Studies currently being conducted by The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) may, in the future, provide scientific information to help evaluate possible service-connection for health effects or to make policy changes.
These studies include a refinement of water modeling studies to determine the extent of benzene contamination, whether there is an increase in birth defects, a health outcome survey, and mortality study to determine the causes of death in the Camp Lejeune population. Results are expected in 2013.
Industrial chemical exposure
Drinking-water systems that supplied two areas of housing at Camp Lejeune were contaminated with industrial chemicals from at least 1957 to 1985. The contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985. The chemicals primarily were:
- Perchloroethylene (PCE) (145 KB, PDF), a dry cleaning solvent
- Trichloroethylene (TCE) (76 KB, PDF), a metal greasing solvent
- Benzene (55 KB, PDF), a fuel component
- Vinyl chloride (59 KB, PDF), which can form when TCE and PCE are broken down
Health effects from toxic water exposure
The duration and intensity of the exposure at Camp Lejeune are unknown. The geographic extent of contamination by specific chemicals also is unknown.
Scientific studies show some evidence of an increased risk of kidney cancer in workers exposed to high levels of TCE over many years. High-level benzene exposure is associated with an increased risk of leukemia.
In 2009, the National Research Council published a report, Contaminated Water Supplies at Camp Lejeune. The report concludes that available scientific evidence does not provide sufficient basis to determine if the population of Camp Lejeune suffered adverse health effects as a result of exposure to contaminants in the water supply.
If you have health concerns about exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.
Learn about health benefits for Veterans and family members.
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