By Peak Johnson
Victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, now have an opportunity to receive compensation.
The problems at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune have been traced back to 1953 and 1987. During that time members the marines living on the base and their family ingested water that had been heavily contaminated.
The Daily Tribune reported that Rock Larson, Wood County Veterans Service officer, said that “the federal Veterans Administration has declared many forms of cancer suffered by veterans who served there for a total of 30 days were probably caused by the water at the camp.”
Larson added that the different symptoms and cancers include “...breast cancer, adult leukemia, bladder cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Parkinson's disease.”
Authorities theorize that the contamination stems from leaked chemicals via a dry-cleaning business near the base.
Under a new federal rule finalized last month, Military Times reported that “former service members exposed to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune over a 35-year period can now apply for veterans disability benefits.”
The rule “is expected to affect as many as 900,000 veterans and cost more than $2 billion over the next five years.”
In a statement obtained by Military Times, “Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin called the move ‘a demonstration of our commitment to care for those who have served our nation and have been exposed to harm as a result of that service.’”
It was announced earlier this year that “the cash payouts from the Department of Veterans Affairs may supplement VA health care already being provided to eligible veterans stationed at the Marine base.”
North Carolina Health News reported that “The pollutants documented in Lejeune water wells likely increased the risk of many illnesses — including different forms of cancer — among Marines and Naval personnel, their families and civilian workers, say scientists with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.”
“It’s a success but it’s a bittersweet accomplishment. I still get emails and private messages and instagrams and phone calls from all kinds of family members asking: What about us? I don’t know what the hell to tell them,” Jerry Ensminger, a retired Marine master sergeant, said.
For similar stories visit Water Online’s Source Water Contamination Solutions Center.