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Camp Lejeune: Toxic Exposure

Water Contamination

By Nachman Brautbar, M.D.

From at least 1953 through 1985, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina were potentially exposed to contaminated water containing industrial solvents, benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other chemicals.

Drinking-water systems that supplied two areas of housing at Camp Lejeune were contaminated with toxic chemicals as a result of on-base industrial activities and an off-base dry cleaning facility. The contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985.

As a part of the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, qualifying Veterans can receive all their health care (except dental care) from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if they served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, even if they don’t have a health condition that is presumed to be related to exposure. Additionally, reimbursement is available to eligible Camp Lejeune family members for health care costs related to one or more of 15 specified illnesses or medical conditions listed in the law.

Qualifying health conditions include:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Female infertility
  • Scleroderma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Miscarriage
  • Neurobehavioral effects

Disability:

Disease associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune.

If a veteran, or former reservist or member of the National Guard, was exposed to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune during military service and the exposure meets the requirements, the following diseases shall be service-connected even though there is no record of such disease during service, subject to the rebuttable presumption provisions.

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

If you or your client have a VA claim and need a medical nexus letter (report on causation) for your health condition, please contact our office for further assistance.