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Leukemia may be associated with toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on August 03rd, 2020

For more than 30 years, toxic waste - including benzene-containing petroleum products, such as diesel fuel and gasoline, was dumped directly onto the sandy soil of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Benzene is extremely hazardous in case of inhalation, ingestion, or absorption through the skin, leading to blood disorders ranging from anemia to leukemia or other cancers.

An estimated one million Marines and their families at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were exposed to volatile organic compounds from industrial operations, known to cause cancer and other serious health conditions. Industrial solvents, benzene, dry cleaning fluids, potentially radioactive chemicals, lead, fuel and other toxic waste seeped into the ground. There is sufficient scientific and medical evidence to establish a strong association between exposure to industrial solvents at Camp Lejeune and leukemia incidence.

Benzene exposure increases the risk of developing leukemia and other blood disorders

From the 1950s through 1987, an undetermined number of residents, including infants, children, and civilian workers and personnel, were exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and other toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune.

Everyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune was exposed to harmful contaminants. Benzene was among them. Benzene most likely occurred as a result of 800,000 gallons of fuel that leaked from the underground storage tanks during the years in question. Studies show that benzene exposure can increase the risk of certain cancers, including leukemia - cancer caused by an overproduction of damaged white blood cells, by as much as 40 percent.

U.S. and international watchdog groups link benzene exposure to several types of leukemia

Environmental benzene exposure has been associated with a range of acute and long-term adverse health effects and diseases, including cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified benzene as carcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence that the organic chemical compound causes multiple types of leukemia, including:

  • acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

According to the Department of Medicine at Weill Medical College at the Methodist Hospital of Houston, acute myelogenous leukemia has been proven to be caused by benzene.

In fact, in certain cases, our experts can pinpoint genetic damage in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia that is consistent with past benzene exposures.

Evidence obtained from laboratory animal studies have shown low birth weights, delayed bone formation, and bone marrow damage when pregnant animals breathed in benzene.

If you have qualifying service at Camp Lejeune and a current diagnosis of leukemia, we can help with your claim

Instances of industrial discharge, both accidental and deliberate, have caused widespread benzene exposure in entire communities through soil, rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Exposure to dangerous substances is an underestimated hazard associated with active duty service, as those who ingest toxic chemicals may suffer from a variety of medical conditions.

Our mission is to provide professional and efficient legal services to active duty personnel and their immediate family members stationed aboard Camp Lejeune, as well as retired service members in the surrounding area. Consequently, if you were exposed to health-hazardous contaminants at Camp Lejeune, and diagnosed with leukemia, our law firm wants to help you maximize the financial support. Please contact Environmental Litigation Group P.C. for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to learn about your legal rights.