Did Camp Lejeune Water Cause Birth Defects?
Possibly, yes. The toxic drinking water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune put pregnant women and their babies at risk of severe health conditions. According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the drinking water at Camp Lejeune is linked with serious birth defects.
The CDC study surveyed almost 13,000 parents of children born at the base between 1968 and 1985.
“Babies born to mothers who drank the tap water while pregnant were four times more likely than women in similar circumstances who did not consume the water to have such serious birth defects as spina bifida.” – CBS News
Additionally, babies whose mothers were exposed to the contaminated drinking water were more likely to develop neural tube defects (NTDs), such as anencephaly (when parts of the brain and skull are missing). They were also at higher risk for cancer and oral clefts.
Thankfully, you can pursue justice and financial aid for birth defects linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 has opened the doors for those harmed by the base’s toxic water to get compensation.
Find out if you qualify to file a Camp Lejeune water claim now.
What Chemicals Were in Camp Lejeune Water that Caused Birth Problems?
Chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were released into two of Camp Lejeune’s water supply systems — Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point.
The chemicals found in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water include:
- Dichloroethylene (DCE)
- Tetrachloroethylene — also known as perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- Other contaminants
Camp Lejeune water contamination is primarily linked to an off-base dry cleaning business and an on-base fuel depot that leaked thousands of gallons of fuel into the water system over time.
Which Camp Lejeune Water Chemicals Are Linked to Birth Defects?
Sadly, any toxic chemicals found in Camp Lejeune’s water could have caused birth defects.
The CDC reports that different problems are linked to which chemical(s) the mother was exposed to and at what point during the pregnancy the exposure occurred.
To follow are highlights of the study’s findings:
- TCE: Women exposed during the first trimester were more likely to give birth to a baby with heart problems, immune system disorders, and NTDs
- Benzene: Women exposed in the first trimester were more likely to have a child with NTD
- PCE: Pregnant women exposed during the second trimester were more likely to have a premature birth
- PCE, vinyl chloride, or DCE: Babies who were exposed in utero were more likely to develop leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
Camp Lejeune Birth Defects: Holcomb Boulevard Water Treatment Plant
It is often believed that using water from the Holcomb Boulevard water treatment plant at Camp Lejeune did not put people at risk. However, sometimes contaminated water from Hadnot Point was used when the Holcomb plant was offline.
“During brief periods when the Holcomb Boulevard WTP [water treatment plant] was shut down and the water source was the Hadnot Point WTP, pregnant women were exposed to levels of TCE that could have harmed their baby’s health.” — The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Pregnant women living in the Holcomb Boulevard area were at risk during:
- June 1978
- April 1981
- January 28 to February 4, 1985
Further, pregnant women who used the water from Hadnot Point between 1972 to 1985 were exposed to TCE.
Which Birth Defects Are Linked With Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
Sample sizes are relatively small, and medical records from long ago are hard to track down.
However, there’s a link between Camp Lejeune water contamination and many birth defects.
Known Camp Lejeune water contamination birth defects include:
- Fetal death
- Heart problems
- Immune system disorders
- Low birth weight
- Major congenital malformations
- Neural tube birth defects (spina bifida and anencephaly)
- Oral cleft defects (including cleft lip)
The exact number of birth defects linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination may never be known. However, military and civilian personnel who lived or worked at the base are all too familiar with Camp Lejeune water birth defects.
“I had two children born there at the hospital; both at seven months. We were there from 1972 to 1976. Joe died less than thirty days with lung problems. My daughter was born with a hole in her stomach. … I also had another daughter born in 1979 without a spinal cord, which I believe was caused by residual effects of my wife’s contamination.” — U.S. Marine Corps veteran, 2021
Camp Lejeune Water and Pregnant Women
Sadly, pregnant women living at Camp Lejeune are often some of the forgotten victims of the tragedy. Women living on the base as far back as the 1950s were unknowingly putting their unborn babies at risk.
Drinking the toxic water wasn’t the only way pregnant women were exposed. They also risked exposure by washing dishes, bathing, and even swimming.
According to the ATSDR, higher rates of birth defects are linked with in utero exposure to PCE, TCE, and benzene. This includes miscarriage and fetal death. Even with this known link, countless women have faced repeated VA claim denials and have felt as though they were pushed aside.
“There’s a cemetery at Camp Lejeune called ‘Baby Heaven.’ Here, you’ll find gravestones of babies who were born with leukemia, babies born without craniums, and babies born with cleft palates and spines protruding out of their backs. They were born — and many died — with unimaginable birth defects.” — North Carolina Health News
A U.S. Navy wife who lived at Camp Lejeune suffered the stillbirth of her son after a complication-free pregnancy recounts sadly, “I know I asked over 30 attorneys. Not one of them would take the case. For me, it’s about justice.”
