Between the 1950s and the 1980s, Camp Lejeune, a United States Marines military base, suffered a high degree of water contamination in two of its key water sources. That contamination had a substantial impact on many of the Marines who served on the base and on the military families who lived there.
The contaminated water contained high levels of known toxic, cancer-causing substances like trichloroethylene, tetrachlorethylene, vinyl chloride, and benzene. Symptoms of Camp Lejeune water contamination exposed you to these chemicals that may vary depending on the length of exposure and the individual exposed. We review the common symptoms of each below.
An Attorney Can Help With Your Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Case
If you or your family were exposed to toxic chemicals while living or working at Camp Lejeune, you might have spent decades dealing with unexplained health issues. Dangerous chemicals did in fact enter the drinking water and affect the drinking water’s quality and safety. Your home was poisoned with contaminated tap water, and you may have the right to receive significant financial compensation. Contact the attorneys of Dolman Law Group at 866-932-3641, or you can write to us using our online contact page for your free consultation.
Dolman Law Group has built our reputation on giving a voice to injured clients who have been harmed by someone else’s negligence and consistently delivering the results they expect. We won’t be intimidated by going up against the federal government or taking your Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit to trial.
Common Symptoms of Trichloroethylene Exposure
Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, can cause numerous physiological symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Immediate Symptoms of Acute Exposure
Exposure to high levels of TCE can cause immediate symptoms, including:
- Headaches, particularly at high volumes of exposure
- Decreased memory
- Slowed reaction times
- Decreased dexterity
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Gastrointestinal (GI) distress such as diarrhea and vomiting (from TCE ingestion).
Short-term symptoms may resolve quickly after exposure ends. For example, water vapor containing high levels of TCE may have caused acute symptoms after showering or exposure to steam, but those symptoms may have resolved fairly quickly. Accordingly, Marines who served at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s to 1980s may not currently experience these symptoms but may remember suffering them at the time of exposure.
Symptoms of Chronic TCE Exposure
Long-term (chronic) exposure to TCE can cause additional symptoms.
The Marines at Camp Lejeune and their family members living on the base may have experienced symptoms such as:
- Decreased overall appetite
- Ongoing headaches or vertigo
- Problems with short-term memory
- Cognitive declines, including problems with word associations
- Insomnia and other sleep disturbances
- Ongoing digestive problems, including chronic nausea or vomiting
These long-term impacts may have lingered as long as exposure to toxic levels of TCE continued. Service members and their families may have attributed some of these symptoms to the stress of their jobs or living situations, but with the benefit of hindsight may now recognize them as potentially caused by prolonged exposure to TCE.
Long-Term Symptoms of TCE Exposure
TCE exposure can also lead to long-term health impacts that linger long after acute or chronic exposure ends.
Marines and families exposed to high levels of TCE in the Camp Lejeune water supply may develop:
- Kidney disease
- Decreased liver function
- Kidney or liver cancer
- Heart problems
- Fetal abnormalities and other reproductive health problems
The symptoms above can develop many years after an acute or chronic TCE exposure. Because of this delay, in some cases, doctors treating former Camp Lejeune soldiers, workers, and residents may not have identified exposure to TCE as the culprit.
If you may have suffered a TCE exposure at Camp Lejeune and were later diagnosed with one of the conditions above, you may receive significant financial compensation.
Symptoms of Tetrachlorethylene (PCE) Exposure
PCE, like TCE, can cause damaging health impacts, both immediately after exposure and over the long term. PCE can enter the body by drinking contaminated water or through inhalation.
Immediate Symptoms of Acute Exposure to PCE
Marines and others who suffered exposure to high levels of PCE at Camp Lejeune may have suffered severe, immediate symptoms, including:
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Cognitive symptoms, including confusion, decreased memory, and problems following instructions
- Skin irritation
- Irritation of the mucus membranes
These symptoms often resolve relatively quickly once an acute PCE exposure ends. Consequently, you may not experience them today if you suffered a PCE exposure at Camp Lejeune, but you may remember specific episodes when they occurred.
Symptoms of Chronic Exposure to PCE
Chronic exposure to PCE can take a heavy toll on brain function affecting cognition and personality, leading to:
- Loss of concentration
- Short-term memory problems
In many cases, the cognitive and psychological impacts of PCE exposure linger long after the initial exposure. Some individuals subjected to chronic PCE exposure never fully regain their former cognitive abilities or personalities.
In addition, PCE can cross the placental barrier, exposing a gestating fetus to the same chronic PCE exposure suffered by the pregnant mother. In some cases, this can lead to birth defects.
Chronic PCE exposure can also cause damage to the kidneys and liver, including chronic problems with those vital organs.
The Long-Term Impact of PCE Exposure
Long after authorities at Camp Lejeune stopped drawing water from contaminated wells, the Marines and base families affected may still suffer from long-term impacts of PCE exposure.
In addition to cognitive and central nervous system damage, individuals exposed to high levels of PCE at Camp Lejeune may face:
- Cancer, including kidney and liver cancers, and leukemia
- Reproductive challenges
- Birth defects
As above, if you served, worked, or resided at Camp Lejeune at any time between the 1950s and the 1980s, and later experienced or received a diagnosis of one of the conditions above, you may have the right to receive monetary compensation. Dangerous chemicals did in fact enter the drinking water and affect the drinking water’s quality and safety. Contact the attorneys of Dolman Law Group at 866-932-3641, or you can write to us using our online contact page for your free consultation.
Symptoms of Vinyl Chloride Exposure
Marines and their families at Camp Lejeune may have sustained exposure to vinyl chloride in the base’s water supply in many ways, including by inhaling water vapor, having skin or eye contact (such as while bathing), or drinking and cooking.
