How Scientists Connect Sickness to Camp Lejeune’s Water Contamination

It started small, with one fuel leak, but eventually grew to an estimated 750,000 gallons of contaminated water released into the base groundwater every day for over 30 years. Residents and civilian workers ingested large amounts of benzene, PCE, TCE, and vinyl chloride and that led to cancers and other serious illnesses.

Camp Lejeune's water contamination - scientist sampling camp le jeune water for contamination

How did this go unnoticed for over 30 years? And why did the United States Marine Corps refuse to acknowledge Camp Lejeune’s Water Contamination?

The Environmental Protection Agency

In the 1970’s the EPA named Camp Lejeune as a “major polluter” in the US. Toxic substances were being dumped into the water supply regularly. This included some from an off-base dry cleaner that dumped used solvents into the drains used for dry cleaning and degreasing.

Camp Lejeune’s water contamination was first discovered in 1980 when the base began testing the water for trihalomethane (THM). However, there were so many other contaminants in the water that interfered with the testing that it was inconclusive for THM.

Although the EPA notified both Camp Lejeune and the Marine Corps of this contamination, both failed to take any corrective action. It took the base more than four years to shut down those contaminated wells, claiming that the EPA had not yet finalized its regulations for carcinogens.

However, two prior base documents showed that they were aware of the chemical dangers but failed to act despite this knowledge, and fought to keep much of it under wraps.

In 1989, the EPA declared Camp Lejeune a Superfund site. It would be a decade later before the Marine Corps would begin notifying former residents about the possible connection between the contaminated water and any health problems.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

ATSDR is an independent agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is a federal public health agency that assesses the potential human health effects of hazardous substances found at or near toxic waste sites such as Camp Lejeune.

The ATSDR began its first study in 1997, comparing illness and mortality rates of service members, their families, and civilian workers from Camp Lejeune with a similar demographic population from Camp Pendleton, CA, known as a “cohort study.” These individuals were both at the bases between the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s. The results found that the Camp Lejeune population had a much higher risk for multiple cancers than the Camp Pendleton population.

In 2005, the agency began examining specific birth defects and childhood cancers in children born to mothers who lived at Camp Lejeune any time during their pregnancies from 1968-1985. Since then the agency has completed several other studies that concluded that the contamination was also related to additional health conditions.

Since then more and more conditions are being found as possibly linked to the Camp Lejeune contaminated water.

Camp Lejeune’s Water Contamination Claim? Contact The Herren Law Firm Today

For over 30 years, the Herren law firm has helped veterans and disabled people with their benefit claims and appeals. We have extensive experience dealing with governmental agencies and the claims filed with them.

If you or someone you know became ill after being stationed at Camp Lejeune, contact us immediately.

We’ve helped over 4,000 people, and we can help you as well. Contact us today by calling (713) 682-8194 or using our online contact form. Your consultation is free, and you won’t owe us a fee until we win your case.

Call Now Button