Veterans who were exposed to cancer-causing substances deserve justice.
Members of the armed services and their families sacrifice a great deal to serve our country. At a bare minimum, our country should provide them with safe facilities in which to live and work. Unfortunately, for too many veterans, that's not what happened.
In recent years, the terrible toxic exposure at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River have received significant attention. Marines, their families, and civilian contractors and employees were exposed to contaminated water for decades. But contaminated water wasn't the only hazard at Camp Lejeune: servicemembers were also exposed to asbestos, putting them at risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma.
If you were stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days and developed lung cancer, you may have a claim for both contaminated water exposure and asbestos exposure, and those claims will not harm your eligibility for veterans' benefits. The experienced attorneys at the Ferrell Law Group can help to protect all of your legal rights.
Health problems caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune
From the 1950s until the 1980s, the water that servicemembers stationed at Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River drank, cooked with, and bathed in was drawn from wells contaminated with several hazardous chemicals. Those toxins included:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE), an industrial chemical that was primarily used to clean munitions.
- Tetrachloroethylene/perchloroethylene (PCE), a chemical used to clean uniforms.
- Vinyl chloride (VC), which is formed when TCE and PCE degrade in the environment.
- Benzene, a toxic chemical used in many industrial applications such as plastics, resins, and synthetic fabrics.
These chemicals dramatically increase the risk of many types of cancer, including bladder, breast, esophageal, kidney, and lung cancer, as well as bone marrow cancers, such as leukemia. They also caused miscarriages, stillbirths, and infertility.
The dangers of asbestos exposure at Camp Lejeune
Like many military facilities, the buildings at Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River also contained significant amounts of asbestos. Specifically, vinyl-lined asbestos-coated pipes carried water across the bases for decades.
Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, chest wall, and abdomen. Asbestos is also a known cause of other types of lung cancer, including:
- Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
- Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Furthermore, the incubation period can be decades long. As such, veterans who were exposed to asbestos in the 1980s are still being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases today.
Legal rights and options for Camp Lejeune veterans and families
Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which was signed into law as part of the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, individuals who were stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, can file civil lawsuits against the United States government for compensation for illnesses caused by the contaminated water. In addition, individuals who developed mesothelioma or lung cancer after being stationed at Camp Lejeune are eligible to file asbestos trust fund claims or lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers.
Since lung cancer can be caused by both the toxic chemicals present in the Camp Lejeune water and by asbestos, this means individuals with lung cancer may be eligible to file both types of claims. This is true even if you were a smoker or had other risk factors for lung cancer. Remember, neither a Camp Lejeune lawsuit nor an asbestos trust fund claim will affect your eligibility for VA benefits.
If you put your health on the line to serve our country, the experienced attorneys at the Ferrell Law Group would be honored to fight for you. We will listen to your story, explain your options, and work diligently to pursue the full compensation you deserve for your illness. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. There's no obligation to hire us, just answers about your rights.