Contaminated Tap Water Claims for Camp Lejeune Veterans

Camp Lejeune Tap Water

by Levi Newman on December 20, 2010

Disability claims related to water contamination at Camp Lejeune will be handled at the VA center in Louisville, Ky. A community panel charged with addressing Lejeune’s water issues recently heard from Brad Flohr, a Veterans Benefits Administration Compensation and Pension Service Department representative.

Flohr told the panel the Louisville center would track the cases and develop a dependable procedure to follow all cases.

Those who lived or were stationed at Lejeune from the 1950s through the 1980s have attributed some diseases, such as male breast cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, to water contamination. They assert that the water contained chemicals. Therefore, they want the VA to implement a VA presumptive policy on water cases, much like the one for veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

However, the National Research Council (NRC) completed a report in 2009 that did not find sufficient evidence linking contaminated water at Lejeune to disease. The report also stated further research was not likely to find clearer results.

But then Chris Portier, director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), had something to say about the research. In a letter, Portier bashed NRC’s report for failing to weigh benzene, a carcinogen. Portier said Lejeune’s water was “undoubtedly a hazard.”

So far, 200 Lejeune veterans filed disability claims based on water contamination. Twenty of those have been approved. To give the staff some background information on the contamination, Flohr said he would visit the Louisville center.

Claims related Lejeune’s water will be tracked starting in February through an electronic system, Flohr said. Even the final decision on the claim will be tracked. As of right now, the VA has no intention of reviewing claims that were denied.

ATSDR officials cited studies that the Navy funded. Among the five studies is a health survey of former Lejeune residents and mortality study. VA officials brought up the possibility of further examining a group of 66 men who developed male breast cancer while living at Lejeune. The Environmental Protection Agency will soon release a study that will probably deem TCE, a major Lejeune contaminant, a known human carcinogen. If so, the EPA study could bolster the chances of water-related claims getting presumptive status.

For more information, see this Fact Sheet released by the VA.

Photo thanks to lady_lush under creative common license on Flickr.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

amanda December 22, 2010 at 12:02 am

i am a daughter of a veteran and i was born on camp lejeune in 1983 would i be able to get benifits from the va? i was diagnosed with adhd, and also have a learning disability…. if so what would i have to do to file a claim?

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Robert Stretch December 22, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Amanda – those weren’t included in the diseases we saw listed, but you could always check out the claims packet and file a claim: http://www.jag.navy.mil/organization/documents/CampLejeuneClaimsPacket.pdf.

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Jim Hawkins December 28, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I am one of the Camp Lejeune water contamination veterans who has developed incurable cancer (Myelodysplastic Syndrome; aka “smoldering leukemia;” aka, MDS) from the water that we drank and bathed in when I was stationed there in 1973. MDS is not only incurable (right now, mine is being controlled by twice-weekly chemotherapy on Revlimid; I will be on this the rest of my life), but it has a tendency to progress to Acute Myeloid Leukemia with a pretty low survival rate. I was diagnosed in August 2008. I have no family history of cancer. None. My parents and grandparents lived into their late 80s and 90s. Yet, I developed MDS which only has two causes; exposure to benzene or radiation. I knew nothing about Camp Lejeune until I happened to be watching the Evening News and saw that Paul Buckley had won his four year battle against the VA for his Multiple Myeloma (similar to MDS, and also incurable). Congress tasked the Department of Defense and Marine Corps with notifying everyone stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987 about their exposure. I sure was never notified, and I doubt that many, if any, of those stationed there prior to 1987 were. Once I found out in March 2010 about the water contamination, I got a Nexus Letter from my world-renowned hematologist and filed with the VA. It has been nine months since I filed, but I am actually glad the VA has been so slow to process my claim, which probably would have been rejected. I notified the VA, via certified mail, yesterday that I wanted my file sent to Louisville. I would bet it takes them another three months to get around to it. If you are a Marine or Navy veteran, who was stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1957-1987, and you have developed an unusual cancer, especially anything related to leukemia, you need to file a claim immediately, being sure to identify yourself as a Camp Lejeune water contamination victim. If you were a dependent of someone stationed at CJ and have developed something, please check Google for the $4 Billion class action suit that is being filed by a noted NYC Law Firm. As far as I understand, the VA cannot help dependents with any claims (if this is incorrect, anyone, please correct this). If anyone needs help filing the claim, which I believe is designed to deter anyone from filing anything because it is so ponderous, I give Robert Stretch permission to contact me and I will help you for free. The Marine Corps leadership had a duty to not give those who served an unauthorized death sentence; yet, that is exactly what they have given me. Fight back. File a claim. Cheers, Jim Hawkins

