Camp Lejeune veterans at risk of bladder cancer

By Shaniqua Williams

Posted on August 03rd, 2020

Between the 1950s-1980s, people living at Camp Lejeune, have been exposed to health-hazardous contaminants resulted from the disposal of toxic materials and wastes. Scientific and medical evidence has shown an association between exposure to these contaminants during military service and the development of bladder cancer later on.

Established in 1941 to provide amphibious training for troops headed to the war overseas, Camp Lejeune was the largest Marine Corps base in the United States. Historically, Camp Lejeune served as one of three boot-camp facilities for the Marines, in addition to the Parris Island, South Carolina, and San Diego, California bases. The base covers 244 square miles and incorporates the New River and 11 miles of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to the military commands, training centers, motor pools, and disposal dumps, the base had daycare centers, schools, nine family housing areas, gyms, libraries, administrative offices, a shopping center, and a hospital. Many soldiers and their families who lived at Camp Lejeune from 1952 through 1987 were exposed to chemicals that contained high levels of toxicity.

The pollutants identified at Camp Lejeune likely increased the risk of bladder cancer in veterans and families exposed

Contamination of two of the eight wells serving the base populations at Camp Lejeune was first reported in 1982.

Dangerous chemicals polluted the environment at high concentration levels, as much as 3,400 times the acceptable safety limits.

In the years after leaving Camp Lejeune, many veterans and their family members developed serious medical conditions, including bladder cancer, believed to be caused by the exposure to harmful substances.

It's believed that the contamination came from three sources:

  • leaking underground fuel storage tanks
  • a dry-cleaning company near the base
  • chemicals used to degrease and clean the military equipment on the base

Trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, and other organic solvents identified as possible bladder carcinogens

Bladder cancer begins with a genetic mutation in the structure of the DNA in cells, which can affect how they grow. This means that cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably, producing a lump of tissue called a tumor.

Several factors have been identified that can significantly increase the risk of developing bladder cancer, including exposure to certain industrial chemicals such as trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, and benzene. Trichloroethylene is a halocarbon widely used as an industrial solvent for metal-degreasing operations. A substantial number of epidemiological studies have reported the risk of different cancers on exposure to trichloroethylene. The biggest risks observed were bladder, kidney, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Tetrachloroethylene (also referred to as perchloroethylene) is one of the most important chlorinated solvents worldwide and has been produced commercially since the early 1900s. A cohort study observed significant excess risk of bladder cancer among dry-cleaning workers in both males and females.

Contact our experienced attorneys today if you suffer from bladder cancer as a result of toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune

An estimated 900,000 active-duty and reserve personnel were assigned to Camp Lejeune while hazardous spills and leakage from underground fuel storage tanks took place. Thousands of them have developed serious illnesses associated with toxic exposure.

If you are a veteran, a member of the Reserves, or a member of the National Guard assigned to Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987, and later developed bladder cancer, you may qualify for financial support and other benefits like health care. Please contact our office today to discuss your eligibility for benefits.