Camp Lejeune Cancer Risks From Contaminated Water Outlined in Landmark CDC Study

New research indicates veterans and civilian employees stationed at Camp Lejeune face an increased risk of multiple types of cancer from contaminated water between the 1950s and 1980s.

New findings from a long awaited study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the cancer risks from Camp Lejeune water contamination, which plagued the Marine Corps base between the mid-1950s and late-1980s, indicating that former service members and employees exposed to the contaminated water may face a 20% higher risk of developing certain blood and organ cancers.

The CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released the results of its latest Camp Lejeune Cancer Incidence Study on their website yesterday, confirming Marines and Navy personnel stationed at Camp Lejeune during the water contamination crisis were found to be at an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma, as well as for cancers of the lung, breast, larynx, esophagus, thyroid, and soft tissues.

The study is one of the largest of its kind to ever be performed in the United States, and adds overwhelming support to the thousands of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits now being pursued by veterans, civilian employees and family members who were exposed to trichloroethylene and other industrial solvents that polluted the base’s drinking water for decades.

Camp Lejeune Administrative Claims and Lawsuits

Approximately 18 months ago, President Joe Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CJLA) of 2022 into law, which opened a two-year window for veterans, military family members and other individuals who served at Camp Lejeune to file a lawsuit against the U.S. government for injuries and diseases caused by exposure to contaminated water on the base between 1953 and 1985.

With many of these claims having been previously denied under qualified immunity defenses and the North Carolina Statute of Repose, at least 164,136 marines and their family members have now filed administrative claims with the U.S. Navy under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which requires each claimant to notify the Navy of their claim and wait at least 180 days before filing a lawsuit.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

Suffer From Health Issues Due To The Water At Camp Lejeune?

Water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 caused cancers, birth defects, miscarriages and other side effects for U.S. Marines and their family members.

Learn More About this Lawsuit See If You Qualify For Compensation

An additional 1,492 Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which has been granted exclusive jurisdiction over the litigation, which involves a wide range of different cancers and other injuries linked to chemicals in the water.

While the U.S. government has previously acknowledged that Camp Lejeune’s water contamination can cause certain types of cancer, and has established an elective Camp Lejeune settlement option for specific types of injuries, such as as kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, bladder cancer, multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease and systemic sclerosis, the new study sheds light on additional types of cancer that should automatically qualify for Camp Lejeune cancer settlements.

2024 CDC Study Links Camp Lejeune Water to Cancers

In the CDC’s latest Cancer Incidence Study, researchers from the ATSDR focused on Marines, Navy personnel, and civilian workers stationed or employed at Camp Lejeune, and compared those findings to a similar group stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, where the drinking water was not known to be contaminated during the same period.

The study aimed to assess the consequences of water contamination exposure by examining the incidence of cancer among those who were at Camp Lejeune between 1975 and 1985, a total of 154,821 Marines and Navy personnel and 6,494 civilian workers, and comparing them to 163,484 Marines and Navy personnel and 5,797 civilian workers at Camp Pendleton.

Data was collected through linkages with 54 cancer registries in the U.S., covering diagnoses of all primary invasive cancers and bladder cancer from 1996 to 2017. The study utilized survival methods to calculate hazard ratios (HRs), comparing cancer incidence between the Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton cohorts.

According to the findings, Marines, Navy personnel and civilian workers stationed at Camp Lejeune faced an increased risk of the following cancers when compared to the rates of those stationed at Camp Pendleton;

  • Leukemia & Lymphoma (38% higher risk)
  • Lung Cancer (63% increased risk)
  • Larynx Cancer (21% increased risk)
  • Esophagus Cancer (27% higher risk)
  • Thyroid Cancer (22% increased risk)
  • Myeloid Cancers (40% higher risk)
  • Breast Cancer (32% higher risk)
  • Soft Tissue Cancers (21% higher risk)

“Increased risks of several cancers were observed among Marines/Navy personnel and civilian workers likely exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune compared to personnel at Camp Pendleton”, the authors stated in conclusion of their study.

These new findings about the Camp Lejeune cancer risks linked to contaminated water on the Marine Corps base are likely to have a substantial impact on the ongoing settlement negotiations taking place between the U.S. government and lawyers, which seek to establish categories of cancer and other injuries that qualify for financial compensation.

Qualifying Cancers for Camp Lejeune Settlement Benefits

Currently, there are multiple cancers that the U.S. government has agreed qualify for Camp Lejeune settlement benefits under an elective option announced last year, which was intended to provide quick payouts ranging between $100,000 and $550,000 for claimants who do not want to take their case to court, depending on the type of cancer and length of their exposure.

Under the Camp Lejeune elective settlement option, which was based on cancers that the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (“ATSDR”) previously identified as having evidence at an “equipoise and above” level or higher for a causal link to one or more contaminants detected in the Camp Lejeune water, which include

  • Kidney Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Leukemias
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma

However, the newest ATSDR findings have now identified at least six additional cancers that show support for plaintiff’s pursuing compensation, which could be reevaluated by the U.S. Navy in the coming months.

Lawsuits over Camp Lejeune water contamination have also been filed over various other cancers and injuries, which are likely to be the subject of active litigation over the coming year, with claims for financial compensation including:

Camp Lejeune Cancer Lawsuits:

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
  • Brain Cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Central Nervous System Cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colon Cancer/Colorectal Cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Hodgkins Lymphoma
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer

Other Camp Lejeune Water Side Effects:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Renal Toxicity/Kidney Disease
  • Kidney Damage
  • Hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Scleroderma
  • Birth defects
  • Miscarriage
  • Female Infertility
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Epilepsy (seizures)
  • Immune Disorders
  • Nerve Damage
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS or Pre-Leukemia)
  • Neurobehavioral effects (tremors, lack of coordination, movement or motor problems or other symptoms consistent with undiagnosed Parkinson’s disease)

By the time the two year filing window opened under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 expires, it is widely expected that the litigation may be the largest mass tort in U.S. history, with hundreds of thousands of claims pursued. However, there are only about six months remaining for veterans, military families and civilian contractors to contact a Camp Lejeune lawyer and file their claim.

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