Immediate Symptoms of Acute Vinyl Chloride Exposure
Acute exposure to vinyl chloride can cause:
- Digestive irritation, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
- A sensation of drunkenness or inebriation
- Numbness or tingling of the limbs
- Eye irritation
- Irritation of the mucus membranes
Children and adults can suffer different—though equally severe—symptoms from the same acute vinyl chloride exposure.
Symptoms of Chronic Vinyl Chloride Exposure
Chronic exposure to vinyl chloride can cause a variety of symptoms that Marines and their families may have noticed during the period of their exposure, including:
- Liver diseases such as portal hypertension and cirrhosis
- Cancer, including liver cancer
- Multiple neuropathies (nerve malfunctions)
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of libido
- Blood platelet disorders like purpura and thrombocytopenia
Some symptoms may resolve when chronic vinyl chloride exposure ends, whereas others can last far longer.
Long-Term Symptoms of Vinyl Chloride Exposure
Marines and their families may not have noticed all the symptoms of vinyl chloride exposure at the time of exposure. In many cases, the most damaging symptoms may have appeared well after initial exposure, and long after leaving Camp Lejeune.
Long-term health complications associated with exposure to vinyl chloride include:
- Cancers (see above)
- Reproductive health challenges, including decreased fertility
- Kidney and liver damage
- Decreased libido
- Developmental problems in children exposed to vinyl chloride in utero
It is believed the water at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s through the 1980s contained toxically high levels of vinyl chloride that subjected Marines and their families to risks of developing all of the symptoms described above. As with other on-base toxic exposures, those affected may not have linked their symptoms to their exposure and may have received diagnoses long after their exposure ended.
Like victims of other toxic exposures at Camp Lejeune, individuals exposed to toxic levels of vinyl chloride at the base may have the right to receive significant financial compensation.
Symptoms Associated with Benzene Exposure
Benzene exposure may also have caused adverse health impacts for people working and living at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s through the 1980s. You can inhale or ingest benzene.
Immediate Symptoms of Acute Benzene Exposure
Immediately after exposure to benzene, a Marine or other affected individual may have experienced:
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Confusion or disorientation
- Stomach irritation, including nausea and vomiting
In some cases, acute benzene exposure can lead to unconsciousness or, at very high levels, death.
Symptoms of Chronic Benzene Exposure
Chronic benzene exposure can cause many potential health impacts, which include:
- Decreased red blood cells/anemia
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Potential fertility challenges
- Increased risk of birth defects when pregnant women faced high levels of benzene exposure
- Decreased ovary size in women
- Excessive bleeding
- Decreased overall immunity
Marines who served at Camp Lejeune and their families may not have recognized that their use and consumption of contaminated water on the base caused these ongoing symptoms.
Long-Term Symptoms of Benzene Exposure
Like many other chemicals found in dangerously high concentrations in the Camp Lejeune water supply, benzene can cause an increased risk of cancer, including leukemia. Patients may have also noticed fertility difficulties, including difficulty getting pregnant following exposure or a higher overall risk of developing birth defects due to exposure. These symptoms can linger long after the period of exposure to benzene ends.
If you or your family were exposed to toxic chemicals while living or working at Camp Lejeune, you might have spent decades dealing with unexplained health issues. Contact the attorneys of Dolman Law Group at 866-932-3641, or you can write to us using our online contact page for your free consultation.
Factors That Could Impact Symptoms of Contaminated Water Exposure at Camp Lejeune
Marines, civilian workers, and families living on base exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune may have exhibited and may continue to exhibit exposure-related symptoms. Numerous factors can affect the nature, duration, and severity of the symptoms afflicting any specific individual.
To Which Chemicals Were You Exposed?
Camp Lejeune shut down two key water processing plants, the Hadnot Point water treatment plant and the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant, after finding high levels of toxic chemicals in the water they treated. Those plants supplied water to different areas of Camp Lejeune.
If you used or ingested contaminated water processed by the Tarawa Terrace plant, you may have suffered higher levels of TCE exposure. Conversely, if you used and/or consumed water processed by the Hadnot Point facility, you may have sustained exposures to elevated levels of PCE, benzene, and vinyl chloride.
How Long Did Your Exposure Last?
The longer you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune, the more exposure you may have had to the toxic chemicals found in its water supply. Marines who served at Camp Lejeune for just a few months, for example, may have faced less cumulative exposure than people who lived and worked on the base for years. Deployed Marines may also have faced less overall exposure than Marines who spent their tours of duty at Camp Lejeune or family members who lived on-base during their spouse or parent’s deployment.
How Often Were You Exposed?
Individuals who lived at Camp Lejeune may have faced higher overall levels of exposure than Marines and civilians who only worked there. That’s because base residents tended to bathe in, wash dishes in, and consume contaminated water far more often than those who lived off-base.
How Were You Exposed?
People who did not live at Camp Lejeune likely sustained most of their exposure by drinking the water. In contrast, people who lived on the base not only drank contaminated water and ate food cooked in it, but also regularly suffered exposure through inhalation or direct skin contact while bathing or performing household tasks.
Not everyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during this time exhibited noticeable symptoms of toxic exposure. But even without suffering immediate symptoms, many later developed devastating health complications like cancer, cognitive impairments, central nervous system damage, and developmental problems.
If you believe that you have symptoms of chemical exposure due to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, seek medical attention as soon as possible and tell your doctor about the toxic chemical exposure you may have suffered.
Contact a Lawyer for Help if You Have Symptoms of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Do you suffer from symptoms associated with exposure to toxic chemicals in the Camp Lejeune water supply between the 1950s and the 1980s? If so, you may have the right to receive significant financial compensation.
An experienced Camp Lejeune toxic exposure attorney can help you explore your rights and options. To learn more, contact a knowledgeable lawyer for a free consultation.