Residents at Camp Lejeune were exposed to dangerous contaminants in their drinking and bathing water for an extended period of time, causing many health complications and water contamination deaths. Research has also shown that contaminated water can cause heart disease and worsen existing symptoms.
This article will dive into the impact water contaminants can have on heart health, the water contamination issues at Camp Lejeune, the effects that Camp Lejeune water contamination could have had on heart health, and whether you are a candidate to file a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit.
What Is the Impact of Water Contaminants on Heart Health?
Lead and arsenic are two water contaminants that can harm the heart through long-term exposure. Such exposure to lead can cause high blood pressure, which places stress on the arteries, and can lead to heart disease over time. Arsenic, on the other hand, may cause thickening of the heart’s main pumping chamber, changing its structure.
Furthermore, several studies have shown that exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air can contribute to or exacerbate heart disease. Exposure to VOC trichloroethylene through drinking water is also associated with major heart defects.
Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
Camp Lejeune is a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina. From August 1953 to December 1987, the water from two main water supply systems at the base were contaminated. The approximately 700,000 to one million people who lived at the base during this time may have been affected by the contaminated water.
More than seventy contaminants were identified in the water at Camp Lejeune–these contaminants were present at 240 to 3,400 times the concentration that is considered safe for consumption. Of all the contaminants, the most common were VOCs, such as perchloroethylene (a dry cleaning solvent) and trichloroethylene (a degreaser), benzene, and vinyl chloride. The source of this contamination was traced back to the waste disposal by ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a dry cleaning company located close to the base.
Can the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune Contribute to Heart Disease?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) identified a list of fifteen water contamination diseases associated with Camp Lejeune. Heart disease is currently not in this list; however, the VA is working with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to evaluate scientific evidence and uncover other diseases and conditions that may have resulted from the contamination.
Given the influence of VOCs on heart health, it is possible that heart disease will be added to the list of conditions covered by the VA.
What Other Illnesses Are Associated With the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
The healthcare costs for illnesses associated with the Camp Lejeune water contamination that are covered by the VA include:
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Lung cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Neurobehavioral effects
What Options Are Available to Camp Lejeune Residents With Heart Disease?
File a Disability Claim
Camp Lejeune residents with heart disease they believe is related to the contaminated water can file a disability claim through the website http://www.ebenefits.va.gov or call (800) 827-1000. Currently, the VA offers disability compensation to former residents of Camp Lejeune with the following conditions:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
However, given the ongoing collaboration between the VA and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, it is possible that disability compensation may become available for former residents suffering from heart disease.
File a Lawsuit
The U.S. Congress and Senate passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act in August 2022, which may soon be approved by President Joe Biden. Once approved, people harmed by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune will be able to take their case to court.
In the meantime, you can speak to an experienced attorney, such as those at Strom Law Firm, if you feel you or a loved one experienced effects of heart disease after residing at Camp Lejeune. Your attorney will be able to walk you through steps of filing a lawsuit and obtaining the compensation you are owed.