The Camp Lejeune water contamination disaster is one of the largest and most publicized environmental disasters in United States history. The contaminated water was supplied to the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, located near Jacksonville, North Carolina, from 1953 until 1987.
Approximately 800,000 members of the U.S. military and their family members drank the water at the base during this time period. Many service members and their families were exposed to this contaminated water, and several have subsequently developed illnesses as a result.
Those who served at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987 are now eligible to file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs for potentially related diseases that they may have suffered from as a result of their exposure to contaminated water at the military base. One of the main compounds that have been linked to several health issues is water containing trichloroethylene (TCE).
TCE is a volatile organic compound that is classified as a carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of California. Exposure to TCE can cause a number of adverse health effects, including birth defects and cancer. The EPA has set the maximum allowable level of TCE in drinking water at five parts per billion (ppb).
However, studies have found that many military bases and private wells across the country have levels of TCE in their water supply that are significantly higher than the five ppb limit set by the EPA. As a result, military personnel across the country have become concerned about the safety of their drinking water supplies and have started using alternative sources of water when available.
TCE is primarily used as a solvent for cleaning, degreasing, and other industrial purposes. It is also a common ingredient in paint strippers, fire extinguishers, and many other household products. As its use has increased over the years, so has the amount being discharged into the environment and released into the air as a byproduct of manufacturing processes.
It has been estimated that approximately 10-20 percent of TCE released into the environment is not completely recovered and stays in the environment as groundwater pollution. When TCE is released into the soil or groundwater, it can enter the air when soil and water evaporate or when rain washes the pollutants downriver into surface waters. The contaminants can then enter the food chain when they are taken up by plants and animals as they swim in the waters or graze on the surrounding vegetation.
There is growing evidence that exposure to TCE and other solvents may lead to health problems in humans. While short-term exposure to low levels of TCE may not cause any serious symptoms, chronic exposure can lead to reproductive damage, kidney failure, and an increased risk of cancer.
Pregnant women exposed to high levels of TCE during their pregnancies are at increased risk of miscarriage and developmental delays, while children exposed to high levels of TCE may have learning difficulties and problems with memory.
Studies have also linked TCE exposure to the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults. Overall, it is believed that the effects of long-term exposure to TCE is maybe even more serious than those associated with other common chemicals such as lead or mercury.
The best way to protect yourself and your family from TCE exposure are to limit the time you spend outdoors in areas where TCE may be present in the air. You may also want to avoid swimming in rivers or other bodies of water where TCE may be present in the sediment. Exposure to TCE can also be reduced by installing high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in bedrooms and other areas of your home where you spend a lot of time.
These filters are specially designed to remove small particles from the air, including airborne compounds like TCE. In addition, you should make sure that all electrical devices in your home, including washing machines and dryers, are well-ventilated to reduce the risk of exposure to TCE. Finally, you should never pour paint thinner or any other toxic substances down the drain. These substances can be released into the environment through the sewer system and end up back in our water supply.
The organic compound trichloroethylene (TCE) is a colorless liquid that evaporates easily into the air at room temperature. It has been widely used as a solvent for degreasing metal parts and as a cleaning agent in factories and workshops. As a result, it can be found in groundwater in many countries around the world at concentrations up to thousands of times higher than the levels considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Exposure to TCE can have a number of negative health effects, including liver damage, reproductive problems, and an increased risk of cancer. If you or your loved ones have been affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis in North Carolina, you should contact a qualified attorney to help you file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.