Scleroderma And Camp Lejeune Contamination

scleroderma pain in hands

The Camp Lejeune water contamination victims have long sought justice for their losses. A recent study suggests that those exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, are more likely to develop scleroderma, a rare and devastating autoimmune disease. 

Scleroderma affects the skin but can also affect other organs in the body. It is unclear precisely what causes scleroderma, but researchers believe it may be triggered by environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins or pollutants.

Have you or someone you know been affected by this tragedy? Contact the personal injury attorneys at Injury Lawyer Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, to have a legal advocate helping you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

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The Correlation Between the Base’s Contaminated Water and Scleroderma

Recently, there has been growing concern about a possible link between scleroderma and contamination at the military base. A study found that Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1957-1987 were twice as likely to develop scleroderma as those who were not. 

The History of Contaminated Water at the Marine Corps Air Station and Toxic Exposure

The water at the base was contaminated with various chemicals for years, most notably trichloroethylene (TCE) and benzene. These pollutants were found in the groundwater and linked to several public health problems, including cancer, birth defects, and other chronic diseases.

The contamination was first discovered in the 1980s, but it is believed that the pollutants had been present for decades. The Marines did not take action to clean up the water until 1997, and many people think they were aware of the contamination long before.

benzene and toluene found in Camp Lejeune

The Aftermath of the Contamination

Hundreds of people have come forward in recent years to say that they or their loved ones have been affected by the contamination at the base. Some have developed cancer, while others have given birth to children with birth defects.

Many Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune veterans, active duty service members, and their family members exposed to contaminated drinking water can finally seek and obtain justice.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Exposure

The EPA has classified TCE and benzene as human carcinogens, and both chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. The EPA has also established a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for TCE and benzene in the water.

The MCL is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in the water. The MCL for TCE is 0.005 mg/L, and the MCL for benzene is 0.007 mg/L. The levels of TCE and benzene in the water at the base were far above the MCLs set by the EPA.

Nearly 400 volatile organic compounds were found in the base’s water supply, including carbon tetrachloride and polyvinyl chloride.

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The Camp Lejeune Justice Act 

President Barack Obama signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act into law in 2012, providing healthcare to veterans and their family members exposed to environmentally toxic water contaminated with volatile organic compounds while stationed at US military installations. 

The Camp Lejeune Act provides for medical treatment and care for eligible Marine veterans and their dependents for any illness that may be related to toxic exposure to the contaminants in the water supply at the base. 

The United States government was finally honoring America’s veterans harmed during military service, who are now developing scleroderma after solvent exposure at the base decades ago.

camp lejeune disability coverage area map

Water Contamination and The PACT Act

Congress enacted the PACT Act (Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) in June 2022 to protect the public from contaminants in potable water and ensure that public water systems meet minimum federal standards for safe potable water. 

The PACT Act authorized the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to provide medical care to any individual who may have been exposed to a contaminant in potable water at the base and to conduct research on the health effects of toxic exposure.

The ATSDR provides medical assistance to eligible veterans and their dependents through a contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA will provide medical care for any illness that may be related to exposure to the contaminants in the water supply at the military installation. 

In addition, the ATSDR is researching the health effects of exposure to the contaminants in the water supply at the base. The research will help us better understand the health effects of these exposures and will provide information that can be used to improve the health care provided to Camp Lejeune veterans and their families.

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Scleroderma and Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Scleroderma is a rare, chronic autoimmune disease affecting the skin and other organs. Raynaud’s phenomenon is when blood vessels in the fingers and toes spasm, limiting blood flow and causing the fingers and toes to feel cold and numb.

People with scleroderma often have Raynaud’s phenomenon, and the two conditions share many of the same symptoms. Scleroderma can cause the skin to harden and thicken, and Raynaud’s phenomenon can cause the fingers and toes to feel cold and numb.

  • Scleroderma is a chronic disease that lasts for years or even a lifetime. There is no cure for scleroderma, but treatments can help manage the symptoms. 
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon is often a symptom of another underlying condition, such as scleroderma, and treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

comparing trichloroethylene contamination limits at Camp Lejeune

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a disorder that causes the blood vessels to narrow, most often in the fingers and toes. The condition can cause the hands or feet to feel cold and tingly, leading to ulcers or gangrene.

There is no cure for the condition, but there are treatments that can help relieve the symptoms. These include avoiding cold temperatures and stress, quitting smoking, and taking medications to improve blood flow. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

If you experience symptoms, protecting your hands and feet from cold temperatures can help prevent attacks and minimize their severity. Wearing gloves or socks, avoiding smoking, and managing stress can also help.

If symptoms are severe, you may need medication to improve blood flow or surgery to repair damaged blood vessels.

Available Disability Benefits

scleroderma treatments

VA benefits are available to those who have a service connection to Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, meet the 30-Day exposure requirement, and have developed a listed condition, disease, or cancer. 

The 30-Day exposure requirement is met if you were present at the base for 30 or more days (consecutive or non-consecutive) from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. 

The following conditions, diseases, and cancers are covered under the regulation to qualify for disability benefits include:

These benefits are available to eligible veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependent children.

government funds allocated for camp lejeune scleroderma victims

Hire A Personal Injury Attorney to Resolve Your Scleroderma Compensation Claim

Do you suspect that exposure to contaminants and organic solvents at military installations led to developing scleroderma, systemic sclerosis, or cancer? The personal injury attorneys at Injury Lawyer Team can provide immediate legal representation to hold the Federal Government and others financially accountable for your damages.

We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee agreement, meaning no upfront fees are required. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

trichloroethylene found in Camp Lejeune water