Camp Lejeune Miscarriage Claims
Dozens of factors can contribute to a miscarriage. But the people stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 wouldn’t have known that the water they were drinking, bathing in, and cooking with could cause pregnancy-related issues until many years later.
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is one of the worst water contamination cases in US history. Aside from an estimated one million people being exposed to toxic water, the military did nothing to address the problem until it was made public. Unfortunately, their inaction led to thousands of people suffering health problems later in life.
Authorities found that the water at Camp Lejeune had alarming amounts of toxic chemicals, including trichloroethylene, tetrachlorethylene, vinyl chloride, and benzene. Exposure to these volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is linked to an increased risk of specific diseases, including cancers, birth defects, and miscarriage.
Did you or a loved one suffer a miscarriage from the contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune? If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can help you pursue damages for medical expenses, emotional trauma, disabilities, and other losses caused by Camp Lejeune’s toxic water.
Contact our product liability law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
What Happened to the Water at Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune is a 156,000-acre military training facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina. It houses barracks, base administrative services, schools, recreational areas, and enlisted-family housing for service members, civilian employees, and family members.
Camp Lejeune was considered a “major polluter” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the 1970s. During that time, the military dumped oil and industrial wastewater in storm drains. Moreover, radioactive materials, including dog carcasses used in testing, may have been buried on the camp’s grounds.
An off-base dry-cleaning business nearby significantly contributed to water contamination at the military base. The establishment disposed of wastewater containing dry cleaning chemicals into the drains, including tetrachloroethylene, perchloroethylene (PCE), and another suspected carcinogen used by the Corps to clean machinery.
Water Contamination Testing
Military chemists began testing the camp’s water in earnest in October 1980. Tests found trace levels of organic compounds in treated water. However, base officials did nothing to address the issue after receiving the results.
In 1982, Grainger Laboratories in Raleigh, North Carolina, tested the water at Camp Lejeune. Scientists found “synthetic organic solvents” in the water from two of the base’s largest residential areas, where thousands of service workers and family members lived. Again, the Marine Corps took no action.
Then, chemists tested the water wells at Camp Lejeune directly in 1984, finding dangerous amounts of gasoline in the water. The Corps finally took action after the news was public, and ten wells were closed in late 1984 and 1985.
Toxic Substances Found in the Water at Camp Lejeune
Supply wells at Camp Lejeune were contaminated with hazardous chemicals from leaking underground storage tanks, waste disposal areas, and industrial spills. Scientists and researchers found the following chemicals in the camp’s drinking water:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE): Used for cleaning metal parts, making refrigerants, and degreasing metal equipment.
- Perchloroethylene (PCE): Used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing.
- Vinyl chloride (VC): TCE and PCE degrade into VC in groundwater over time; they are used to make plastic products and produced as a combustion product in tobacco.
- Benzene: Used to make other chemicals used for manufacturing plastics, nylons, resins, and synthetic fibers.
Health Effects of Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
Exposure to the hazardous chemicals in the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune increases the risk of certain diseases, including prostate cancer.
The following are health effects with sufficient scientific evidence for illness causation from the harmful chemicals found in the water supply at Camp Lejeune:
- Kidney cancer
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Cardiac defects
- Bladder cancer
- Liver cancer
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
These substances may also increase the risk of other diseases, but insufficient scientific evidence supports a link between the condition and exposure. These diseases and conditions include but are not limited to:
- Multiple myeloma
- End-stage renal disease
- Breast cancer
- Brain cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Lung cancers
- Birth defects
However, not everyone that uses contaminated water develops health issues. The effects of chemical exposure depend on:
- When you were exposed to the contaminated water (e.g., during childhood, pregnancy, etc.)
- How much you were exposed
- How long you were exposed
- How you were exposed (e.g., via drinking, bathing, etc.)
- Personal traits and habits
What Is Miscarriage?
Miscarriage occurs when the fetus dies in the womb before the 20th week of pregnancy. It is common in the very early stages of pregnancy, and many mothers are unaware that they are pregnant before the miscarriage occurs.
The risk factors for miscarriage include older age, diabetes, unhealthy weight, and prenatal exposure to dangerous chemicals.
TCE and Miscarriage
Investigations into the water contamination at Camp Lejeune showed that the base’s water contained dangerous levels of trichloroethylene (TCE), among other substances.
TCE is a common industrial solvent used for cleaning and degreasing metal equipment and can leak into groundwater when disposed of improperly.
It poses a risk for pregnant women and women of reproductive age at air concentrations below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Level (PEL). The risk is even greater for women who drink or bathe in water contaminated with TCE.
