In the Marine Corps’ 1982 investigation of Camp Lejeune, they discovered there were two water treatment plants, Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace, that had a contaminated water supply. After the investigation, thousands of Marines who had served in these areas began to develop severe illnesses.
As The Thumbs Up Guys, we’re here to help explain the contamination areas of Camp Lejeune. This information can help determine if you should seek medical help and file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Where Were the Two Impact Areas?
The two contaminated water treatment plants were located on the edge of Camp Lejeune. Hadnot was about 11 miles from the main base, and Tarawa Terrace was about 16 miles from the camp.
Both of these water treatment plants provided the water supply to most of the family housing, which later imposed great health implications on troops, their families, and the staff that lived on the base. The CDC estimates that the contaminated water made its way into the base and affected about 1 million people.
Of the eight water treatment plants, Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace were the only two that were affected by the water contamination. However, these two impact areas of Camp Lejeune were severe enough to cause lifelong health issues for the base’s inhabitants.
What Chemicals Were Present at the Water Treatment Plants?
Four chemicals in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water led to adverse health effects and conditions. Let’s take a look at the chemicals and where they were found at Camp Lejeune:
This chemical is a colorless liquid that evaporates easily at room temperature. TCE is used in a variety of industrial applications. Its most common purpose is to degrease oils and other film-like substances from metal parts during manufacturing.
TCE was the primary chemical in the Hadnot Point water treatment plant. The wells where the drinking water supply was coming from were contaminated in various ways, such as:
- Leaking storage tanks underground
- Spills in industrial areas
- Sites for waste disposal
Another chemical in the drinking water was Tetrachloroethylene (PCE). PCE is a chemical used in dry-cleaning businesses to clean clothes, but like TCE, manufacturers also use it to remove grease from metal.
The Marine Corps investigation revealed that the contamination at Tarawa Terrace was primarily from PCE. The chemical seeped into the drinking water supply due to a dry cleaning company called ABC One-Hour Cleaners’ negligent waste disposal practices. The dry cleaning company was not in the immediate vicinity of the base, as it was about 17 miles from Camp Lejeune.
Vinyl Chloride (VC)
Vinyl chloride (VC) was also found in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water, leading to harmful health effects. This chemical is formed when TCE, PCE, and another chemical called trichloroethane break down. In our daily lives, we encounter VC, as it’s the base of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is the base of plastic products such as:
- Wire and cable coating
- Packaging materials
- Window frames
The Marine Corps found VC present at Hadnot Point in high concentrations. Like the TCE, the investigation found the chemicals leaked into the water supply through various methods.
The final chemical the investigation uncovered was Benzene. Benzene’s primary use is to make rubber, dyes, drugs, and pesticides, so it’s a very toxic chemical. However, it’s also used to make other chemicals to make plastics and other synthetic materials.
The water that Hadnot Point provided to thousands of troops, families, and employees working at the base, was filled with Benzene. The wells transferred the chemical into the drinking water supply.
How Do the Chemicals Affect the Human Body?
No chemicals present at Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace should be ingested by humans. Unfortunately, the concentration of the harmful chemicals was high enough to cause detrimental health effects.
By knowing about the health effects these chemicals can cause, you can take proactive action to decrease the chances of their effects on your body.
An Overview of Health Effects of the Camp Lejeune Chemicals
PCE is known to negatively affect the kidneys and brain chemistry in animals, but there is no data on how it affects humans. However, the CDC estimates that the chemical can lead to health conditions in humans, such as bladder cancer, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
TCE can cause issues in organ development and affect the nervous system. According to the EPA, exposure to the chemical can cause drowsiness, fatigue, and confusion and mimic the symptoms of being drunk.
Vinyl chloride’s toxicity can cause heart, blood vessels, organs, liver, and immune system issues. According to The National Cancer Institute, people exposed to VC have a higher risk of developing liver, brain, lung, lymphoma, and leukemia.
The last chemical in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water supply, Benzene, can cause numerous health effects on troops’ blood, immune systems, and neurological systems. Unfortunately, these health effects can go unnoticed if you don’t seek the proper medical attention. Our team can help you get medical care if you have trouble finding a doctor.
What Health Conditions Did Troops Suffer After Exposure to the Chemicals?
Due to the toxicity and high concentrations of the chemicals at Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace, residents on the base developed several health conditions. The severe health conditions include:
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Renal cancer
- Parkinson’s Disease
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Immune disorders
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Aplastic anemia (and other bone marrow conditions)
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Brain damage
- Cardiac defects
- Fatty liver disease
- Hepatic steatosis
- Renal toxicity
- Birth defects
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with one of the conditions above, you may be eligible for financial compensation and veterans disability benefits. The Thumbs Up Guys can help you file a lawsuit and send in the paperwork for disability benefits.
Learn More About the Impact Areas of Camp Lejeune
If you or a family member suffered a health condition and they served at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 in an impacted area, you may be eligible for veterans disability benefits and to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. The Thumbs Up Guys at Miller, Dawson, Sigal & Ward Injury Attorneys can help you file by Aug. 10, 2024, the deadline for compensation.
Call us or fill out the contact form on our website today to start working toward compensation.