Service members stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 were not the only ones exposed to the contaminated water. Their families, including children, were also exposed in their residences at Camp Lejeune. Unfortunately, these effects were also seen in children born during these years whose mothers were exposed to contaminated drinking water while pregnant.
Children that drank or touched the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune have unfortunately suffered similar conditions that the VA provides compensation and health care benefits for veterans exposed. Those exposed to the water, including children, are at a higher risk for developing these catastrophic conditions. Family members, including children, can get health care benefits for:
A study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) determined that an increased risk of neural tube defects was associated with first-trimester exposure to contaminated drinking water. Neural tube defects are congenital disabilities of the brain and spinal cord.
There are four main types of neural tube defects, spina bifida, anencephaly, encephalocele, and iniencephaly. Sadly, there is no treatment for iniencephaly or anencephaly, and babies with these conditions are typically stillborn or die shortly before birth.
Spina bifida and encephalocele can be treated, but the quality of life can be significantly worsened. Both neural tube defects typically require surgery of the baby’s brain or spine. Regardless of treatment, there is a high likelihood of permanent nerve damage, urinary and bowel control problems, blindness, deafness, or an intellectual disability.
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