What Happens When You’re Continuously Exposed to Contaminated Water?

Between 1953 and 1987, contamination spread among the residents of Camp Lejeune and other surrounding properties. Chemicals permeated the water supply, leading to devastating results.

Multiple signs point to government officials being aware of the situation for years without acting. Routine lab testing indicated that the water was highly contaminated. Many such warnings fell on deaf ears. Veterans and their families lived at this site for weeks, months, and even years. They were drinking, bathing, and cooking with water containing toxic, cancer-causing chemicals. With prolonged exposure came adverse side effects and eventually the development of deadly diseases.

The residents of Camp Lejeune began being diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, sometimes several years after they left. The diagnoses included leukemia, bladder cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, scleroderma, and Parkinson’s disease. Children were born on site with defects, some not living for long. Miscarriages were a common occurrence as well as infertility.

The worst part is that the victims did not know about the toxic water for years, and that many might have been saved if action was taken sooner.

How Do You Know If You’ve Been Affected?

Various sections of the affected site were contaminated, all with differing chemicals. This is because there were multiple sources for the contaminants. The more prevalent chemicals found in the water supply were trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC) and benzene. Each of these chemicals are colorless and known to be toxic when ingested and/or inhaled.

Continuous exposure to trichloroethylene or TCE results in headaches, vertigo, cognitive decline, insomnia, and digestive issues. TCE can result in kidney disease, heart and liver problems, kidney, liver, and prostate cancer along with birth defects in children as a result of long-term exposure. The results of intaking TCE can take years to show up, making it a challenge for doctors to connect it with its cause.

Tetrachloroethylene or PCE also results in headaches, vertigo, cognitive issues, and nausea upon immediate exposure to large quantities. Chronic intake of this chemical results in anxiety, irritability, fatigue, loss of concentration and short-term memory. Finally, when exposed long enough, PCE results in cancer, leukemia, lack of fertility and birth defects. Even immediate exposure may result in permanent cognitive impairment.

Regular vinyl chloride or VC exposure symptoms can range from headaches and insomnia to blood platelet disorders, liver diseases and cancer before long-term exposure is reached. Exposure over a longer period worsens these side effects, resulting in cancers, reproductive challenges and developmental problems in children.

Immediate symptoms of benzene exposure result in convulsions as well as similar early warning symptoms previously described. Continual intake results in anemia, decreased immunity, and difficulties with fertility, including irregular periods and decreased ovary size in women. These symptoms eventually escalate into cancer, an inability to get pregnant, and a higher risk of birth defects. Much like TCE, benzene can linger for years once exposed. An intense enough exposure can result in death.

If any of these symptoms or the below referenced diseases are present in either you or a loved one as a result of exposure at Camp Lejeune, you may be entitled to compensation.

What Can You Expect from a Lawsuit?

Any worker, veteran, or family member who has lived, served, or worked at Camp Lejeune for over 30 days may be eligible. The affected individual(s) must prove they lived, served and/or worked on the contamination site between August 1st, 1953, and December 31st, 1987.

Proof is necessary in the form of proof of residence, military service records, medical records, records of disability/compensation benefits, travel records, and healthcare information. Veterans must prove they lack any dishonorable discharge. Family members of veterans will also need to provide proof via military service records. If someone was exposed to the referenced toxins prior to birth, they must have a birth date on or before 1988 to qualify.

Any of the conditions listed below qualify in conjunction with the above referenced requirements:

Leukemia; Aplastic Anemia and Other Myelodysplastic Syndromes; Appendix Cancer; Brain Cancer; Bile Duct Cancer; Colorectal Cancer; Gallbladder Cancer; Intestinal Cancer; Pancreatic Cancer; Prostate Cancer; Sinus Cancer; Bladder Cancer; Esophageal Cancer; Kidney Cancer; Liver Cancer; Lung Cancer; Spinal Cancer; Thyroid Cancer; Breast Cancer; Multiple Myeloma; Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; Parkinson’s Disease; Renal Failure (Permanent); Scleroderma; Soft Tissue Sarcoma; Hepatic Steatosis; Birth Defects; Miscarriage; Female Infertility; Neurobehavioral Effects; Other Cancers; and Death

A diagnosis of one or more of the illnesses listed is necessary for both eligibility and measuring the damages incurred. Having a strong legal counsel is important for determining these factors. Everybody’s case is different. Settlement values are calculated based on the type of illness, the amount of damage inflicted from exposure, length of time of exposure, medical bills, loss of income, emotional distress, amount of pain and suffering and more. A skilled lawyer will examine your case to ascertain the best possible compensation for your injuries and fight for your mass tort claim to be heard.

The Licatesi Law Group is Here to Help!

If you or a loved one spent 30 or more days at Camp Lejeune and became seriously ill as a result, you could be entitled to reimbursement. Years went by as many individuals’ claims were dismissed and ignored. Now, in light of the PACT Act and Camp Lejeune Justice Act being signed, your voice may be heard. The Licatesi Law Group has over 40 years of experience fighting for victims’ benefit. We are here to help you get the most out of your case. Contact us at for a free consultation.