the region for at least one month are encouraged to apply for the government’s support program for Camp Lejeune. If you’re looking to seek legal action following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s after residing at the camp, a skilled attorney at Strom Law Firm will be able to help you secure the compensation to which you are entitled.