Does Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Cause Heart Disease?
Possibly, yes. Heart disease is not one of the conditions recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as being linked to toxic water. However, many veterans and their families developed heart disease after exposure to contaminated water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
“Walter died at the age of 25 from heart disease. … Wayne died a few years ago from pulmonary emboli, and within three months of his brother Wayne’s death, John suddenly was diagnosed with the same ailment. All three were stationed at Camp Lejeune.” — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Thankfully, those affected can pursue justice thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. You may qualify if you were exposed to Camp Lejeune water for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 and later got sick. Learn if you qualify to file a Camp Lejeune claim now.
VA Benefit Denials: Camp Lejeune Toxic Water and Correlation to Heart Disease
Tragically, there are far too many accounts of veterans who were denied VA benefits. This includes cases where Camp Lejeune water contamination and heart disease are linked.
In one denial that was appealed and ultimately granted, a veteran was diagnosed with coronary artery disease with bypass surgery and deep venous thrombosis. The veteran was only 30 years old. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals decided in his favor and granted him benefits.
“Accordingly, in resolving all reasonable doubt in favor of the Veteran, service connection for coronary artery disease, renal insufficiency, and hypercoagulable state with anemia due to in-service exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, is granted.” — Board of Veterans’ Appeals, 2014
Sadly, this is not how most Camp Lejeune disability compensation claims have played out over the years. Most have resulted in repeated denials by the VA, causing immense frustration and financial hardship for veterans and their family members.
North Carolina Health News reported that a group of Marines petitioned for a health registry for cases where Camp Lejeune water contamination caused heart disease or other health problems.
Veterans have contacted the news outlet to report their experiences:
“My father, along with many other civilian employees, helped build Camp Lejeune. … My father died in 1960 due to heart disease.”
“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 later with lung problems. My daughter was born with a hole in her stomach. In 1981 my wife died with a heart valve problem. My daughter to this day has stomach problems. … 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.”
“[I was] born in Lejeune in . I have had really bad acid reflux since I was 7 that I take over-the-counter meds for daily, mostly because I just didn’t get a prescription. I was also born with a heart murmur.”
What Caused the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
The groundwater at Camp Lejeune was toxic between 1953 and 1987 due to two contaminated on-base water supply systems — Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point.
The contamination is linked to a nearby dry cleaning business and regular base operations. Additionally, an ongoing fuel leak hidden from service members by the U.S. Marine Corps contributed to Camp Lejeune’s water contamination problems.
“And by 1988, neither the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] nor the state had yet been told about what may have been one of the biggest threats to base water — storage tanks that had leaked thousands of gallons of fuel into the earth.” — Tampa Bay Times
Camp Lejeune’s contaminated drinking water wells were identified and shut down by February 1985. Since the late 1980s, the federal government’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has been evaluating the health risks from Camp Lejeune’s water. The official report was released in 2017.
What Chemicals Were in Camp Lejeune Water?
The ATSDR has identified several toxic chemicals in Camp Lejeune’s water systems.
These chemicals included:
- Dichloroethylene (DCE)
- Tetrachloroethylene — also known as perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- Other contaminants
There is not yet an established connection between Camp Lejeune water contamination and heart disease. However, the ATSDR recognizes that TCE exposure can cause cardiac defects.
Marines and Navy personnel and their loved ones have long since believed that the toxic water at Camp Lejeune is responsible for far more than the government is letting on.
Thankfully, relief may finally be available for all conditions, not just the short list of those the government will acknowledge.
What Camp Lejeune Water Chemicals Are Linked With Heart Disease?
In a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), major heart defects were linked to TCE-contaminated drinking water. Therefore, it is believed that the Camp Lejeune water contamination and heart disease link may be due to TCE.
TCE is a human-made organic chemical. It is used as a degreasing solvent and to make refrigerants. It is also used by commercial dry cleaners.
What Other Health Issues Did Camp Lejeune Water Cause?
There are many Camp Lejeune water contamination health issues.
Health effects linked with Camp Lejeune water include:
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Birth defects
- Cancer, such as bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Childhood illnesses, such as leukemia
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Miscarriage and fetal death in pregnant women
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Parkinson’s disease
- Renal toxicity
- Other health conditions
Many Camp Lejeune contaminated water health issues are chronic, causing lifetime suffering for victims. Additionally, some may not show up until decades after exposure, leaving victims unaware that their illnesses were caused by Camp Lejeune’s toxic water.
Can I File a Camp Lejeune Heart Disease Lawsuit?
Thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, anyone who worked or lived on the base for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 may soon be able to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
This is groundbreaking news since Camp Lejeune victims have only been eligible to apply for VA benefits, with most claims being denied. A lawsuit could award you and your family with compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and much more. This is in addition to any VA benefits you or your loved one may have already received.
Additionally, those eligible can file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit even if they have been denied disability benefits in the past. But don’t wait to take action — lawsuits are subject to deadlines, and you do not want to miss your chance to finally get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Camp Lejeune Heart Disease Claim?
Camp Lejeune water contamination heart disease victims might worry that they are ineligible if their exposure occurred long ago. Others may think that since their loved one has already passed away, they will not qualify to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how far back exposure was. Eligible victims may still be able to receive a Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement. Family members of victims who have died may also qualify for compensation.
However, there may be time limits at play. Further, laws called statutes of limitations place strict deadlines on lawsuits. The laws vary by state and should be taken very seriously.
Find a Camp Lejeune Heart Disease Law Firm
Because the laws allowing Camp Lejeune lawsuits are so new, there is still a lot of uncertainty. For this reason, it is critical to work with a qualified Camp Lejeune heart disease law firm.
The best Camp Lejeune water law firms are:
- Involved in the fight to get justice for Camp Lejeune water supply victims
- Law firms who have handled class actions or mass tort litigation claims
- Personal injury firms that have experience on a national level
- Staffed with VA-accredited lawyers with experience handling toxic exposure lawsuits
Get connected with a top Camp Lejeune heart disease law firm now. The Camp Lejeune Claims Center helps victims in all 50 states at no upfront costs.
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.