Camp Lejeune: Multiple myeloma claims

Camp Lejeune: Multiple myeloma claims video

Every year, over 35,000 people receive a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer. Healthy plasma cells help the body fight infections by releasing antibodies that recognize and attack germs. However, when a person has multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy blood cells. So, rather than producing useful antibodies, the damaged cells produce abnormal proteins that might cause health complications. A major risk factor for multiple myeloma is exposure to benzene, a solvent that lurked in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. According to medical studies, people exposed to benzene while stationed at this military base have a significantly higher risk of developing multiple myeloma than civilians. If you are a veteran who struggles with this disease, we encourage you to contact our attorneys, who specialize in toxic exposure, as you might be entitled to financial compensation.

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Camp Lejeune marines have a 68% higher risk of multiple myeloma than veterans stationed at other military bases

Multiple myeloma

The immune system is comprised of multiple cell types working together to fight infections. Healthy plasma cells reside in the bone marrow and are a very important part of the immune system.

Lymphocytes, also known as lymph cells, are among the main kinds of white blood cells within the immune system and include T cells and B cells.

When B cells respond to infection, they mature and turn into plasma cells, producing antibodies that help your body attack and kill germs. Generally, when plasma cells become malignant and grow out of control, multiple myeloma is diagnosed. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in addition to causing leukemia and lymphoma, benzene exposure can also lead to the development of multiple myeloma. The first cases of acute myelogenous leukemia were reported among workers exposed to high concentrations of benzene in shoe manufacturing and rotogravure plants during the last century.

Because there were reports of another hematologic malignancy, multiple myeloma, in people exposed to benzene, researchers began conducting studies to determine whether benzene might also be involved in the causation of this cancer. Since the benzene metabolites affect hematopoietic stem cells, researchers concluded that it was associated with all lymphohematic cancers, including multiple myeloma.

The major effects of long-term benzene exposure on the blood and blood-forming tissues include the following:

  • depletion of bone marrow cells
  • bone demineralization
  • alterations of red cell function
  • a low white blood cell count

Benzene was one of the solvents present in the environment of Camp Lejeune during the last century. One of the reasons that not a lot of medical studies focus on the causal relation between benzene exposure and multiple myeloma is that this cancer is often grouped with other lymphopoietic cancers in the analysis, such as leukemia and lymphoma. A study from the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology monitored the health of 250,000 petroleum workers, who were regularly exposed to benzene over a period of 55 years, and 205 of these employees eventually developed multiple myeloma.

Trichloroethylene is also risk factor for multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma

In the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency cited Camp Lejeune as "a major polluter", particularly for dumping oil, industrial waste, potentially radioactive materials, and other toxic substances into the storm drain.

A major source of contamination was a nearby dry-cleaning company, ABC One-Hour Cleaners, that dumped into drains sewage waste laden with dangerous solvents, including benzene, for years.

The practices of ABC One-Hour Cleaners continued until the end of the 1980s when the military instituted regulations for properly disposing of hazardous materials. By then, however, over 1.1 million gallons of benzene-containing fuel stored in leaking underground storage tanks had seeped into the soil, and adverse health consequences that came from consuming toxic water at Camp Lejeune started to appear among veterans.

Finally, exposure to trichloroethylene, another solvent present in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune, was also found to be a risk factor for multiple myeloma by a study from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Increasing duration and cumulative exposure to the solvent were associated with a significantly high risk of multiple myeloma, according to the researchers. Moreover, the most consistent results were observed for trichloroethylene, with multiple myeloma risk increasing with greater exposure when low-confidence exposure assignments were considered unexposed.

Our experienced attorneys can help you file a Camp Lejeune toxic water claim for multiple myeloma

If you are a veteran who spent at least one month at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987 and were diagnosed with multiple myeloma, you might be eligible to file a claim. Still, even if you have multiple myeloma, you might not meet the eligibility requirements, which is why it is essential that our skilled attorneys thoroughly review your documents before starting to work on your claim. To initiate the legal process as a veteran, you will have to send our legal team your military records, which you must retrieve, and your medical records stating your diagnosis. We can also help you to file a VA claim.

If we deem you eligible for compensation, our resourceful attorneys will do all in their power to obtain the most favorable outcome for your case. Clients who are too ill to participate in the legal process can ask a family member for help, and our compassionate team will also strive to ease the process by taking care of the most complex aspects on your behalf. If you were stationed at other military bases and developed multiple myeloma, please contact our law firm, as we may also be able to help you. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis, so you will not have to pay anything unless we recover compensation for you.