Our attorneys are handling Camp Lejeune lawsuits in all 50 states. This page focuses on brain cancer at Camp Lejeune. Our lawyers talk about the connection between brain cancer and contaminated water – a connection that was not originally made – and the potential settlement amounts victims and their families may see in these civil lawsuits.
The law Congress passed to allow victims to file a Camp Lejuene lawsuit was to right a wrong. For over three decades, the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina exposed employees and residents to toxic chemicals in the drinking water. After decades of waiting, a new federal law has given victims of the water contamination at Lejeune the right to bring tort lawsuits and get the compensation they deserve.
The industrial chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune are known to be human carcinogens and individuals who were exposed to the water for long time periods have displayed higher rates of cancer.
Brain cancer is one of the cancer types that might be associated with the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Individuals who lived or worked at Lejeune between 1954 and 1987 and were diagnosed with brain cancer can bring a civil lawsuit and seek compensation. If these individuals are now deceased, their family members can bring a wrongful death claim.
Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
Camp Lejeune is a large Marine Corps base and training facility that is a few miles north of Wilmington, North Carolina. Camp Lejeune opened in 1942. It functions much like a town with a population of over 50,000. The base has been a home and/or workplace for millions of Marines, civilian employees, and their families.
Camp Lejeune had an independent water system, fed by underground aquifer wells. In the 1980s, new environmental regulations requiring water quality testing led to the discovery that the drinking water supply at Camp Lejeune was highly contaminated with toxic, cancer-causing chemicals.
The hazardous chemicals that were found in the Lejeune water were perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE), which are types of chlorinated solvents. Subsequent research determined that these chemicals contaminated the groundwater wells from 1953 to 1987. The levels of TCE and PCE in the Lejeune water for 34 years were several hundred times higher than the maximum safe limits established by the EPA and other health agencies.
Camp Lejeune is considered one of the worst incidents of contaminated public water in U.S. history because of the level of contamination and the length of time that it occurred. Based on personnel records, it has been estimated that over 1.1 million base residents and employees were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune during this time period.
Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune Caused Higher Cancer Rates
When the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident became public knowledge, it was a major embarrassment for the Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy. In response, the federal government directed several different public health agencies to perform extensive research and studies to assess the health impact of the water contamination.
The 2009 National Research Council report (the “NRC Report”) was one of the first public health studies to assess the consequences of the toxic water at Lejeune. The NRC Report found evidence of a clear association between long-term exposure to the contaminated water at Lejeune and higher rates of cancer.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control, has been involved in research at Camp Lejeune since the early 1990s. The ATSDR has done advanced modeling that mapped the water contamination at Lejeune going back several decades. The ATSDR also performed an extensive health survey study that compared the health records of former residents and employees of Camp Lejeune to a control group from another Marine Corps base with a clean water supply.
The results of this survey study were published in 2014 and are known as the ATSDR Mortality Study. The ATSDR Mortality Study found that former Lejeune employees and residents had significantly higher rates of cancer compared to the control group. The study concluded that there was a clear link between the Lejeune water and cancer.
In 2015, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) formed a special committee of medical experts (the “VA Committee”) to assist the VA in providing health benefits to Camp Lejeune veterans. The VA Committee was tasked with reviewing all of the available evidence, along with any new studies, and evaluating the health impact of exposure to the chemical solvents in the Camp Lejeune Water supply.
Based on this review, the VA Committee determined what specific diseases and health conditions could be linked to the Camp Lejeune water supply based on reliable evidence. The VA Committee concluded that there was very strong and compelling evidence linking exposure to Camp Lejeune’s water to higher rates of cancer.
The brain, one of the most vital and complex organs in the human body, serves as the command center for our nervous system. It plays a significant role in every bodily function, including cognition, emotion, and motor skills. Despite its importance and complexity, the brain is not immune to diseases, including cancer.
Cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. It’s the result of changes to the cells’ DNA, which can occur randomly or due to exposure to certain environmental factors. While cancer can develop anywhere in the body, brain cancer specifically refers to malignant tumors that originate in the brain. Brain cancer is relatively rare, accounting for approximately 1.4% of all new cancer cases in the United States which is why the incidence rate at Camp Lejeune is alarming.
Brain cancers are classified into two main types: primary and secondary (or metastatic). Primary brain tumors originate in the brain and may be benign or malignant, though the term “brain cancer” often refers to malignant ones. These cancers can originate from various cells within the brain, leading to numerous specific types of primary brain cancer, such as gliomas, meningiomas, and pituitary tumors. Secondary, or metastatic brain tumors, on the other hand, are cancers that have spread to the brain from another part of the body. This is the most common type of brain cancer. They are classified based on where the cancer originated, such as lung cancer metastasizing to the brain. For the purpose of a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, secondary brain cancer would not be considered a brain cancer claim. Instead, it would focus on the original type of cancer.
