The Presumptive Diseases Associated with the Camp Lejeune Contamination

Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps base located in North Carolina that was home to thousands of service members and their families from the 1950s to the 1980s. During that time, the drinking water supply at the base was contaminated with various hazardous chemicals, such as trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride. These chemicals are known or highly suspected to cause various health problems, including cancer, neurological disorders, and blood diseases.

In 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established a “presumption of service” connection for eight diseases associated with exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. This means that veterans, their families, and anyone who served/worked/lived at Camp Lejeune or for at least 30 days (cumulatively) between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, may be eligible for disability compensation and health care benefits without having to prove that their condition was caused by their service. This also includes children in utero.

The eight presumptive diseases are:

  • Adult leukemia: A type of cancer that affects the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow.
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes: A group of disorders that cause the bone marrow to produce too few or abnormal blood cells.
  • Bladder cancer: A type of cancer that starts in the lining of the bladder.
  • Kidney cancer: A type of cancer that starts in the kidneys.
  • Liver cancer: A type of cancer that starts in the liver or bile ducts.
  • Multiple myeloma: A type of cancer that affects plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell that make antibodies.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A type of cancer that affects lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell that fight infections4.
  • Parkinson’s disease: A neurological disorder that affects movement, balance, and coordination.

If you, a friend, or a loved one have one or more of these conditions and you meet the service requirements for Camp Lejeune, you may be able to file a claim for disability compensation. You will need to provide evidence of your service at Camp Lejeune during the required timeframe, plus medical evidence of your diagnosis. You also may be eligible to enroll in VA health care and receive free medical treatment for any of the 15 covered health conditions related to Camp Lejeune exposure.

The VA’s “presumption of service connection” for Camp Lejeune is based on scientific evidence that shows a link between these diseases and the contaminants found in the water supply at the base during the period of contamination. However, this does not mean that every person who served at Camp Lejeune and has one of these diseases was exposed to the contaminated water or that their disease was caused by their exposure. There may be other factors that contributed to their condition, such as genetics, lifestyle, or environmental exposures outside of their service.

If you have questions or concerns about your health or eligibility for benefits related to Camp Lejeune exposure, you can visit the VA website at . You also can learn more about the history and health effects of the Camp Lejeune contamination from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at .

Camp Lejeune is one of the largest and most active Marine Corps bases in the country, but is also the site of one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. military history. The VA’s presumption of service connection for Camp Lejeune is a recognition of the sacrifice and suffering of those who served at the base and developed serious health problems as a result. It also is a reminder of the importance of protecting our environment and our veterans from harmful exposures.

At the Herd Law Firm, PLLC, we support every man, woman, and child exposed to contaminants at Camp Lejeune, and believe you deserve quality, attentive legal representation. The VFW has endorsed our firm and a few others to represent them in pursuing Camp Lejeune cases on their behalf. We are proud to be able to aid our veterans and their families in seeking restitution for their injuries. Please let us know if we can help you or others who were injured from exposure while at Camp Lejeune

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