We previously wrote on the Camp Lejeune disability issue about a year ago, but some regulatory and congressional acts have occurred since then.  Certain Marines that were stationed at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 to 1987 may have been exposed to toxic chemicals in the on base water supply.  These chemicals include volatile organic compounds trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning agent. Benzene, vinyl chloride, and other compounds were also found on the base.  It appears that the VA is considering whether a certain disease could be related to exposure to these chemicals and will likely schedule and compensation and pension exam to determine whether there is a relationship.  Camp Lejeune disability benefits will likely be harder to obtain than health benefits and so it is advisable to first apply for health benefits that will usually be available if one of the 15 conditions below are diagnosed.

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Female infertility
  • Scleroderma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Miscarriage
  • Neurobehavioral effects

It appears that the Camp Lejeune disability claims are being processed out of the Lousiville, KY VA Regional Office for all Camp Lejeune disability claims across the country.  The health care should be available for the above conditions for the Veteran and for the Veteran’s dependents that were on base.  However, for the above conditions there is no presumptive link such as for the diseases that are presumed linked to Agent Orange and Vietnam service.  It appears that the above conditions may be more likely linked to the chemicals, but this will need to be proved and developed through medical evidence.  There is no automatic presumption though.  Its also important to know that the disease condition need not be on this list above so long as the problem can be reasonably related to the chemical exposures through medical evidence.  Anecdotal evidence shows that the Louisville Regional Office is denying these cases at a high rate and although a Veterans Disability Attorney may improve likelihood of success it is by no means a guarantee.  It is likely that a specialized medical expert will need to be consulted so that they can opine on the relationship between these chemicals and any given disease.  An expert who understand the toxicological effects and human disease processes will probably be most useful.  A good launching point is pubmed where one can search the scientific journals on the subject.