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Robert Stretch December 29, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Jim, thanks for such an inspirational post. If you would like to write up an article about your story, we would feature you on the blog.

For other readers, here is a group that advocates for those exposed to dangerous tap water at Camp Lejeune: http://www.tftptf.com/.

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jane townsend shepard April 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Thanks so much for posting your story! I was a marine ad I went through training at camp Johnson the summer of 84 when the toxin levels were almost at their highest! I had got sick I thought was from food poinoning I was passing out throwing up and was put on bed rest! Back then we drank tap water we fill our canteens and in the summer months when you have to march three miles to your classroom you drink a lot of water! So now I was diagnosed with a rare disease called dercums disease and they are painful tumors under the skin and don’t know why I have this! And I think the answer is right in front of me! Now I just need the marine corps to agree with me! So if we can all get our stories out there maybe more people will get help! I just talked to a fellow marine who was stationed with me he has tumors on his back! This is crazy if anyone has any info that will help me of anyone else! My email is gijanemarine@gmail.co

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jim moreland January 2, 2011 at 1:44 am

JIM, YOU REPRESENT THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THE CORPS. I WILL LIFT YOU UP IN PRAYER AND I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST WITH THE VA. I HAVE THE SAME HISTORY AS YOU, BUT I LIVE IN RICHMOND, KY SO MY FILE SHOULD BE IN LOUISVILLE AS THIS IS WHERE I FILED. THIS COMING YEAR I WILL BE THE BIGGEST PAIN YOU HAVE EVER SEEN. BACK AT YOU IF THERE IS ANYTHING AT ALL THAT I CAN DO FOR YOU FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME AT JMMRLND@AOL.COM. I HAVE 35 YEARS AS PHYSICIANS ASSISTANT. I HAVE SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOUSUS, SJOGREN’S SYNDROME, SCLERODERMA, FIBROMYALGIA AND LEUCOPENIA, LYMPHOPENIA, NEUTROPENIA WHICH YOU CAN IDENTIFY WITH. NO DOUBT THAT I WILL BE FACING THE SAME ISSUES AS SJOGREN’S SYNDROMES INCREASES MY RISKS DRAMATICALLY. THANK YOU JIM AND BLESSINGS BROTHER.

JIM MORELAND PA-C, MHS

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Jim Hawkins January 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Robert, I would be glad to write an article for your blog. Please give me the parameters (word length, etc.) and I could send it to you as a Word document so you can edit it. I have an interesting story to tell. The word, cancer, was not even part of my vocabulary until this happened; now, I know a little too much about it. I can tell you this: There is nothing like being given a death sentence to focus your attention and give you a fuller appreciation of life. I do NOT recommend this for anyone. Do NOT try this at home. As you can tell, I try to inject a bit of humor in this very serious subject matter because it is hard to deal with. If my story can help anyone else, if I can help any Camp Lejeune water contamination veteran with their claim, or offer words of advice, I am only too glad to serve. Let me know how to get this article to you, and I will do it. Cheers, Jim Hawkins

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Robert Stretch January 3, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Jim – here are the guidelines:

http://vabenefitblog.com/write-for-us/

When you’re finished, you can email the draft to me at Robert @ Vabenefitblog.com. I look forward to your submission.

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Patrick Moriarty February 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm

This site is a God Send. I knew nothing about this until I accidentally stumbled upon it today.

I was not stationed in Campl Lejeune but was stationed in New River NC at the MAG 26 in 1969 and 1970. I visited Camp Lejeune quite often and of course drank plenty of the water.

I have developed two cancers; colon cancer and merkel cell carcinoma (which is very rare). I filed a claim as a vietnam veteran (1967-1968) for agent orange and was denied.

