Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

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BACKGROUND:

Between 1953 and 1987, over one million military personnel and their family members were stationed at the United States Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina.  During this time frame, people living on the base, military service members, and civilians were drinking, cooking with, and bathing in contaminated water.  The base water treatment facilities and a dry-cleaning company in the local area were responsible for the chemicals contaminating the water. 

The chemicals that caused the contamination are known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).  After the initial discovery of the contaminants, it was documented that there were only two VOCs to blame.  However, additional research has indicated that there were around 70 other chemicals in the water.

MOST HAZARDOUS CONTAMINANTS FOUND:

  • Perchloroethylene (PCE), dry cleaning solvent,
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE), degreaser,
  • Benzene, an indicator of petroleum-based contaminants such as gasoline and diesel fuels,
  • Trans-1,2-DEC, a breakdown of PCE and TCE into a different contaminant,
  • Vinyl Chloride (VC), used to make PVC, aerosol sprays, automotive parts, and housewares.

DISABILITY COMPENSATION:

The VA has established presumptive service connection for veterans, reservists, and National Guard members exposed to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune.  To qualify, members must have been on Camp Lejeune at some point from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, for a total of 30 days and later develop one of the following diseases:

  • Adult Leukemia,
  • Aplastic Anemia and other Myelodysplastic Syndromes,
  • Bladder Cancer,
  • Kidney Cancer,
  • Liver Cancer,
  • Multiple Myeloma,
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and
  • Parkinson’s Disease.

Currently, the VA only recognizes these diseases and conditions to support the creation of these presumptions.

CAMP LEJEUNE FAMILIES ACT OF 2012:

Veteran’s Health Care

In addition to receiving service-connected benefits for the above-conditions, the VA also provides cost-free health care, including copayments, for certain conditions to Veterans who served at least 30 days of active duty at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987.  These qualifying health conditions are:

  • 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, and
  • Neurobehavioral effects.

Family Member Health Care Reimbursement

Family members of Veterans who also lived at Camp Lejeune during the qualifying period are eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses related to the 15 covered health condition (listed above).  However, the VA can only pay treatment costs that remain after payment from other health plans.

Types of evidence you can/should submit with your application:

  • Documentation showing dependent relationship to a Veteran who served at Camp Lejeune, such as marriage license or birth certificate,
  • Documentation showing you lived on the base for 30 days or more between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, such as copies of orders or base housing records, or
  • You paid health care expenses for a covered condition respective to the following date ranges:
    • If you lived on Camp Lejeune between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987, then you can be reimbursed for care that you received on or after August 6, 2012, and
    • If you lived on Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1956, then you can be reimbursed for care that you received on or after December 16, 2014.

 

If you or family member need assistance with a claim regarding to Camp Lejeune water contamination, or any other condition, contact Lawyers for American Vets at 614-781-1400.

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