Scientific evidence shows that prenatal exposure to TCE may increase the risk of:
- Fetal cardiac arrest
- Impaired fetal immune system
- Neural tube defects
- Oral cleft defects
- Delayed organ and bone development
- Fetal death
Benzene and Miscarriage
Benzene is a colorless (or light yellow at room temperature), highly flammable chemical used in many manufacturing and pharmaceutical applications. It is found in crude oil, gasoline, tobacco smoke, plastics, rubbers, and synthetic fibers.
Trace amounts of benzene are not dangerous. However, ingesting high levels of benzene directly and long-term exposure to it can cause many adverse health conditions, including:
- Birth defects
- Compromised immune system
- Increased risk of infection
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Low birth weight
Did the Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune Cause Birth Defects?
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) studied the link between contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and birth defects and childhood cancers. Investigators found these effects in children born from 1968 to 1985 whose mothers were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
Moreover, the study showed that the risk of neural tube defects increased with higher exposure to TCE during the first trimester.
Generally, most birth defects occur in the first three months of pregnancy and can range from mild to severe. Common birth defects include:
- Low birth weight
- Heart defects
- Neural tube defects (e.g., spina bifida)
- Abnormal limbs
- Cleft palate
- Intellectual and developmental disabilities (e.g., Down’s syndrome)
- Metabolic disorders (e.g., hypothyroidism)
- Degenerative diseases (e.g., Muscular Dystrophy)
- Sensory issues (e.g., blindness, deafness)
Effects of Birth Defects
Mild birth defects don’t typically affect a child’s quality of life. Severe birth defects, on the other hand, can cause long-term disability or death.
Children born with birth defects rarely outgrow them. A family with a baby born with a birth defect may experience additional hardships in life, including financial difficulties due to the child’s medical needs.
Parents may also need to make significant changes to their lives (e.g., move houses, switch jobs, stop having children) to adapt to their child’s condition.
Furthermore, children born with severe birth defects often face significant challenges while growing up, such as reduced independence and an elevated risk of other health conditions.
Compensation for Victims of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Miscarriage is a tragic and traumatizing event for pregnant women and their family members. In the case of Camp Lejeune, many losses were sadly due to the negligence of the military.
Anyone who suffers an injury or loss caused by someone else’s actions (or inaction) deserves compensation. Veterans and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 to 1987 and who suffered a miscarriage may be entitled to financial compensation from the federal government.
VA Compensation for Miscarriage
The Camp Lejeune Act of 2012 provides health care and health care funding assistance to veterans, reservists, national guards, and families who:
- Lived on Camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987
- Did not receive a dishonorable discharge from the military
- Were diagnosed with qualifying health conditions
The Act has 15 qualifying health conditions:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
Eligible individuals can enroll in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care program and receive benefits for the covered health conditions.
In applying for the VA, service members must submit the following evidence:
- Documentation showing you lived at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987
- Medical records that show you have a covered condition
Veterans’ family members must submit the following in addition to the previous requirements:
- Documentation showing a legal dependent relationship to a veteran who served at Camp Lejeune
- Evidence of payment for medical treatment of a covered condition
The reimbursement for medical costs of veterans’ families depends on when they lived at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune:
- Between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987 - reimbursement for care received on or after August 6, 2012, and up to 2 years before the date of application.
- Between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1956 - reimbursement for care received on or after December 16, 2014, and up to 2 years before the date of application.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
The Senate recently passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, allowing victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune to file lawsuits against the federal government. Previously, victims were barred from filing legal claims due to the lack of a legal mechanism to pursue damages from the US military.
The Act also overrides the statute of limitations in North Carolina that bars the filing of compensation claims after ten years.
By filing a lawsuit, you could recover financial compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Reduced earning potential
- Wrongful death
The Role of Lawyers in Camp Lejeune Miscarriage Claims
The VA provides medical and disability benefits to victims affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. However, some Camp Lejeune miscarriage claims are denied by the VA. Other claimants receive a low disability rating, which reduces the maximum amount of benefits to which they are entitled.
If the VA denies your claim or gives you a low rating, an injury lawyer could help you file an appeal. Furthermore, they can help you file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit if filing a claim is unsuccessful. Your lawyer can help you prove service connection and the extent of your illness’ severity to ensure you receive the maximum VA disability benefits to which you may be entitled.
Hire a Camp Lejeune Miscarriage Lawyer to Resolve Your Case
The contaminated water at Camp Lejeune had toxin concentration levels 280 times higher than safe numbers. The consequences did not appear for the people exposed to the chemical-laden water until many years later.
Until now, it was almost impossible for victims to seek compensation for the diseases they developed due to the gross negligence at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. But thanks to recent laws, victims (including civilians) can now pursue damages against responsible parties.
Did you or a loved one suffer a miscarriage due to toxic water at Camp Lejeune? If so, let Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, seek compensation on your behalf. Whether it’s through filing a VA claim or a lawsuit, our skilled attorneys will ensure you obtain the justice you deserve.
Contact our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay for our legal services unless we win your case.