One of many questions I receive from veteran’s concerns potential Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation for disability caused by illness for United States Marine Corps veterans and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina between the years of 1957 and 1987, as a result of the presence of toxic chemicals in the drinking water.
VA issued a VA Health Care Fact Sheet 16-9 in May 2010 addressing the issue. The Fact Sheet notes that there is a limited/suggestive evidence of an association between chronic exposure to PCE (perchloroethylene) and TCE (trichloroethylene) and the following: Kidney cancer, Esophageal cancer, Bladder cancer, Breast cancer, and Lung cancer. Children of mothers who were exposed while pregnant to contaminated drinking water are at increased risk of spina bifida, anencephaly, cleft lip or cleft palate, and childhood leukemia or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
On January 11, 2011 VA issued a further directive letter to the Regional Offices, called Fast Letter (FL)11-03 Consolidation and Processing of Disability claims Based on Exposure to Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. FL 11-03 states that all disability claims and appeals based on exposure to contaminated water at Marine Corps base camp Lejeune, North Carolina will be consolidated and processed by the Louisville Regional Office. The letter indicates that the Compensation and Pension Service is drafting a new training letter specific to Camp Lejeune exposure. Information that VA will be seeking includes details such as date, location, and length of time on Camp Lejeune, medical, occupational, and environmental exposure history, and any other pertinent facts.
My research into this issue brought me to the following website: The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten, http://www.tftptf.com/. This website’s mission states it is dedicated to help ensure the rights of former residents, Marine/Naval personnel, dependent family members, and civilians who resided in military base housing at Marine Corps Base, Camp LeJuene, North Carolina between 1957 and 1987. I found the website contains useful and up-dated information that may assist veterans seeking compensation in this area.
Gardberg continues to monitor and track VA policy developments regarding compensation for veterans and dependents exposed to water contamination at Camp LeJuene.
Please contact me if you, or a loved one, have any questions regarding filing or appealing a application for VA compensation based on exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987.