Posted on July 29th, 2020
Environmental contamination at Camp Lejeune continues to plague thousands of veterans and their families across the country. New evidence is adding support to the theory that cancer-causing chemicals identified at Camp Lejeune can cause severe illnesses, including hepatic angiosarcoma - a rare form of liver cancer.
Veterans who served on active duty in the Armed Forces at Camp Lejeune for 30 or more cumulative days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, may qualify for VA disability compensation and certain medical benefits, following the passage of the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. The evidence must also show they have a current disease and a medical opinion indicating the disease is a result of exposure to harmful substances found at Camp Lejeune.
It's recognized that environmental factors play a role in the development of many types of cancer, including liver cancer. Among these factors is exposure to certain chemicals that contained high levels of toxicity.
Between 1952 and 1987, the wells that supplied two areas of housing at Camp Lejeune were contaminated with volatile organic compounds. Nearly 1 million Marines, sailors, civilian employees, and military family members were potentially exposed to carcinogenic chemicals.
The most prevalent and health-hazardous contaminants identified were:
Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas that evaporates very quickly, and an important industrial chemical chiefly used to produce the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It can enter the soil following improper disposal of chemical wastes. It is classified as a human carcinogen and has been shown to induce liver cancer in rats, mice, hamsters, and humans.
Based on a rat bioassay, a quantitative estimate of human cancer hazard was calculated for exposure to this compound. Both TCE and vinyl chloride identified in Camp Lejeune have toxic effects on the liver, and it has recently been suggested that also cause hepatocellular carcinoma.