Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Water from the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant and the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant has been found to be contaminated primarily by two toxic chemicals. These facilities supplying water to the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina were contaminated with volatile organic compounds. The period of this contamination lasted from 1953 through 1987. Those potentially at-risk for illness as a result of the contamination include Marines, their families and civilian employees who were on base anytime between 1953 and 1987.
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Causes of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
The Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant was contaminated by perchloroethylene (PCE), a colorless liquid most commonly used for dry cleaning. The source of this contamination was found to be the waste disposal practices of an off-base dry cleaning company. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, the PCE levels at the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant had during that time exceeded current standards by great amounts, dating back to the 1950s.
At the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant, the water was contaminated by trichloroethylene (TCE), a volatile anesthetic. Underground storage tank leaks, industrial area spills and water disposal sites are believed to have been the sources of the TCE contamination.
Diseases Linked to Contaminated Water Exposure
There has been suggestive evidence of extended exposure to PCE or TCE causing serious illness or death, including:
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Lung cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Liver disease
- Birth defects
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry released the findings of a study. The study, which was originated 20 years ago, concluded that children born to mothers who drank the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were four times more likely to suffer birth defects, such as spina bifida. These babies also had a slightly elevated risk of childhood cancers, such as leukemia.
Mercury Found in Camp Lejeune Water
A substantial amount of elemental mercury was found at the Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant at Camp Lejeune in 2012. The water plant was offline for several weeks to clean up the mercury. Officials believe that the possible source of the mercury contamination was water pressure meters containing elemental mercury that were removed from the plant in the ’80s.
Some common side effects of mercury exposure can include a metallic taste in the mouth, coughing, vision problems, nausea, and an increase in blood pressure.
Pregnant women and new mothers can pass mercury on to their unborn and newborn children. Young children are also more likely to become exposed to mercury vapors as they breathe faster and have smaller lungs than adults.
Camp Lejeune Contamination Chemical Waste
Camp Lejeune was home to those serving the United States Marine Corps as well as family members who lived on the base. During this time, these people were ingesting and bathing in tap water every day that was contaminated with dangerous chemicals. Years later, these former base residents and their families began to see a development of cancer and other health issues.
Some of those residents who lived on the Camp Lejeune base and drank the contaminated water stated they believed officials knew about the presence of dangerous chemical substances within the tap water. These allegations led to further investigations to determine who in fact was aware of the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
If you or someone you know has been affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue, you may be entitled to compensation for past, current and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of quality of life, and much more. Don’t delay and call our team of lawyers, we are standing by now for your free consultation.