Located in Southeastern North Carolina, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was the site of severe and ongoing water contamination for more than 30 years. Now, the men and women who served there, dependents, and former civilian workers are living with the consequences.
Below, we explore the neurological effects of Camp Lejeune, including contaminated water exposure and compensation. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your right to compensation, we encourage you to schedule a free informational meeting with a Mississippi Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney.
A Documented History of Water Contamination
Starting as early as 1953, spillage from a dry-cleaning operation began contaminating Camp Lejeune’s water supply with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Contamination from this and other sources continued for more than three decades before multiple water treatment plants were finally closed in 1987.
Some of the most dangerous contaminants found in the drinking water included:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- 1,2-Dichloroethene (DCE)
Exposure to these and other VOCs has now been linked to a variety of neurological disorders and effects that continue to impact victims to this day.
Neurological Disorders Linked to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Neurological symptoms can be debilitating and life-altering. These effects are so much more than just “in someone’s head.” Someone living with a neurological disorder may experience daily pain, cognitive problems, emotional impairment, chronic fatigue, and more.
Experts have linked multiple neurological disorders to the exposure of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Pregnant parents who were at Camp Lejeune during the periods of contaminated water gave birth to children with certain neurological defects at higher-than-average rates, too. In particular, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has found an increased rate of neural tube defects among children born to parents who drank the base’s contaminated water.
Most neurological disorders are progressive and worsen over time. This can mean years or a lifetime of additional medical care and related costs. For some people, things like working, spending time with friends, and living a normal life become virtually impossible.
Symptoms of Neurological Effects and When To See a Doctor
Anyone who spent a period of 30 cumulative days at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987 is at risk for experiencing the following symptoms of neurological effects:
- Chronic migraines and headaches
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Personality or mood changes
- Involuntary muscle contractions (dystonia)
- Memory problems
- Body tremors (like in the hands, feet, or jaw)
- Changes in speech
- Involuntary facial movements
This is an incomplete list of all possible neurological symptoms a person may experience after being exposed to toxic water.
And, for the nearly one million Marines, dependent family members, and civilian staff who used the contaminated water for eating, drinking, bathing, washing clothes, and other daily activities, this list represents the daily hardships they face.
If you begin experiencing any of the above symptoms, struggle to accomplish tasks you once found easy, or are otherwise not feeling like yourself, you should schedule an appointment with your regular doctor right away. At your appointment, discuss your symptoms with your doctor, and be sure to mention if you or a parent were present at Camp Lejeune during the 30-year window when the drinking water was contaminated with toxic materials.
In the event of a medical emergency, never hesitate to call 911 or go directly to the emergency room. Always schedule a follow-up appointment with your primary care physician.
If you are active duty or a veteran and believe that your condition is related to your military service, you may be able to see a doctor through a VA medical care facility.
Compensation for Victims of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Exposure
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs currently pays VA disability benefits to veterans with at least one of eight presumptive conditions related to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. Parkinson’s disease is the only neurological condition on that list.
VA health care covers a wider range of conditions, including neurobehavioral effects.
More recently, with the passage of the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, the inclusion of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act opened up compensation to a much wider range of victims.
You may qualify for Camp Lejeune water contamination compensation if you:
- Were present at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days between Aug. 1953 and Dec. 1987.
- Developed a medical condition related to water contamination or were born with a medical condition related to water contamination after your parents resided at Camp Lejeune during the prescribed time period.
- Were not dishonorably discharged from the Marines Corps or another branch of the military.
The first step to compensation under the CLJA is to submit a claim with the Department of the Navy. At the conclusion of the review process, your claim will either be approved or denied. If it’s approved, you’ll receive compensation pursuant to your damages. And if your claim is denied, you’ll have the opportunity to file a lawsuit.
Although you have the right to file this lawsuit by yourself, Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, PLLC strongly recommends working with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. This is a historic opportunity to hold the U.S. federal government responsible for its actions, and you’ll need someone with expertise on your side.
Fighting for Victims With Neurological Effects from Camp Lejeune’s Contaminated Water
Long-term contaminated water exposure at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune has put as many as a million people at risk for developing life-altering illnesses, including neurological effects. Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, PLLC know that the people who served our country, their families, and civilian workers deserved better.
If you’re ready to take the first step toward a better future, contact us online or by phone. Our team of legal experts is standing by to speak with you.