Fatty liver disease caused by toxic exposure on military bases

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on July 28th, 2022

Because over 600 military bases across the country were heavily contaminated with toxic chemicals such as benzene, vinyl chloride, and trichloroethylene, veterans and their family members who lived on these installations are at high risk of developing fatty liver disease, medically known as hepatic steatosis.

As a prevalent condition, fatty liver disease occurs when too much fat accumulates in the liver. When the amount of fat in the liver exceeds 5% to 10% of the organ's weight, fatty liver disease is diagnosed. Over 80 million individuals in the United States have fatty liver disease, and some are not even aware of this condition, as it can be asymptomatic. In severe cases, fatty liver disease can lead to liver damage. The following are some of the complications of untreated fatty liver disease:

  • chronic kidney disease
  • psychological dysfunction
  • colorectal cancer
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • obstructive sleep apnea syndrome
  • periodontitis
  • hypothyroidism
  • growth hormone deficiency
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome

Moreover, fatty liver disease can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver, which, in turn, may cause liver failure and liver cancer. If you were stationed at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, either as military personnel or a family member of one, and developed fatty liver disease, we encourage you to get in touch with our specialized attorneys. They will promptly help you file a Camp Lejeune toxic water claim or lawsuit and a VA claim if you are a veteran.

The link between fatty liver disease and toxic exposure

Recent medical studies found that exposure to PFAS, which have been polluting the environment of military bases since 1966, is associated with fatty liver disease. In a 2022 analysis published in the medical journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers evaluated over 100 studies and discovered that PFAS exposure is largely correlated with a higher level of enzymes, which is a hallmark of fatty liver disease. The review focused on liver damage, which includes fatty liver disease, associated with the most studied PFAS, namely:

  • PFOA
  • PFOS
  • PFNA

Once inside the body, PFAS act as endocrine disruptors, interfering with hormone systems. Because of their chemical structure, they can also harm the body by mimicking fatty acids. "It's possible that PFAS activate some of the same receptors that fatty acids do, which could lead to fat accumulation or inflammation in the liver in a similar way that an unhealthy diet would," Liz Costello, MPH and co-author of the paper, said. Exposure to PFAS is linked to other biomarkers of fatty liver disease, too, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and uric acid.

Our law firm offers quality assistance to toxic exposure victims who spent time on military bases

For over 25 years, our skilled attorneys have been providing legal assistance to people whose health was affected by toxic exposure. If you were stationed at a contaminated military base and subsequently developed a disease due to toxic exposure, we advise you to contact us, as you are most likely eligible for compensation and VA benefits. To file a claim as a veteran, you will have to retrieve your military records and your medical records and send these documents to our attorneys.

If you are the family member of a veteran who was stationed with them at a polluted military base and want to seek compensation, we will need proof of your stay at the military base in question and your medical records. After we thoroughly assess your case, we will determine whether you qualify for filing a claim and if you do, our attorneys will begin preparing it for submission as soon as possible. Eventually, we will present you with the financial compensation you deserve.