If you are a veteran or a veterans’ advocate, you probably have heard the name Camp LeJeune in the last few years. At the law offices of Attorney Sean Kendall, we have received numerous calls recently from veterans and/or their families about disabilities related to Camp LeJeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp in North Carolina where veterans and their family members were exposed to contaminated water between 1953 and 1987.
As the Providence Journal reported earlier this week, “The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that it will begin amending its regulations to cover more conditions affecting veterans exposed to contaminated drinking water.” In the past few years VA has admitted that at least 15 conditions are related to bathing in and drinking contaminated water at Camp LeJeune, including neurobehavioral effects; miscarriage and infertility; several types of cancer; leukemia and other conditions. As the Providence Journal article states (article no longer available), the chemicals veterans their families were exposed to at Camp LeJeune include “benzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, which are known as volatile organic compounds used in industrial solvents and fuel components.”
Since President Barack Obama’s signing of the Janey Ensminger Act in 2012, ringing in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs effort to compensate veterans and their families for conditions related to the water at Camp LeJeune, those who spent 30 days or more at Camp LeJeune between August 1, 53 and December 1, 1987 have been provided healthcare services from VA if they suffer from one or more of the 15 presumptive conditions. The VA announcement this month thankfully takes things a step further, beginning the process to provide disability compensation, and not just healthcare, to veterans who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp LeJeune.
As respected veterans’ attorney Gregory Rada (Denver) noted recently, the conditions VA is currently considering for presumptive service connection include “kidney cancer, angiosarcoma of the liver, and acute myelogenous leukemia.” Rada goes on to explain, “The VA says it is also reviewing scientific research regarding the chemicals [in Camp LeJeune’s contaminated water] to see if any other medical conditions warrant presumptive service connection.”
Not unlike veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange, or even (as the recent news showed) mustard gas, veterans and their families exposed to contaminated water at Camp LeJeune should contact a veterans’ attorney or accredited veterans’ representative immediately if there is any chance they suffer from a condition, or conditions, related to water at the camp. If you have any questions about this issue, or need help filing a Camp LeJeune-related claim, do not hesitate to contact the office of Attorney Sean Kendall at 877-629-1712.