Last week I was told by the VA medical clinic that I now have a blood problem and am scheduled for more tests and consultation.

If anyone can give me any direction here, I would appreciate it. The diagnosis by the VA of my merkel cell carcinoma was in February of 2009 with a prognosis of stage 3 and a life expentency of 3 to 5 years. (Let’s hope I can prove them wrong on that one.)

Thanks for your help.

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Aaron Cheerman March 19, 2011 at 3:30 am

Hello,

My name is Aaron Cheerman and I am looking for the Patrick Moriarty that posted above! We both share a very rare and the most deadly form of skin cancer called MERKEL CELL CARCINOMA. We both served in the Marine Corps and I was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1963 to 1965.

I would like to talk with him and compare notes about Merkel Cell and Camp Lejeune. I happen to beleive that we are not the only ones that have Merkel Cell, but there maybe many other Marines as well.

I can be reached at my home 860-649-0631 or my cell is 860-930-4531 and my e-mail address is acheerman@cox.net

Thank you,
Aaron Cheerman

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Patrick Moriarty March 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Aaron, I just saw your reply and will be in touch. My email is patpatmoriarty@gmail.com

Patrick Moriarty

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eugene novak October 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

I have info dealing with this. Please have everyone check out info related to Muscoskeletal diseases! Many diseases are linked to this and the chemicals in the water react differently on the progression of these diseases.

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Claudia McClarrin November 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm

My husband was stationed at Camp Lejeune from1972-1975 and I lived at Tarawa Terreace with him from 1973-1975. We found out about the water contamination in 1999 from the USAToday news paper. My husband has prostate cancer. I was told in June of this year that I have Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans which is a very rare form of Sarcoma. If any one out there that has this disease please contact me.

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Jen January 16, 2012 at 8:54 am

My dad was stationed there and is now sadly deceased. He died at 79. He had an unexplained blood disorder, prostate cancer, and failed kidneys. Is there any action left for family to pursue?

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Bobby Jones January 30, 2012 at 11:15 am

I was stationed at Lejeune in the 80′s.About two years after being discharge I started having fainting spells,that went on for about a year and the doctors could not find anything wrong.In early 2000 it happened again and I was put in the hospital on an ICU ward for five days because they found out that I jhad diabetes.There is no family history so I became very concerned.I saw the findings about the water at Lejeune and started doing some research about the effects of benzene onthe body and what it could cause and in some of the reports it stated that it could cauise diabetes.I have not filed a claim with the VA at this time because I do not know how to start the process.Do you or anyone have any suggestions on how I need to start the process.

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steve April 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm

bobby I was at lejeune in 67 and 67 and have had nueropathy in both feet and now diabetes type 2 none in my family either not sure if it has to do with the benzene or not anyone know for sure.

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Donnie brown February 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

i need more information on this, I was station there from 77 to 79

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George Katz March 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Marines from 1956 – 1959 station at camp Lejeune . sat. I watch the
DOCUMENT ON TV about the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
I had a son die at 37 of Brain Cancer! I hope the cause not from
the water from Camp Lejeune. I have 3 other children and I hope I don’t
make them sick to. I had prostate cancer that in remisson.

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Kaylee Richardson March 3, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I am a descendant of my mother who lived in Camp Lejeune with my grandfather. Dates confirm they lived there during chemical exposure. I have been battling a blood disorder called von willebrand disease. I was wondering if anyone else is suffering from this and if it could be linked to this…. any advice help!

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Direk t rodgers March 21, 2012 at 7:58 am

My name is Direk T Rodgers I was stationed at camp lejeune from 1983-1987 I came up with a very rare cancer called synovial sarcoma vinyl chloride is a health risk is their anyone who has this similar cancer ?

