By now, it is known that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was heavily contaminated with toxic chemicals, including many industrial solvents, during the last century. As many as one million people lived at the military base during those 34 years. Today, everyone who spent time at Camp Lejeune risks developing cancer.
Between 1953 and 1987, the drinking water at two of the eight plants of Camp Lejeune had a trichloroethylene level exceeding the safe exposure limit by 280 and a perchloroethylene level eclipsing it by 43 times. The chemicals known as PFOS and PFOA, which have been shown to cause many cancers, were also lurking in the drinking water in a concentration that was 2,562 times over the current safe exposure limit. It is estimated that roughly 500,000 individuals who stayed at Camp Lejeune will develop a serious disease as a consequence of drinking toxic water.
The following are other cancers these people might develop. Still, it is important to know that if you have one of these diagnoses, we will not be able to help you file a claim, as there is no strong association between these diseases and toxic exposure at the moment.
- Thyroid cancer: As a rare cancer affecting the thyroid gland, a small organ at the base of the neck, thyroid cancer is diagnosed in nearly 44,000 people in the U.S. every year. Medical studies have found a connection between solvent exposure, which occurred at Camp Lejeune, and thyroid cancer, but more research is necessary to establish a definitive association. Timely diagnosis is crucial when it comes to this disease, as when thyroid cancer is found in the early phase, the survival rate is 75%. However, if it spreads to distant organs, it drops to 40%. It is worthy of note that medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancers are more likely to spread.
- Skin cancer: This is the most common cancer in the country, with 9,500 people receiving this diagnosis every day. A medical study found little evidence of associations between chlorinated solvents and cancer, but this does not mean that exposure to these chemicals might not contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Some of these solvents were present in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune during the last century due to improper use and disposal by a nearby dry-cleaning firm known as ABC One-Hour Cleaners. Furthermore, service members would clean up weapons and equipment with products containing solvents.
- Testicular cancer: The lifetime risk of developing testicular cancer is 1 in 250, which makes it a rare cancer. Nevertheless, exposure to PFAS on military bases such as Camp Lejeune is associated with a high risk of coming to struggle with this disease. More specifically, PFOA is linked to an increased risk of testicular cancer, according to limited evidence, so more research needs to be carried out in this respect. Often, military firefighters would use the fire suppressant AFFF to put out jet fuel and petroleum fires, a fire suppressant that sometimes contains up to 98% of these harmful chemicals. Consequently, military firefighters have the highest testicular cancer risk, although PFAS were also lurking in the drinking water.
- Endometrial cancer: Over 66,000 American women are diagnosed with endometrial cancer every year. Although solvents are considered endocrine disruptors, the only study to date to specifically address solvent exposure and endometrial cancer detected no association, but new studies are being carried out to assess the association between the two. Exposure to PFAS is another risk factor for the disease, as the chemical PFOA is endocrine-disrupting and was found to enhance human endometrial cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro. Therefore, if you are a female veteran or the spouse of a male veteran who spent time at Camp Lejeune, you should be on the lookout for the signs of endometrial cancer just to be on the safe side.
If you have one of the above cancers, we encourage you to contact our experienced attorneys, as they specialize in toxic exposure cases. While they might not be able to offer you legal assistance at the moment, these diagnoses might become qualifying diseases that could allow you to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and to receive disability compensation from the VA if you are a veteran. Our skilled legal team will carefully review your case to determine whether we can offer you assistance if these cancers become qualifying diagnoses in the future.
Quality legal assistance for Camp Lejeune toxic water exposure victims