For many military members and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987, exposure to chemicals at the base has led to a series of debilitating diseases and conditions. Government and independent investigations uncovered up to seventy separate chemicals that were contaminating the base. Many of these chemicals are carcinogenic and known to cause several types of cancer.
However, when someone is exposed to dangerous chemicals, they rarely feel the effects immediately–this is especially true when one is exposed to small amounts over a long period. This appears to have been the case at Camp Lejeune: due to chemicals that had made their way into the ground and well water at the base, the enlisted personnel, as well as the officers and the base hospital patients and staff were all slowly poisoned.
It was only years later–and in some cases decades later–that many people began to get very sick. Due to this slow-ticking time bomb, it took the government over twenty years to admit what had happened at Camp Lejeune and begin finding ways to compensate the victims, who often saught help from Camp Lejeune attorneys.
What Chemicals Were Found in the Water at Camp Lejeune?
When the string of illnesses at the base could no longer be passed off as coincidence, an investigation took place, and more than seventy types of chemicals were found around the base. Primarily in the water supply, the chemicals found were perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning solvent, and trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser.
However, PCE and TCE were not the biggest culprits. In 2009, investigators were forced to announce that a third chemical was found, and in far greater amounts. The chemical was benzene, a common type of fuel. More than 800,000 gallons of fuel had leaked from the tanks that went into the ground and eventually from the well where the living quarters and the hospital got their water.
What Types of Cancer Did Exposure at Camp Lejeune Cause?
A variety of cancers were found to be caused by exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Camp Lejeune service-connected conditions are:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Additionally, the chemicals were not just causing cancer. The contamination at Camp Lejeune caused other health issues and disorders, such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Non-cancerous kidney diseases
- Non-cancerous liver diseases
Further analysis has indicated additional types of cancer that may also be associated with exposure at Camp Lejeune. They are:
- Cancers of the brain
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Male and female breast cancer
- Cancer of the larynx
- Prostate cancer
- Cancers of the mouth
- Pancreatic cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Cancer of soft tissues
Even more than thirty-five years after the wells were closed at Camp Lejeune, new information and new diagnoses are coming to light. Soldiers who were once healthy and working at the base have now grown older and suffer from a series of health conditions.
Anyone who was at the base from 1953 to 1987 for thirty days or more should immediately consult with a Camp Lejeune attorney to see if they or their family members who also resided at the base may be eligible for compensation.