For over 30 years the drinking water at the Marine Corps Base in Lejeune, NC (Camp Lejeune) was contaminated. In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water provided by 2 of the 8 water treatment plants on base. The primary contaminant was PCE (perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene). The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) estimated that the contaminant concentrations exceeded the current EPA maximum contaminant level during November 1957 through February 1987. The most contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985. The ATSDR used a data analysis and modeling approach to reconstruct historical contaminant concentrations.
In response to the contamination at Camp Lejeune, Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act in 2012. The law was updated in December, 2014, to expand the eligibility start date to August 1, 1953.
The Veterans Administration (VA) lists the eligibility requirements, evidence requirements, and how to apply for compensation due to exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
- You must be a veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable
- You must have served at Camp Lejeune during the period of contamination (August 1953 through 1987)
- You must have a current disease and a medical opinion that states the disease is a result of exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune
The website shows that normally the VA will initiate a VA medical examination and request an opinion regarding the relationship of the disease to Camp Lejeune service. It also notes that compensation claims will be decided on a case by case basis.
- The evidence must show you served at Camp Lejeune during the period of contamination (August 1953 through December 1987)
- The evidence must show you have a current disease and include a medical opinion indicating the disease is a result of exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune
How To Apply
- Apply online using eBenefits OR
- Work with an accredited representative or agent OR
- Go to a VA Regional Office and have a VA employee assist you.
Veterans and family members who served on active duty or resided at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 may be eligible for VA health benefits for 15 conditions:
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Lung cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Myelodysplastic Syndromes
- Hepatic steatosis
- Neurobehavioral effects
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) also published a report, Review of VA Clinical Guidance for the Health Conditions Identified by the Camp Lejeune Legislation, to ensure that the clinical guidance for the medical conditions listed above are scientifically sound.