Marines and their families who were exposed to contaminated water at the 156,000-acre Camp Lejeune base in North Carolina will have to wait for more answers as the U.S. Department of the Navy does further research. However, The Department of Veteran Affairs has begun handing out award benefits to a few veterans based at Lejeune.
An estimated one million people drank and bathed in water rampant with volatile organic chemicals such as cancer-causing benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE) and vinyl chloride to name a few.
This went on from the 1950s to the 1980s. Many still have yet to be notified, however, former veterans now aware feel like there is a connection between the contamination and many of the ailments they have encountered since then.
“You know what went off in my head? A light bulb,” said Allen Menard, 47, of Green Bay, Wis. His doctor had told him years before that his form of non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma was chemical-related.
Veterans along with their families and people employed at the base have reported suffering from various forms of cancer, liver disease, miscarriages and children born to them with birth defects such as cleft palate, heart defects, down syndrome, neural tube defects, low birth weight, etc.
However, such diseases and other illnesses cannot be directly linked to the contamination. Although, the VA has accepted and realized in some cases this is exactly what happened.
While the UDN and VA are waiting for more research, and trying to figure out how to handle the claims, former Lejeune veterans are convinced that illnesses inflicted on their families was due to the water. They want benefits for their families.
But they will have to fight for their benefits until conclusive results come in from the congressional representatives reviewing the case.
Photo thanks to BrianAuer under creative common license on Flickr.