Regardless of the type, brain cancers pose serious health risks. Symptoms often include headaches, nausea, seizures, and changes in personality or cognitive ability, depending on the location of the tumor within the brain. These symptoms can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and require immediate medical attention.
The precise cause of brain cancer remains largely unknown, but research suggests that genetic mutations and certain environmental exposures may increase risk. While anyone can develop brain cancer, certain factors such as age, family history of brain tumors, exposure to radiation, and a history of certain genetic disorders can increase the risk.
Treatment for brain cancer is complex and dependent on the type, size, and location of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health. It typically involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Advances in medical technology, such as targeted therapies and immunotherapies, offer hope for more effective treatments in the future.
Brain Cancer and Contaminated Water
Contaminated water is a pressing global concern due to its potential to adversely affect human health. One of the serious health conditions associated with polluted water is brain cancer. Although the connection is still under extensive research, several studies suggest a link between brain cancer and long-term exposure to certain contaminants found in water.
Many harmful substances can find their way into water sources, including industrial chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, and radioactive substances. One such group of contaminants are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are released into the environment through industrial processes, agricultural practices, and improper disposal of chemical waste. Some VOCs, like trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene – chemicals that were ubiquitous in the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, have been found to potentially increase the risk of developing brain cancer.
Evidence Linking Brain Cancer to Chemicals in Lejeune Water
Let’s start with a very basic premise. DCE and vinyl chloride are toxic chemicals and are classified by the EPA as cancer-causing agents. Vinyl Chloride in particular has been linked to human brain cancer. In particular, we are seeing increased incidence rates of two brain cancers – oligodendroglioma and glioblastoma – in people exposed to toxic water.
Importantly, the Board of Veterans Appeals has already found a relationship between the drinking water at Camp Lejeune and brain cancer.
ATSDR Mortality Study
The ATSDR Mortality Study identified a number of different cancer types and other diseases that could be linked to exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune based on either the results of the health survey or on independent epidemiological studies. The ATSDR reports cancer types and diseases into two different tiers based on the strength of causation evidence.
First Tier of Cancers
The first tier was for those diseases with the strongest scientific evidence showing clear causation between exposure to the Camp Lejeune water supply. Diseases that the ATSDR ranked in this top tier included kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and lymphoma.
Brain Cancer in Second Tier of Cancers
The second tier included those cancer types that could be linked to exposure to chemicals in the Camp Lejeune water, specifically TCE and PCE which break down into the even more toxic chemical vinyl chloride. The evidence of causation for these second-tier diseases was not as strong, but still compelling.
Brain cancer was one of the diseases that the ATSDR report listed in the second tier of health effects related to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The ATSDR noted that higher rates of brain cancer have been associated with exposure to vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is a particularly toxic chemical that can be formed from the breakdown of chlorinated solvents such as TCE and PCE.
Danish Study on Brain Cancer and Contaminated Water
A study by a research team in Denmark that was published in 2003 found that occupational exposure to vinyl chloride had a clear correlation with significantly increased rates of brain cancer. The study found a similar association between vinyl chloride exposure and increased rates of liver cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer.
File a Camp Lejeune Brain Cancer Lawsuit
On August 10, 2022, a new federal law called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) was signed by President Biden. The CLJA corrected decades of injustice by giving victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination an express right to bring civil lawsuits against the government and seek compensation for their injuries.
Under the CLJA, anyone who live or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987, can bring a tort claim for injuries allegedly caused by exposure to the contaminated water at the base. If the individual who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune has already passed away, their estate can bring a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
Brain cancer is one of the diseases that has been associated with exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune. Individuals (or their surviving families) who developed brain cancer after exposure to Camp Lejeune water can bring a civil lawsuit under the CLJA and get financial compensation.
Settlement Amounts of Camp Lejeune Brain Cancer Cases
We can’t say for certain how much CLJA cases involving brain cancer will be worth, but we can give an estimate of their potential settlement value based on prior tort cases involving brain cancer and the general nature of the diseases.
Brain cancer can be a particularly devastating form of cancer. The survival rates for brain cancer vary tremendously depending on the type of tumor and the age of the patient. For patients who are 50 years or older, brain cancer is often fatal. Even if not fatal, however, brain cancer treatment can have a debilitating impact on a person’s life.
Our lawyers estimate that successful Camp Lejeune brain cancer cases could have a settlement value of around $600,000 to $1,200,000. This is at the very high end of the overall value estimate scale for Camp Lejeune cases, based primarily on the brutal nature of brain cancer. Most of the Camp Lejeune brain cancer cases will likely be wrongful death claims, which also factors into the value.
- More discussion of expected Camp Lejeune compensation payouts
Contact Us About a Camp Lejeune Brain Cancer Lawsuit
If you (or a deceased family member) lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and subsequently developed brain cancer, call us today at 800-553-8082 to see if you have a compensation claim. You can also get a free, no-obligation case review online.