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Camp Lejeune Birth Defects

The Camp Lejeune water contamination tragedy has affected over one million people, including active duty and former military service members, families, non-military staff, and others. The hazardous chemicals in the water have been linked to various severe health conditions, including cancer, birth defects, including spina bifida, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and other potentially life-threatening injuries.

Were you or a loved one affected by this tragedy? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can help. Many Camp Lejeune veterans seek answers about what to do next, and we're here to support all injured victims and surviving family members.


Contact our product liability lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

The Long History of Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water

The Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base has been in continuous use since 1942. In 1982, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that the water was contaminated with harmful chemicals. A study by the Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry in 2016 found a correlation between water contamination and an increased risk for birth defects.

Pregnant women exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune are at increased risk for certain birth defects, including spina bifida. Injuries to maternal exposure are still being determined, but the chemicals in the water are incredibly harmful.

The water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOC) chemicals, including perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). The levels of these chemicals in the water at Lejeune were off the charts at over 2000 times higher than EPA safety limits.

Camp Lejeune was polluted with toxic chemicals from 1953 to 1987, exposing 1.1 million people. The extent of the contamination was revealed later, and those affected have been seeking answers ever since.

The Marine Corps Air Station Camp Lejeune was home to many Marine Corps officers and their families over the years. As a result, many women lived at Camp Lejeune during pregnancy resulting in utero exposure to the contaminants in the water. This exposure has been linked to birth defects in their children.

Camp Lejeune Birth Defect Statistics According to The Centers for Disease Control

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a link between birth defects and the tainted water supply at Camp Lejeune. The agency conducted a health survey that showed pregnant women who drank the water at the camp were more likely to have children with birth defects.

The CDC reports that between 8,000 and 10,000 Camp Lejeune babies born with birth defects were diagnosed with oral clefts, cleft lip, and neural tube birth defects since the water contamination were discovered in the Camp Lejeune water supply during the 1980s.

The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has set up a registry for those exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. As of June 2019, there are over 19,000 people registered.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) completed a health survey in 2012. They interviewed 1,400 adults who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1957 and 1987. The survey showed that adults who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during that time had a higher rate of certain health conditions.

Causes of Camp Lejeune Birth Defects From Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

The water supply at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with harmful VOC chemicals, including Trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride, which are known to cause birth defects.

  • Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a solvent used at Camp Lejeune to clean metal parts. It can damage the nervous system, liver, and kidneys. TCE has been linked to spina bifida, anencephaly, and other severe defects.
  • Perchloroethylene (PCE) is a dry-cleaning solvent used at Camp Lejeune near a dry cleaner establishment. It can damage the liver, kidney, and heart. PCE has been linked to anencephaly and other neural tube birth defects.
  • Benzene is a component of gasoline. It was found in the water supply at Camp Lejeune because of leaking fuel tanks. Benzene can damage the blood cells and has been linked to leukemia.
  • Vinyl chloride is a chemical used in manufacturing plastics. It was found in the water at Camp Lejeune because of leaking storage tanks. Vinyl chloride can damage the liver, kidneys, and nervous system. It has been linked to anencephaly and other neural tube defects.

These are just four of over 400 chemicals found in the water at Camp Lejeune. There may be other chemicals that have not been identified yet.

Women exposed to the tainted water at Camp Lejeune during their pregnancy are at an increased risk of having a baby with a birth defect.


Injuries Caused by Contaminated Drinking Water

The increasing risk of drinking water at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987 led to developing childhood cancers, birth defects, and neural tube defects. Many Camp Lejeune children born with birth defects and childhood cancers also developed severe medical conditions later in life.

The common childbirth defects associated with Camp Lejeune drinking water caused by dangerous chemicals and organic compounds (volatile) include:

  • Childhood leukemia
  • Childhood cancer
  • Oral cleft defects, including cleft palate, oral clefts, and cleft lip
  • Spina bifida
  • Neural tube birth defects
  • Brain cancer
  • Other childbirth defects

Other known medical conditions associated with drinking the toxic substances in the Camp Lejeune water supply include:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Adverse birth outcomes
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Breast cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cardiac defect
  • Cervical cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Female infertility
  • Heart defect
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancers
  • Liver diseases
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)
  • Nephrotoxicity (kidney damage)
  • Neurobehavioral disorders
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL)
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Plasma cell myeloma
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal, colorectal/colon cancers
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma
  • Other cancers

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act

In 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, allowing victims harmed by the contaminated Camp Lejeune water supply to obtain financial compensation for damages.

The Act provides for a fund to be established to pay for medical treatment of individuals with certain illnesses that the contaminated water may have caused. The Act also allows victims to file suit against the United States government for damages arising from the contamination.

The government is now paying benefits to victims with presumptive conditions, including:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

The federal government presumes that any diagnosis of any medical conditions listed above is connected to the contaminated Camp Lejeune water supply for veterans and family members at the base during a specific time.


Filing a Camp Lejeune Birth Defect Lawsuit

You may have legal options if you or a family member are affected by contaminated water-related birth defects. Children born with defects after their mothers spent at least 30 non-consecutive days at the military base qualify.

Families affected by birth defects and childhood cancers may be able to file a Camp Lejeune birth defect lawsuit. Was your child diagnosed with a birth defect or cancer? Speak to a personal injury lawyer at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC about your legal options.

Who Is Responsible for the Birth Defects at the Military Base?

The cause of these childbirth defects is still unknown, but many families believe that the United States Marine Corps is responsible. The Marines operated a base at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987, and many families believe that the water supply was contaminated with carcinogens and toxins.

This water supply was used to drink, bathe, and cook while living or working on the base or surrounding area. As a result, many children were born with birth defects and childhood cancers.

The Marine Corps has denied any responsibility for the birth defects at the military base, but many families are fighting for justice. They believe that the Marine Corps should be held responsible for the damage that they have caused.

However, with the recent passing of the PACT Act, which also contains the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, families now have legal remedies to seek and obtain compensation.

Filing a Claim

Filing a Camp Lejeune birth defect lawsuit can be complex. Hiring a lawyer specializing in birth defect and cancer lawsuits can simplify your process. The lawyer will:

  • Review the child's medical records, which should include an accurate diagnosis
  • Obtain a family history that shows there was evidence of exposure to Camp Lejeune water (the evidence might consist of medical records, military records, and water testing results
  • Work directly with the Department of Veterans Administration (VA) and an associated insurance company that will pay childbirth defects benefits.


Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer to Pursue a Birth Defect Lawsuit

Do you suspect your child developed a severe medical condition due to residential exposure to Camp Lejeune water contamination? The federal government is not providing financial benefits to children born with an injury or defect if their mother lived on the military base between 1957 and 1987.

We represent Camp Lejeune victims harmed by the contaminated drinking water at the military base. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to schedule a free consultation.

We accept every Camp Lejeune water contamination case on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement ensures no upfront fees are paid until we resolve your case through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.



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