Posted on August 11th, 2020
Historical concentrations of specific volatile organic compounds and other chemicals found at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune were sufficiently elevated to raise potential health concerns. Vinyl chloride is classified as Group 1 carcinogen by the IARC, with known target sites including the liver, lungs, and connective tissues.
In the early 1980s at the U.S. Marine Corps Base in Lejeune, NC, it was discovered that three on-base wells were contaminated with the volatile organic compounds trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning agent, and vinyl chloride, a widely produced synthetic plastic polymer:
During dry spring/summer months, the Holcomb Boulevard system occasionally required additional resources from the contaminated Hadnot Point system to meet demand. Thus, family housing units in the Holcomb Boulevard system were exposed to dangerous chemicals on a daily basis.
Military service members and their families living or working at the United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were exposed to chemicals that contained high levels of toxicity.
Vinyl chloride is classified as Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), with known target sites including the liver, lungs, and connective tissues.
If you lived or worked at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, you may have been exposed to volatile organic compounds.
Since vinyl chloride is a gas, the primary route of exposure is inhalation. Vinyl chloride is readily absorbed from the lungs.
However, vinyl chloride can enter the soil following the improper disposal of chemical wastes. Because vinyl chloride is a degradation product of trichloroethylene (TCE), the compound can be found in soil that was originally contaminated with TCE.
Potential health effects from long-term exposure to vinyl chloride above the maximum contaminant level:
Animal studies indicate that repeated exposure to vinyl chloride results in a high incidence of bronchioloalveolar adenoma.
Lung cancer, like all forms of cancer, occurs when a cell mutates. The mutated cell does not contain the correct DNA to stop reproduction. Therefore, the body continues to produce mutated cells that eventually form a tumor.