Scleroderma caused by toxic exposure on military bases

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on July 28th, 2022

Scleroderma refers to a group of rare diseases entailing skin hardening and tightening. This health condition occurs when there is overproduction and accumulation of collagen in body tissues. Toxic exposure is one of the risk factors for scleroderma, and individuals who spent time at a contaminated military base may develop it.

Unfortunately, scleroderma is the most fatal of all rheumatologic diseases. There are currently 125,000 people in the United States who struggle with this condition. Scleroderma develops when the immune system attacks the connective tissue under the skin and around internal organs and the blood vessels, which results in scarring and thickening of the skin in those areas. It falls under the category of autoimmune diseases. Usually, the most affected organs in scleroderma are the lungs and kidneys. The complications of scleroderma include:

  • loss of blood flow to the fingers
  • high blood pressure in the lungs
  • kidney failure
  • scar tissue in the lungs
  • muscle inflammation
  • infection

There is currently no known cure for scleroderma, and the condition typically develops mostly in women between the ages of 30 and 50. It is worthy of note that scleroderma may not be visible to the naked eye. The connection between the immune system and scleroderma is intensely studied by medical researchers at the moment in the hope of finding more effective treatments. Among the risk factors for this health condition is toxic exposure. So, if you were stationed at Camp Lejeune, which was heavily contaminated, between 1953 and 1987 and came to struggle with scleroderma, you should contact our law firm, as you may be entitled to compensation.

The link between scleroderma and toxic exposure

Scleroderma can be triggered by numerous toxic chemicals, such as solvents. Military bases across the country have been severely polluted with solvents such as perchloroethylene, benzene, and trichloroethylene. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that exposure to paint thinners such as toluene, acetone, and xylene was associated with scleroderma in women. These chemicals were also present in the environment of military bases in tremendous concentrations. Other toxic chemicals that might have been present on military bases linked to scleroderma are:

  • methane
  • dieseline
  • heptane
  • toluidine
  • vinyl chloride
  • xylidene

A study from Arthritis Research & Therapy presents the case of a 47-year-old woman who was exposed to trichloroethylene over a period of 2.5 hours. During the next few days, she developed fatigue and a pruritic macular rash over the exposed areas. Four months later, she experienced fatigue, muscle pain, joint stiffness, and skin tightness in her hands. Within the next five months, she developed increased skin tightness and systemic involvement in her esophagus, kidneys, and lungs. Ten months after her initial exposure to trichloroethylene, she died of pulmonary failure.

Our resourceful attorneys will help you recover compensation if you are a toxic exposure victim

Since 1990, we have been pursuing compensation on behalf of toxic exposure victims, and many of our clients are veterans. If you were stationed at a contaminated military base and subsequently developed a disease associated with toxic exposure, we strongly encourage you to get in touch with our experienced attorneys, as you are most likely eligible to file a claim. Veterans who want to initiate the legal process must retrieve their military records and their medical records and send these documents to our attorneys.

If you are the family member of a veteran who lived with them at a military base and have this diagnosis, you can also file a claim. All we will need from you is evidence of your stay at the military base in question and your medical records. Following a thorough review of your case, we will decide whether you qualify for compensation and if you do, our legal team will begin preparing your claim for submission as soon as possible. In the end, you will receive the money you deserve for your suffering.