Linked Conditions to the Chemicals Found at Onslow Beach in Camp Lejeune

By now, you may be familiar with reports that the Camp Lejeune water supply was tainted by toxic chemicals for decades, from the 1950s to the 1980s. 

Individuals who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987 for a period of at least 30 days, or who were otherwise exposed to the camp’s drinking water during this time period, have potentially ingested toxic levels of dangerous chemicals.

The problems at Camp Lejeune can be traced to several water wells on and around the base. Contaminated groundwater in these wells was pumped into one of several water treatment plants. These plants were supposed to make the water safe for drinking and other human uses, but that’s not what happened. The water remained tainted. 

Service members, their families, and workers at Camp Lejeune unknowingly used the contaminated water, and many are now developing health complications as a result.

Chemicals Discovered in Onslow Beach Water Treatment Plant 

Over the past 70 years, Camp Lejeune has used eight water treatment plants at various points to provide the base with drinking and potable water. Onslow Beach is one of these facilities and potentially provided service members and others with contaminated drinking water.

Some of the highest levels of contamination were discovered in the plants at Hadnot Point and Tarawa Beach, but other plants like Onslow Beach were also unsafe. 

The plants that fed particular neighborhoods with water would switch from time to time for maintenance or other reasons. Sometimes, a contaminated water supply would be routed through multiple treatment plants before being distributed to consumers.

Chemicals Found in Onslow Beach Plant Water Supply and Elsewhere

Some of the chemical substances that have been detected in the Camp Lejeune water supply include:

  • PCE, or tetrachloroethylene, a solvent used in dry cleaning and metal cleaning
  • TCE, or trichloroethylene, used as a metal degreaser and in refrigerants
  • Benzene, a solvent used to make other chemicals and gasoline
  • Vinyl chloride, a key ingredient in PVC material

These and other chemicals were found at levels well beyond levels recognized as safe for human beings. For example, tests of the groundwater at the Hadnot Point treatment facility in 1982 revealed a concentration of TCE of 1,400 parts per billion in the drinking water. Shockingly, the safety threshold for TCE is only five parts per billion.

Health Complications Associated with Toxic Drinking Water

Service members and their loved ones who have filed claims with the VA or lawsuits against the government have reported suffering a variety of health complications. These complications arise after chronic exposure to or ingestion of toxins, which may take as few as 30 days.

The list of health complications caused by toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune includes the following conditions:

Various Forms of Cancer

A study conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) found that exposure to the toxins in the Camp Lejeune water supply corresponded to an increased risk of developing certain kinds of cancer. 

These included:

  • Leukemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney and liver cancer
  • Breast and cervical cancer

The increased risk of developing cancer was not insignificant. In the case of multiple myeloma, there was up to a 68% increase in a person’s chances of developing the disease following chronic, long-term exposure to the Camp Lejeune toxins.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease refers to a disorder of the nervous system that gets progressively worse over time. Symptoms may start out as a small tremor in your hand but can progress to body stiffness, impaired speech, and the inability to stand straight or balance. There’s no cure for Parkinson’s.

It is believed that consumption of drinking water contaminated with TCE can lead to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. 

This connection has been recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2015–2016. It was at this time that the VA permitted service members exposed to toxic Camp Lejeune water to receive benefits following a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

Infertility Among Women

According to ATSDR’s research, women who lived at Camp Lejeune and were exposed to the chemical-laden drinking water on the base experienced a greater number of adverse fertility events. These included an increased rate of infertility, miscarriages, and other adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Who Is at Greatest Risk of Health Complications from Onslow Beach Toxic Water?

The risk of an adverse health outcome, such as a cancer diagnosis or infertility, increases with time and exposure. The longer you are around toxic substances like PCE and TCE, or the more concentrated these substances are when you are in their presence, the greater the risk to your health.

Those who were present at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987 for a period of at least 30 days have been identified as having an elevated risk of developing these health conditions. 

It does not matter if you were a service member, the family member of a service person, or an independent contractor. You may also be at risk if you did not live on base but were on the base during the day for work and consumed the base’s water while at lunch or on your break.

Where to Find Out More About Onslow Beach Illness

If you believe you may have been exposed to toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune, there’s a chance that the water could have come from the Onslow Beach treatment facility. It is important that you take the time to speak with a qualified Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyer as soon as possible. 

Consider a law firm with substantial experience in representing other Camp Lejeune claimants, as such a firm should be able to review your case quickly and help you file a claim promptly, if eligible. 

You can also check your eligibility by completing the form on the side of this page and be connected with an experienced attorney in your area who can provide you with further guidance and advice.