New rule establishes a presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune

VA to provide disability benefits for related diseases


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VA has published regulations to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The presumption of service connection applies to active duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987, and are diagnosed with any of the following 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 Bob McDonald. “Establishing a presumption for service at Camp Lejeune will make it easier for those Veterans to receive the care and benefits they earned.”

Environmental health experts in VA’s Technical Workgroup conducted comprehensive reviews of scientific evidence, which included analysis and research done by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Environmental Protection Agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program, and the National Academies of Science.

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, following passage of the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.

In the early 1980s, volatile organic compounds, trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning agent, 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 this presumption is all of Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River, including satellite camps and housing areas.

The rule will be effective either 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, or following conclusion of the 60-day Congressional Review, whichever is later.

Author

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Comments

  1. James R Voitik Sr    

    I served in Camp Lejeune in 1979. When I took my documents to the doctors two years ago I was informed that they could car less about the possibility of symptoms that I have. The medical problems I have they refuse to evaluate and are now attempting to terminate ALL VA medical. This started because I attempted to use the Choice 40 program and was told by my primary that I went to (Private Care?) My primary informed me on a recorded conversation that if I attempt to return to the VA hospital she would terminate all medical for pain. She then started proceedings based on False or Misleading information and she knew and acknowledged that the information she use was false. I was informed I can not change my documents and therefore she could use whatever was necessary to get her goals done? I changed primary’s and her false reports followed without the right to have it corrected. I have now been FORCED to leave my hospital Harry S Truman, Columbia Mo. and go to a VA in Iowa almost twice the distance. It is 180 miles away and I do not drive. Even the DAV officer stated that what is now taking place is Not legal. Nobody should be persecuted or threatened based on false documentation. I am at this time conversing with a Law Firm in connection with this and I expect to contact the papers in the near future. One doctor should not have the power to Fake documentation to cause INTENTINOL pain and suffering just because she wants to? Sorry I hurt her feelings! No I am not! Not Now!!!

  2. Benito D Perez Sr, Major , USAF,Retired    

    Myself and family were stationed on Kadena AB , Okinawa,Japan, between October 1966 through April 1969. since then we have experienced a lot of medical problems. I have read in difference references that Agent Orange was sprayed continuously on the island and Kadena during this period. There is defenent prove of use on Okinawa of Agent orange. When the US government and the VA admit to this happening, and grant service connected benefits to Vietnam Era Veterans??

    1. tom thumb    

      the VHA is run by a bunch of crooks, it’s just a employment farm…..deny until you die

    2. mark    

      I spent a year on Okinawa from 5/77 to 5/78. I have some health issues. Where can I find out about agent orange being sprayed on Okinawa?

    3. Dion    

      Contact a jag lawyer and ask them how you should handle it. You have access to them if your retire from armed forces.

    4. Jim Bourassa    

      It’s time to see your Congressman

  3. Barbara Summey Marshall    

    Grateful that VA has acknowledged the conditions and health problems caused by the poisoned water aboard all of Camp Lejeune and New River and Tarawa Terrace and Camp Johnson….Many Military Women served during the 1950s to. 1990s, Became pregnant and gave birth to children who were also harmed by the poisoned water. The list of acknowledged illnesses do not include birth defects and crippling diseases suffered by children born to Military Women who consumed the water, bathed their children, and consumed the water while pregnant. This needs to be addressed so that family members and children can get care, services, and compensation.

  4. rick J bagby    

    What about Edgewood Arsenal? been waiting 4-1/2 years just to get a DRO decision. I guess we don’t count. The water is the least of the concerns. Region 3 EPA should be fired!

  5. Paul R. Rottmund    

    I contacted my Va health provider regarding the Camp Lejeune problem. I was stationed there in 1972. I to date have no medical issues that I know about, but wondered if I was “out of the woods yet”. I was told the Medical Officer had no information about the problem. How can this be?

  6. Bill Fairall    

    Does this include Camp Geiger? I took ITR there from September thru November!!

    1. tom thumb    

      because they ignore it just like they did to me, they just play dumb

    2. Oscar Guevara    

      Camp Geiger is not included.

  7. Samuel James Mullins    

    Served at Camp Geiger and Camp Lejeune, NC 1963 -1966. Have had bladder cancer, still seeing Doctor.

    jim Mullins

  8. Tonnie Renfro    

    What about those exposed to toxins at MCAS El Toro? There are numerous reports about it but have seen no VA ruling. I served there 6 years. A number of us have had cancer and healt problems. Anyone know if this is being presumed by the VA?

  9. Greg    

    Does this new rule pertaining to the Camp Lejeune exposure mean that unless you have one of the 8 diseases mention you are not entitled to VA benefits ?

    1. Oscar Guevara    

      No, all Marines who would otherwise not be eligible due to income limits, are now eligible just from being at Cam Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987 under Priority Group 6.

      Don’t have to be diagnosed with the mentioned health conditions to become eligible for Priority Group 6. However, you need to apply for veteran health benefits, just make sure to mention that you are a Lejeune veteran. I have been trying to apply for the last two years and never qualified due to my income being above requirements not realizing that as a result of this new act I automatically qualified.

  10. David Purcell    

    I was stationed at Camp LeJeune in 1975-76. Because Marines PT a lot we drink A LOT of water, I have since developed cancer when there is no history of cancer in my family.

  11. Tom Reigle    

    I am a Vietnam era veteran and I am wondering how the Veterans Administration and its subsidiaries can be so efficient and cooperative in one area of the country and so inefficient to the point of being negligent in other parts of the country for the care and medical help to the veterans of this ongoing need to send men and women into harms way for our national security and safety? By the grace of God I came back with most of my body parts still intact but I receive the non-combat and non-military related primary care to maintain my health that one could ask for. But I hear and read about these absolute Horror stories coming from other combat vets who are almost treated lower than common criminals for being medically needy from experiences when they were on active duty. I simply cannot understand nor comprehend how a branch of our government, charged with the responsibility and care of the veterans who have served in the active military no matter if they came back disabled or came back with other than physical infirmities.

    Now this poisoned water comes to be an issue after so many years of it being a problem, and nobody thought to assess the problem in the 60’s, nobody thought to find out the sources of the contamination in the 70’s, and finally in the mid-80’s, they shut the entire water supply system down completely and obviously went to an alternate form of water supply. Why wait for so many years to remedy the problem when they HAD to know it was widespread, they HAD to know it was dangerous, and they HAD the information to identify the sources and the type of contamination which was being found in every water test that was run on the water supplies for the base and surrounding area??? How many thousand military personnel and their families were drinking that water, bathing in it, using it on their kids and their pets, how widespread would this problem be after using the poisoned water for almost 34 years?? Man, that is a National Disaster if I ever saw one, to allow this to go on unabated, unannounced to the residents of the base and surrounding area, it must have been the largest cover-up of a HUGE scale contamination of a populated area in the history of our country!!

    I look forward to reading about how this was accomplished without anyone knowing that they were drinking poisoned water, that had to be the case if nobody cared to talk about it in public, nobody brought it to the attention of the press, or had any worries about their own health and safety.

    1. Tom Reigle    

      RE: ” I simply cannot understand nor comprehend how a branch of our government, charged with the responsibility and care of the veterans who have served in the active military no matter if they came back disabled or came back with other than physical infirmities,” [can be so extreme from one area to another in discharging their responsibilities to help veterans who need help.]

      I wanted to finish that sentence in the beginnning of my last message. Thank you.

