Camp Lejeune’s Water Contamination Tragedy: Key Health Effects

Picture this: a sprawling marine base, courageous servicemen and women training diligently, and a sense of camaraderie filling the air at Camp Lejeune, a prominent military base nestled in the heart of North Carolina. But beneath this picturesque facade lies a haunting tale, one that unfolded silently and left a lasting imprint on the health of those who called this base their home.

As chilling as it may sound, the scale of this tragedy is so immense that experts estimate up to one million brave soldiers and civilians may have unknowingly consumed contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

In this blog, we delve into the gripping narrative of Camp Lejeune’s water contamination tragedy and explore the harrowing health effects that emerged in its wake.

Various Types of Cancer

Camp Lejeune faced a tragic water contamination crisis that had devastating health effects on its residents. For over three decades, the residents were unknowingly drinking toxic water. The pollutants have been linked to various health conditions, including kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer, also known as renal cell carcinoma, has been strongly associated with water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The toxic chemicals present in the water supply, such as TCE, are associated with a higher risk of developing kidney cancer. For those affected, it is indispensable to recognize the symptoms and promptly seek early medical intervention.

Bladder Cancer

The notorious incident has also been associated with an increased possibility of bladder cancer. Toxic chemicals like benzene, which were present in the water supply, are known carcinogens that can cause mutations in bladder cells. As a result, individuals who lived or worked at Camp experienced a higher risk of developing bladder cancer. Regular screenings and awareness of the potential symptoms are vital for early detection and effective treatment.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Individuals who were exposed to the polluted water at Camp Lejeune have faced a notable risk of developing Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. The presence of chemicals like vinyl chloride in the water supply has been associated with a higher likelihood of developing NHL. Understanding the symptoms and seeking medical attention promptly can help in managing this aggressive form of cancer.

Recent research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has revealed a significant link between exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and the occurrence of genitourinary cancers, such as kidney and bladder cancer. This finding adds to the mounting evidence that the water contamination tragedy at Camp Lejeune has had devastating health effects, particularly in relation to cancer.

Birth Defects and Childhood Diseases

Birth defects and childhood diseases have been tragic consequences of the water contamination crisis at Camp Lejeune. The presence of various toxic chemicals in the water supply has been linked to a range of health issues affecting infants and young children. 

A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed a concerning connection between the contaminated drinking water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and significant health issues for pregnant women and their infants. The study, which involved surveying nearly 13,000 parents of children born at the base from 1968 to 1985, highlights the alarming association between water contamination and severe birth defects.

Understanding the specific diseases and defects is crucial in understanding the associated risks and potential outcomes for newborns. Some of the serious birth defects and childhood diseases include:

  • Immune system disorders
  • Low birth weight
  • Learning and developmental disabilities
  • Neural tube birth defects 
  • Oral cleft defects

Comment From the Affected One

According to a U.S. Marine Corps veteran in 2021, during their time at Camp Lejeune from 1972 to 1976, they experienced tragic outcomes with their children. One child, Joe, passed away within a month due to lung complications, while their daughter was born with a stomach defect. Also, in 1979, their wife gave birth to another daughter who had a missing spinal cord, which the veteran believes was a result of the long-lasting effects of their wife’s exposure to contamination at Camp Lejeune.

Parkinson’s Disease

Another concerning health effect linked to the water contamination tragedy at Camp Lejeune is the development of Parkinson’s disease. This neurodegenerative disorder affects movement and can have profound impacts on quality of life.

The connection between the water contamination at Camp Lejeune and Parkinson’s disease has raised significant concerns among the affected population. Chemicals present in the contaminated water, such as trichloroethylene (TCE), have been identified as potential risk factors for the development of Parkinson’s disease. 

While further research is still needed to establish a definitive causal relationship, the growing body of evidence suggests a strong association. This underscores the urgent need for support, awareness, and medical resources for individuals affected by the contamination, particularly those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Recent studies cited by TorHoerman Law have indicated that Marines who were stationed at Camp Lejeune faced a 70% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease compared to veterans who resided or served at other military bases. This finding further emphasizes the profound impact of the water contamination tragedy on the occurrence of Parkinson’s Disease among affected individuals.

In response to the devastating consequences of this incident, numerous affected individuals have chosen to pursue justice by filing a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit. Recognizing the profound impact on various aspects of their lives, including health, personal relationships, and professional endeavors, these individuals seek compensation for their losses. 

Through this legal action, they aim to hold accountable those responsible for the contamination and secure financial support to help rebuild their lives. The lawsuit provides a means for these affected individuals to assert their rights and seek the compensation they deserve for the immense hardships they have endured.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

One of the primary health consequences stemming from the water contamination tragedy at Camp Lejeune is the emergence of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Military personnel and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune have been found to have a higher risk of developing ALS due to their exposure to contaminated water.

The impact of ALS on both the individuals affected and their families is of tremendous significance and cannot be exaggerated. As ALS progresses, individuals may encounter difficulties in speech, swallowing, and breathing, presenting substantial obstacles in their everyday activities. The emotional toll is also immense, as loved ones witness their family members’ gradual decline. 

According to a CDC study, the water contamination tragedy at Camp Lejeune has been linked to several causes of death, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In their report, Frank Bove and colleagues from the CDC highlighted the elevated risks of ALS and other health issues among individuals exposed to contaminated water. 

This finding reinforces the specific link between Camp Lejeune’s water contamination tragedy and the increased incidence of ALS, further emphasizing the urgency of addressing and understanding this devastating disease within the affected community.

Final Thoughts

The water contamination tragedy at Camp Lejeune has had severe and lasting health effects on those exposed. The contamination, primarily due to hazardous chemicals, has been linked to various diseases while some of them are discussed in this blog. 

The profound impact on both the individuals affected and their families should not be underestimated or minimized. Authorities need to address this issue promptly, providing necessary support, healthcare, and compensation to those affected. Efforts must also focus on preventing similar tragedies in the future and ensuring the safety of our military personnel and their families.