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Larry J. Hawks April 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I was stationed at Camp Lejuene in 1957. I am now 75 yrs.old and have been suffering from I don’t know what because the VA Facility at Marion, Indiana cannot tell me what is wrong, I have the symptons of Multiple Sclerosis and Lumbar Spinal Stenosis in my lower back, pain or cramping in my legs, I am unable to stand for prolonged periods of time because my legs get numb and I am unsure of myself in other words I become dizzy. When I met with the Nuerogist, I was treated with much disrespect. He finally offered me a push walker because I have fell several times, then He stated Do you have a 401K and my answer was no, He asked me why not. It is none of his business where I have a 401K or not. He was implying that I must be faking. I have diabetes take 50 units of Insulin 2X/day and have eratic blood pressure which goes higher than the rules permit. I need to know how to file.
Sincerely, ex Sergeant U.S.M.C. served from 1954-1958

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JOSE RODRIGUEZ April 5, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I WAS STATIONED AT CAMP LE JUENNE FROM 1972-1975. I FOUND OUT ABOUT THE CONTAMINATED WATERS WHEN I WENT ON THE VA.GOV WEBSITE IN AUGUST 2011. IN SEPT 2010 I FOUND OUT I HAVE LGL LEUKEMIA I AM TOLD THERE IS NO CURE FOR THIS. I FILED A CLAIM WITH VA IN SEPT 2011 AND I RECEIVED A LETTER TODAY APRIL 5, 2012 THAT THEY DENIED MY CLAIM. I READ ABOUT THE CHEMICAL BENZENE THAT WAS FOUND IN THE WATER WELLS AT CAMP LE JUENE IT STATES THAT THIS CHEMICAL CAN TAKE DECADES BEFORE IT SHOWS UP IN YOUR SYSTEM. THE VA IS STATING THAT MY MEDICAL RECORDS FROM WHEN I LEFT CAMP LEJUENE UP UNTIL I FOUND OUT I HAD LEUKEMIA DOES NOT SHOW ANY INFORMATION ABOUT LEUKEMIA. ALL THESE YEARS I WAS NOT AWARE OF THIS MY ONCOLOGIST STATES I HAD THIS FOR MANY YEARS. I AM SO UPSET THAT MY CLAIM IS DENIED.

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Geoff April 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Hello, my name is Geoff and I was stationed at Lejeune in 89.
I’m watching the documentary on msnbc right now and I just have 2 questions.
I do not have any form of cancer that I know of but I’ve become severely depressed the last few years.
It doesn’t sound like mental illness is a symptom of the exposure.
Is that correct?
And, I have a healthy 3 year old boy and a daughter due in 2 months.
Do I need to be concerned or is the danger only when I’m drinking the water during the conception?
Of course I’m going to educate myself much more on this subject, those are just the two concerns that I’m worried about right now.
Thank you for any information.
My thoughts and prayers got out to you all.
Semper Fi brothers.
Geoff
gbinib@gmail.com

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Peter Sirianni April 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I was based at Camp Lejeune from 1961-1963 and developed cance twice: testicular(1992) and vocal cord (2009) and I am currently going through the process. The testicular cancer occurred when I was 49 years of age which is uncommon at this age and the Oncologist made reference to it in his letter to the VA. Will keep you posted.

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sharon July 19, 2012 at 8:31 pm

we were stationed and lived in base housing in 1973 and 1974 i had still born baby at camp lejeune naval hospitol and now i have fibromylgia could this be connected

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Peggy Westbrook August 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I was stationed at CJ in 1971. I am a WM (female Marine). I developed Breast Cancer in 1999. No one in my family has had Breast Cancer.

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sampson edwards August 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm

sampson edwards aug 18,2012 i was station at camplejeune from 1975 to 1979.when i got out about a year later a rash came on my right leg.i thought it was a ring worm i started using over the counter medicine for ring worm to see would it go away,it never did.and that been over32 year and i still have that rash.i had to stay out of work for 4week because of this rash got so bad it begi to put sore on my leg which was so painful.i have to wear support stocking for the rest of my life now i seen 5different doctor about my leg.they gave me different medicine but the rash is still there.i like to know could this have come from the water from camplejeune.i put in a claim but was deny.and i gave blood to red cross and they wrote me back saying it was negative.saying i had hepatatic c in need to know is this acase due the water at camplejeune

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baby fa August 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm

anyone who has had colon cancer and was station at camp lejeune from 1957 to 1985 please e-mail at sford58421@aol.com thanks

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