Contaminated water at Camp Lejeune
BY TAMMY WALTERS
Oneida County Veterans Service Officer
In the early 1980s, contaminants were found in two wells that provided water at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The contaminants included the volatile organic compounds trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser; perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning agent; vinyl chloride; benzene; and other compounds. It is estimated that the contaminants were in the water supply from the mid-1950s until February 1985 when the wells were shut down. There is evidence of an association between certain diseases and the contaminants found in the water supply at Camp Lejeune during the period of contamination.
The VA has published regulations to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. The presumption of service connection applies to active duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987 and are diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
• Adult leukemia
• Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
• Bladder cancer
• Kidney cancer
• Liver cancer
• Multiple myeloma
• Non-hodgkin’s lymphoma
• Parkinson’s disease
Environmental health experts in VA’s technical work group conducted comprehensive reviews of scientific evidence, which included analysis and research done by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program, and the National Academies of Science. Veterans with 30 or more cumulative days of active duty service at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period are already eligible for certain medical benefits following passage of the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. The final rule was published in the Federal Register Jan. 12, 2017 and is effective March 14.
Tammy Walters can be reached at (715) 369-6127 or [email protected]. Jason Dailey, Assistant CVSO, can be reached at the same number or [email protected]. Or you can contact us via Facebook at www.facebook.com/oneidacvso.