People serving or residing at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina from the 1950s through the 1980s were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents including benzene, a known carcinogen, and may qualify for VA benefits.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has linked the chemicals in the water to eight conditions – adult leukemia, aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease.
Active duty, reserve, and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for 30 cumulative days or more from Aug. 1, 1953, to Dec. 31, 1987, who developed one of these qualifying conditions may be eligible for VA Health Benefits. Certain surviving spouses may also qualify for VA Survivors Benefits.
Benzene is a known cancer-causing chemical, but more than 238,000 people are exposed to benzene in the workplace each day. Short-term exposure can cause dizziness, vomiting and unconsciousness. Long-term exposure can affect the production of red blood cells, lowering the immune system’s ability to fight infection and leading to anemia and cancer. Recurrent exposure to benzene has been linked to the development of leukemia, specifically a type called acute myeloid leukemia, or AML.
Veterans who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days during the covered time period should contact their local VA health care facility to sign up for the Camp Lejeune Program and receive VA Care. For more information about this program, go to VA.gov.
Source: The Durango Herald