How Did Camp Lejeune’s Water Become Contaminated?
One of the main contaminants in the Camp Lejeune water supply is trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent chemical commonly found in dry cleaning products, carpet cleaners, and spray adhesives. This chemical is known to have heavily contaminated the drinking water at the Camp Lejeune base, stemming from spills and improper disposal of the cleaning agent. When toxic compounds such as TCE are improperly disposed of, they can dissolve and leach into soil, contaminating the groundwater below.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the maximum safe level for TCE in drinking water at just five parts per billion. The water at Camp Lejeune had a dangerously high level of TCE (1400 parts per billion), which was hundreds of times higher than the established maximum safe limit.
TCE and Parkinson’s
The Journal of Parkinson’s Disease cites a study by researchers with the University of Rochester Medical Center that suggests that exposure to TCE can lead to a 500% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. These researchers reviewed existing scientific literature, animal studies, and human case studies in order to determine that exposure to TCE has contributed to a global doubling in Parkinson’s Disease rates over the past 30 years.
The researchers further calculated that over one million citizens of the Camp Lejeune military base faced exposure to contaminated water between 1953 and 1987, leading to thousands of cases of cancer, Parkinson’s, and other health complications, including birth defects and wrongful deaths of unborn children.
These researchers call for greater research on the subject of TCE as it relates to Parkinson’s Disease, as well as protection from contaminated sites and the banning of TCE as a cleaning agent in the United States.
Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Lawsuits
The United States government has known for decades that the contaminated water supply at Camp Lejeune has potentially led to cancer, neurological disorders, and death among residents of the base. In particular, research has found that there is an increased risk of death from Parkinson’s disease among former residents and employees of Camp Lejeune. However, the claims that veterans and civilians have previously presented from Camp Lejeune have all been denied under the North Carolina Statute of Repose and qualified immunity defenses.
In 2022, President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which opened a two-year window for Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits to be filed.
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