It is important not to give up hope. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act may offer the long-awaited opportunity for women who were pregnant at Camp Lejeune to get justice and financial aid.
While the money will never undo decades of pain and suffering, it can provide the closure needed for healing to begin.
Babies Born at Camp Lejeune
People born at Camp Lejeune when the water was contaminated may not even know their illnesses were caused by toxic water. These victims may have faced a lifetime of chronic conditions and suffering.
For one man, the damages his Camp Lejeune water contamination exposure caused were not evident for decades. It wasn’t until age 39 that the man was diagnosed with male breast cancer, considered a rare disease, especially for someone so young. His cancer went into remission, but only after a radical mastectomy, aggressive chemotherapy, and a lifetime of suffering.
Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Thankfully, if you were born at Camp Lejeune between 1953 to 1987, you may have newly available legal rights.
Our advocates are standing by 24 hours a day to talk with you about your eligibility. After decades of waiting, justice for Camp Lejeune water contamination birth defects may finally be here.
Connect with one of our trained Camp Lejeune claims advocates now at (866) 473-4764.
What Other Health Issues Did Camp Lejeune Water Cause?
Camp Lejeune water contamination birth defects are not the only health conditions children endured due to the toxic drinking water.
Infants and children exposed to Camp Lejeune’s toxic water may have also experienced:
- Aplastic anemia
- Childhood cancers (Childhood leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma)
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ear infections
- Hearing impairments
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Heart defects
- Kidney problems
- Learning and developmental disabilities
- Liver problems
- Low birth weight
- Respiratory infections
- Speech impairments
- Spina bifida
- Spinal meningitis
- Unexplained high fevers
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Who Can File a Camp Lejeune Birth Defects Claim?
In the past, eligibility to get relief from Camp Lejeune toxic water injuries has been limited. Veterans and their family members have faced repeated denials, leaving them frustrated and financially overwhelmed with medical bills.
However, thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, anyone who lived or worked on the base for at least 30 days from 1953 to 1987 may now qualify to receive compensation. This includes claims involving Camp Lejeune water contamination linked to birth defects now that a link has been established.
“Water pollution at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina has been linked to increased risk of birth defects and childhood cancers.” — Scientific American
If you were pregnant while living at Camp Lejeune, were born on the base, or lived there as a child, you may have a Camp Lejeune birth defect claim.
Even if you have been told you do not qualify in the past, you may be entitled to compensation.
Connect with our Camp Lejeune claims advocates without delay to file your claim.
VA Benefits for Camp Lejeune Water Birth Defects
In 2015, the ATSDR recommended to the VA Committee that neural tube defects be eligible for VA benefits. While this helped some families, many received no support.
The VA determined female infertility and miscarriage did not qualify victims for disability coverage. Women who suffered the mental anguish of miscarriages or stillbirths have been left with little relief from the VA. This may soon change due to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
Even if your spouse or family members are already receiving benefits or were denied, women who were pregnant at Camp Lejeune may be newly eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination birth defects claim.
Camp Lejeune Birth Defects Lawsuits
Women who were pregnant on the base and people born on the base who suffered health issues may soon be able to file a Camp Lejeune birth defect lawsuit.
This includes women who lost pregnancies and people born on the base between 1953 to 1987 when the Camp Lejeune water was contaminated. Because of the chronic and lifelong challenges that come with a birth injury, victims may be entitled to life-changing amounts of money.
However, it is important to act without delay. Connect with a qualified Camp Lejeune law firm to find out if you are eligible.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Camp Lejeune Birth Defect Claim?
Legal claims involving birth injuries tend to be complex. They are also governed by a strict set of deadlines called statutes of limitations, which vary by state.
In addition to the statute of limitations, time limits will likely be placed around how long victims have to file lawsuits for Camp Lejeune water birth defects.
For these reasons, working with an experienced law firm that knows how to handle Camp Lejeune water contamination birth defects lawsuits is critical.
Find a Camp Lejeune Birth Defect Law Firm
Finding a qualified Camp Lejeune birth defect law firm is an important decision. While some people think they should hire a law firm based in North Carolina where the base is, that is not necessarily the case. Another common error is thinking you will need a lawyer near you.
Despite what you may hear, the best Camp Lejeune birth defect law firms are those who have years, or decades, of experience handling medical malpractice claims involving birth injuries. They should also be able to handle cases nationally and experience in class action lawsuits and mass tort litigation.
Top Camp Lejeune birth defect law firms also have access to a wide arsenal of resources, such as top doctors, registered nurses, and other medical experts who can review your claim.
Choosing the right Camp Lejeune lawyer could be the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars. The decision on who to hire should be taken very seriously.
Connect with an experienced law firm today to discuss your Camp Lejeune birth defect claim. Our trained Camp Lejeune claims advocates are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions.
Contact us now at (866) 473-4764 to speak with an advocate.