Marines and employees at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina were unknowingly exposed to carcinogenic chemicals in their drinking water for three decades spanning the 1950s to the 1980s. Scientific studies have concluded that these chemicals caused serious adverse health consequences for these individuals.
Aplastic anemia is one of the diseases that has been conclusively linked to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. People who became victims of the Camp Lejeune contamination disaster will soon be able to bring civil lawsuits and get compensation under a new pending in Congress. Our firm is currently accepting cases from individuals who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune and were diagnosed with aplastic anemia or similar conditions.
History of Camp Lejeune Water
Camp Lejeune is a very large Marine Corps training facility and military base near Wilmington, North Carolina. The base has been in continuous use by the USMC since 1942. During that time, Lejeune has served as a short-term home for a population of roughly 50,000 people.
It served as a workplace for several thousand more. The base has barracks, family housing, schools, and hospitals. Camp Lejeune also has its own drinking water supply system fed by massive underground aquifer wells and maintained by the USMC.
Critically high levels of the carcinogenic chemicals perchloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE) (known as chlorinated solvents), and vinyl chloride (a product of TCE breakdown) contaminated the water supply at Camp Lejeune from August 1953 until 1987. The level of these carcinogens found in the Lejeune water was hundreds and even thousands of times above the EPA maximum safe levels.
Over 1 million people, including Marines, families, and civilian contractors and employees, lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during the period of contamination and were exposed to the harmful water supply.
Aplastic Anemia Linked to Camp Lejeune Water
Camp Lejeune was one of the most infamous water contamination incidents in U.S. history. A collection of public health agencies have devoted decades to studying the effects of the polluted water on the long-term health of residents and employees who were exposed to it.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the investigation branch of the CDC, has been heavily involved in the research effort at Camp Lejeune since 1991. The ATSDR’s field work and research at Lejeune has yielded advanced historical modeling mapping the estimated contamination levels in the Lejeune water systems over the last 50 years.
The historical contamination modeling provided by the ATSDR has enabled several epidemiologic studies to been done on individuals exposed to the Lejeune water over the years. These studies have identified are host of adverse health outcomes associated with Lejeune, including birth defects, cancer, and other diseases.
2009 NRC Report
The National Research Council (NRC) was one of the first to issued a comprehensive report on the health impacts of the Lejeune water contamination in a 2009 report entitled Contaminated Water Supplies at Camp Lejeune: Assessing Potential Health Effects (NRC Report). The NRC Report identified evidence indicating that individuals with exposure to the water at Lejeune suffered higher aplastic anemia.
VA Clinical Guidance
In 2012, the Veteran’s Administration (VA) created a select committee of prominent medical and scientific experts (the “VA Committee”). The VA Committee was tasked with evaluating and scrutinizing all of the scientific evidence on Lejeune and providing the VA with formal opinions as to what health conditions could be associated with the Lejeune water contamination based on solid evidence.
The VA Committee published its official Clinical Guidance identifying diseases related to Camp Lejeune. The VA Clinical Guidance identified aplastic anemia as one of the specific health conditions that could be definitively connected to the contamination at Camp Lejeune.
The ATSDR conducted a long-term mortality and cancer incidence study for the Camp Lejeune population (the “ATSDR Study”) and the first results were published in 2014. The ATSDR Study also found that there was evidence of clear association between the Camp Lejeune water and higher rates of aplastic anemia. The ATSDR study also found that the incidence rates of aplastic anemia were highest among those study participants with the most exposure to the contaminated water.
New Law Will Allow Camp Lejeune Lawsuits for Aplastic Anemia
Former residents of Camp Lejeune who were injured by the water pollution have previously been barred from brining civil lawsuits. Congress is currently working on a new federal statute that will allow these victims to bring claims. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), which has been merged into the Honoring Our Pact Act (PACT Act), was passed by the House and is currently pending in the Senate.
When the CLJA becomes law, victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination will have a 2-year window to file civil lawsuits against the government for injuries related to the water contamination. CLJA plaintiffs will have the burden of proving their claims, but the CLJA establishes a lower causation standard than in normal tort cases.
Under this lowered standard established by the CLJA, plaintiffs may not be required to support their claims with expert opinions. If their alleged health condition has been linked to Camp Lejeune in previous epidemiological studies, no further evidence of causation will be required. Aplastic anemia has been linked to the Camp Lejeune water contamination, which means plaintiffs could establish per se causation based on existing health studies.
About Aplastic Anemia
Aplastic anemia is a relatively rare condition in which the bone marrow does not produce enough new blood cells. This leaves the body with a shortage of blood cells. Symptoms can involve fatigue, cardiovascular abnormalities, compromised immune system, and inability of the blood to clot normally.
Aplastic anemia can range from very severe and sometimes life-threatening, to relatively mild with few symptoms. Treatment options for aplastic anemia range from blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants, to medication and observation, depending on the severity of the condition.
How Much Are Camp Lejeune Aplastic Anemia Cases Worth?
It’s too early to know for certain how much cases under the CLJA will be worth in settlement. The law has not even passed yet and there are many variables.
However, we can still estimate the potential settlement value of Camp Lejeune lawsuits involving aplastic anemia by looking at settlements and verdicts in prior tort cases (e.g., medical malpractice cases). We can also look at the nature and prognosis for aplastic anemia.
Based on these comparative points, we believe that Camp Lejeune cases under the CLJA aplastic anemia will have an average settlement value between $110,00 and $205,000. This is valuation estimate is lower compared to cases involving things like cancer because aplastic anemia is not usually life threatening in the short-term.
Contact Us About Camp Lejeune Aplastic Anemia Lawsuits
If you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 and were later diagnosed with aplastic anemia, contact us today at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation.