VA Establishes Presumption of Illnesses from Camp Lejeune Water Supply

During the early 1980s, volatile organic compounds, trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, as well as benzene and vinyl chloride were discovered in two on-base water supply systems at Camp Lejeune. The contaminated wells supplying the water systems were shut down in February 1985.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published regulations Jan. 13 to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The presumption of service connection applies to active duty, reserve, and National Guard members who served there for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, and are diagnosed with any of these conditions:

  • adult leukemia
  • aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • bladder cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • liver cancer
  • multiple myeloma
  • non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Parkinson's disease

"We have a responsibility to take care of those who have served our Nation and have been exposed to harm as a result of that service," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald. "Establishing a presumption for service at Camp Lejeune will make it easier for those veterans to receive the care and benefits they earned."

Contamination in the base's water supply has been a concern for many years. The VA reported that environmental health experts in its Technical Workgroup conducted comprehensive reviews of scientific evidence, which included analysis and research done by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), EPA, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program, and the National Academies of Science, in deciding to establish the presumptions.

Veterans with 30 or more cumulative days of active duty service at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period are already eligible for certain medical benefits because of the passage of the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, according to the agency's announcement.

It says during the early 1980s, volatile organic compounds, trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, as well as benzene and vinyl chloride were discovered in two on-base water supply systems at Camp Lejeune. The contaminated wells supplying the water systems were shut down in February 1985. The area included in these presumptions is all of Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River, including satellite camps and housing areas.

Download Center

  • Your Guide to Environmental Metrics that Drive Performance

    Translating sustainability into action starts with implementing the right metrics to assess your environmental risk and performance. Learn how to design metrics that improve your decision-making process and drive enterprise performance.

  • Unpacking ESG: 6 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

    Environmental and Sustainability experts from Arcadis and Cority answer 6 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about getting started with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

  • Streamline Your Air Emissions Management

    See how consolidating all your emissions management functions into one centralized system can help you streamline your operations, more easily maintain compliance, and achieve greater time and cost savings.

  • A Crash Course in Creating the Right Environmental Scoring System

    Learn how to develop the right environmental scoring system so you can easily benchmark performance across all your facilities and gain a holistic view of your environmental programs.

  • Industry Safe