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What Chemicals Were in the Water at Camp Lejeune?

In February 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a report stating that there were chemicals in the water at the Marine Corps training base known as Camp Lejeune that are known to cause cancer and other health problems.


If you or a loved one was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987, it is important to find out if you were exposed to these dangerous chemicals. If you were, you may qualify to be part of the Camp Lejeune lawsuit that was started to ensure that people who were there during this time get access to the health care and benefits they need.

Chemicals That Caused the Contamination

It took years before what caused Camp Lejeune water contamination was made public. The water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with several chemicals, including benzene, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, and vinyl chloride.

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

The primary contaminant in the water at Camp Lejeune was TCE. It is a chemical used as a degreaser and was found in the camp’s water supply. The health effects of TCE are not fully understood, but the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) deemed TCE to be a human carcinogen. TCE levels at the camp were 1,400 parts per billion (ppb). This is almost 300 times the safe amounts of TCE allowed in water, as per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)

This chemical was used in drycleaning and as a degreaser, and has been linked to cancer, liver, and kidney damage. The concentration of PCE in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was 215 ppb, more than forty times the maximum safe limits set by the EPA.


Over time, PCE will degrade into other chemicals, including TCE and vinyl chloride, which are also dangerous.

Vinyl Chloride

Vinyl chloride is a chemical that was found in the water at Camp Lejeune. It can cause birth defects and cancer of the liver, brain, and lungs.


The United States Marine Corps admitted that the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with vinyl chloride more than thirty years ago. This chemical was used in the manufacturing of teflon and was released into the water supply.


It is estimated that more than one million people were exposed to vinyl chloride while living or working at Camp Lejeune. If you were exposed to this chemical, you might be at risk of developing cancer or other health problems.


The water at Camp Lejeune was also contaminated with benzene from a drycleaning facility on the base. The health effects of benzene exposure can show up years after the exposure happened, so it’s important to be aware of the risks if you were stationed or living at the Camp Lejeune base.


Benzene is a carcinogen, which can cause cancer and other health problems, such as anemia and leukemia. It’s found in gasoline, diesel fuel, and some cleaning products and is also a byproduct of smoking cigarettes.

In Summary 

You might have been exposed to contaminated water if you served at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, and veterans exposed to this water may be eligible for free healthcare and disability benefits. If you’d like help starting the process of filing a claim and getting the compensation you deserve, the experts at Strom Law are ready to help.


Wondering if Camp Geiger is part of Camp Lejeune water contamination? Take a look at our recent post.




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