Beneath the Surface: New Camp Lejeune CDC Study Reveals Increased Risk of Cancer

Federal health officials at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have recently unveiled new findings from a comprehensive study concerning Camp Lejeune, a large U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina notorious for its toxic and contaminated drinking water. Spanning a decade from 1975 to 1985, this investigation exposes a disturbing truth: military personnel, civilians, and their families living or working at Camp Lejeune faced significantly higher cancer risks compared to those at bases with clean water sources.

This pivotal research, one of the largest of its kind in the United States, scrutinized the increased cancer risk by comparing two groups: those who lived and worked in a polluted environment against a control group that was not exposed to such hazards. The results demonstrated those associated with Camp Lejeune had elevated risks for various cancers, including types of leukemia and lymphoma, as well as lung, breast, throat, esophagus, and thyroid cancers. This broad spectrum of heightened risk not only paints a grim picture of the consequences of environmental negligence, but also serves as a dire warning about the importance of safeguarding our living and working habitats.

The study, led by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a branch of the CDC, compared the health outcomes of approximately 211,000 individuals from Camp Lejeune to those of 224,000 from California’s Camp Pendleton, where it is (at present, at least) believed water contamination was not an issue. The meticulous research led by Frank Bove and his team highlighted not just the prevalence of certain cancers previously identified, but also pointed to others, like thyroid cancer, not clearly linked in earlier studies.

David Savitz, a disease researcher at Brown University consulting for potential claimants in related litigation, emphasized the complexity of attributing these health issues directly to the water contamination, given the time elapsed and the lack of detailed proof of exposure However, he acknowledged the study’s significance in bolstering the claims of those affected by the pollution at Camp Lejeune.

The source of this contamination traces back to the base’s establishment in the early 1940s, with the water contamination attributed to a combination of a poorly maintained fuel depot, reckless dumping on the base, and pollutants from an off-base dry cleaner. Despite the contamination being flagged in the early 1980s, it took years before the affected wells were shut down, during which an estimated 1 million individuals unknowingly consumed and used the contaminated water.

The aftermath has been a surge of lawsuits, with affected individuals seeking justice and accountability from the Marine Corps and the federal government, critiquing the slow response to the health crisis and the perceived indifference to the well-being of military personnel and their families. In the future, we can only hope this serves as a reminder of the duty of care owed to those who serve, as well as their dependents.

The implications of this research extend beyond academic circles, potentially influencing policy and compensation frameworks. Following a federal law enacted in August 2022, victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination were given a two-year window to file claims. With the study’s findings, there is a push to include diseases like thyroid cancer among the conditions eligible for compensation, marking a step toward acknowledging and rectifying the injustices endured by those affected.

As this research paper undergoes peer review and publication, it stands as a testament to the critical need for environmental vigilance and the relentless pursuit of accountability for the health and safety of our communities, especially those who have served their country. The saga of Camp Lejeune is a sobering reminder of the invisible, yet indelible, scars left by our neglect of the environment and the imperative to prevent such tragedies in the future.

For more information regarding CLJA claims, please visit the Navy’s official CLJA website at or contact the CLCU at or (757) 241-6020.

Please note the deadline to file a claim is August 10th, 2024 so file your claim soon!

We here at the Herd Law Firm, PLLC, support every man, woman, and child (including civilians) exposed to contaminants at Camp Lejeune, and believe you deserve quality and attentive legal representation. We are a Northwest Houston-based law firm, and are proud to be able to aid our veterans and their families in seeking restitution for their injuries. We are honored to be a part of the BMBF law group entrusted by the VFW to handle these claims on behalf of veterans and their families.

Contact us at the Herd Law Firm at 713-955-4299 or at Charles.Herd@herdlawfirm. We would be pleased to speak with you about the full spectrum of options you have, and help you make an informed choice.


Image Source: U.S. Marine Corps

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