How Many People Have Died From Camp Lejeune Water Poisoning?

How Many People Have Died From Camp Lejeune Water Poisoning?

As you know, there have been an innumerable number of Veterans and their families who have been affected by the egregious acts that occurred on U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC, from 1953-1987. Fortunately, through the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the Federal Government has taken action to provide these Veterans and family members the ability to sue and recover damages for harm from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. 

If you believe that you or a loved one was exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, learning more about the events that led to this exposure can be the first step to asserting your legal right to compensation. One of the most common questions that our lawyers receive regarding the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination is, “How many people have died from the toxic water contamination?”

What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

Over a period of three decades, drinking water supplies at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were tainted with toxic substances, exposing in total over 172,000 Veterans to contaminated drinking water. These water facilities consisted of eight separate water distribution systems, three of which were confirmed to have contained substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These facilities supplied drinking water to not only Camp Lejeune workers but also their families, leading to mass exposure among thousands of Veterans and civilians.

What We Know About the Contaminated Drinking Water

To this day, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continues to perform research to learn more about these substances and their effect on human health. Current research has shed light on not only the causes of this contamination period but also the range of effects that these toxic substances may have.

The source of the contaminated water can be traced back to leaking underground storage tanks used for the containment of various substances, including petroleum, oils, jet fuel, and other compounds. In the past, the design of these underground storage tanks meant that they were more prone to degrade, allowing their contents to leak into the surrounding soils and ground water.

The research also gives us information about how much of these contaminants the water at Camp Lejeune contained, as well as monthly average estimates of exposure in comparison with safe levels. For example, the main contaminant at Hadnot Point, TCE (trichloroethylene), registered 1,400 parts per billion (ppb) in 1982. Acceptable levels of this substance are a mere 5 ppb.

Following new measures and legislation to prevent this type of water contamination from occurring, these underground storage tanks are now manufactured with enhanced safety protocols.

How many people have died from camp Lejeune water poisoning?

While the total number of Veterans affected by contaminated drinking water at USMC Base Camp Lejeune is unknown, we do have access to estimates of how many people were exposed to harmful substances, as well as data trends from other military bases showing differences in mortality rates and the prevalence of certain illnesses.

Estimating the Number of Camp Lejeune Deaths

In combination with the information we have about risk factors for these diseases and their connection to VOCs, there is ample evidence to demonstrate a connection between various life-threatening medical conditions and Camp Lejeune drinking water.

One clinical analysis compared mortality rates between Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton, California. While Camp Pendleton has also historically recorded drinking water contamination, there was still a marked difference between the respective mortality rates between these two bases, potentially owing to the types of toxic substances found at each site.

Camp Lejeune recorded 8,964 deaths between 1979 and 2008, while Camp Pendleton recorded 9,365. However, the causes of mortality showed that those at Camp Lejeune had much higher incidences of certain illnesses, including prostate cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, esophagus cancer, bladder cancer, cervix cancer, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, higher cumulative exposures resulted in a higher rate of these conditions compared to those who had short exposure durations among both Veterans and civilian employees.

While there are no hard numbers to identify the total number of deaths from the exposure, it is estimated that over 1 million people were exposed to these toxic chemicals, and further studies have proven these exposures have caused tens of thousands of them to develop cancer and die prematurely. 

Main Causes of Death from Camp Lejeune’s Water

When asking the question, “How many people have died from camp Lejeune water poisoning?”, it’s important to recognize the primary causes of these deaths:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancers of the bladder, brain, cervix, colon, esophagus, female breast, kidney, larynx, liver, lung, oral cavity, pancreas, prostate, rectum, and soft tissue
  • Hematopoietic cancers
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Leukemias
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Non-cancerous kidney diseases
  • Non-cancerous liver diseases
  • Multiple sclerosis 

Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Claims

As part of the ongoing Camp Lejeune lawsuit, Veterans with a service connection to certain illnesses as a result of exposure to toxic substances can seek compensation from the government in the form of monthly disability benefits. In addition, surviving family members may also pursue wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of their deceased loved ones.

Berry Law.

However, taking legal action can be challenging without the help of a lawyer who is experienced in handling claims related to Veterans Affairs.

The Financial and Societal Toll of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

The economic and non-economic toll brought on by these illnesses cannot be understated. In addition to increased healthcare costs, loss of quality of life, and the individual strain on family members, it is without a doubt that Veterans face serious challenges when fighting any of the above conditions.

When we consider the fact that many fatalities have occurred due to this contamination incident, we are also reminded of the need for justice for military warriors and their families. We at Berry Law are committed to standing with you and making your fight our fight during these challenging times. Contact our team today to discuss how we might be able to help you recover compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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