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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.
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.
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:
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.