      1. Matthew j little    

        EVERY COMMADANT OF THE MARINE CORP FROM THE 50’S THREW THE 80’S SHOULD GET A 6,6, AND A KICK, AS MARINES FOR OVER 200 YEARS WEVE PRIDED OURSELVES AS TAKING CARE OF OUR OWN, ALL YOU GENERALS SHOULD BE PRIVES AND NEVER CALL YOURSELF HONORABLE OR MARINE , UP YOURS ALL OF YOU, KICKING THIS UNDER THE CARPET. TURN IN YOUR STARS. PFC MATTHEW LITTLE 75/79

  12. James E Reilly    

    I was in Camp LeJeune twice, from 1966 to 1968. Once I became 50 I did the usual check required of your colon for Colon Cancer. They found a numerous amount of polyps and a number of them (I believe 14) were close to being cancerous. I now have a Colonoscopy every three years because of this. There isn’t any history in my family of this type of condition. Would something like this be considered?

    1. Margie Reliford    

      What about the many many other problems they are leaving out?

  13. Charles A Cogswell    

    I was first stationed at Court House Bay which is part of Camp Lejeune in 1968. I then left to do a full tour in Vietnam throughout 1969. I then returned to Camp Lejeune for a second time in 1970 and stayed at Camp Lejeune until my discharge in 1972, I was part of the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Engineering Battalion. I regularly drank and bathed in the water at Camp Lejeune. Right after my discharge from Camp Lejeune. I developed huge legs sours on both legs which the VA will not grant me disability for. I first went to the VA for my leg sour problems in 1980 and they said that because of the 8 year cap between my discharge and my first visit to the VA was the reason they could not grant my VA Claim. They said I must have gotten the leg sours from somewhere else other than in the Marine Corps after my discharge. Now I learn that the entire time I was station at Camp Lejeune the water was seriously contaminated. I wonder if the VA will accept my leg sours now that this has been made public?

  14. John Cole    

    When did this get upgraded to the surrounding satellite camps (Camp Johnson) in particular? When they contacted me by letter, I called and was told this was just Camp Lejeune. How many others on the satallite camps do not know about this

  15. Barry.Dean Burrows    

    I served with 3rd Battallion 2nd Marine Division and the years were from 1986-1989 and am still waiting on a discharge upgrade and still havent heatd from revue board Who what and how do I contact about this ? The VA in Amarillo has not helped!!!!

  16. Mark Tobert    

    Any chance they wI’ll be addressing the Fort McClellan contamination soon as well?

    1. Tricia LaBar    

      Never. They only did this because so many died and someone kept tract. Though Sue Frazier has done a great job, her scope is too great, the EPA said Fort Mac was the most toxic place on earth. Anniston sued over pollution to water and won mind you but the vets who served there will be like the Agent Orange in Vietnam. Most will be gone and not know why before our government admits to what they did.

  17. Mike Wann    

    I was stationed at Camp LeJeune in 1971 and went through ITR at Camp Geiger in 1970. While at LeJeune, I, and at least one other person in my barracks, developed a very bad kidney and urinalysis tract infection which required extremely strong antibiotic treatment, which caused severe diarrhea. It was odd that we developed this same disease at the same time, and neither of us had ever had a similar experience before then, or after.

    Since then, I have had prostate cancer, an underwent surgery. Since the prostate is located at base of bladder, I have wondered whether that experience was related to the contaminated water. It was very debilitating for the week or more if treatment.

  18. Jimmy Long    

    Does this cover our defendants who were on base with us?

  19. Edward Dominguez    

    Is there an effort being noted and discussed from the other bases such in Santa Ana, Ca. The base in question is “El Toro”?

    Thank You

  20. james parchman    

    I was stationed at Camp Lejeune in 1954 only cancer I have had is prostate cancer. Do you need any more information?
    Jim Parchman

    1. Preston Balmain    

      I never heard about El Toro….. What happened there? I was stationed there 90-92. Thanks . SEMPER FI.

  21. james parchman    

    Thank you, will yoju be contacting me?

  22. roy manning    

    I was stationed at Camp Lejeune in 1974. I have developed a body rash months after i got out of the MARINE CORPS. AND I HAVE BEEN GIVIEN THE RUN AROUND.

  23. Gerald Coley    

    I believe there are many other symptoms associated with the Camp Lejeune contaminated water that the Marine Corps is not recognizing. I was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 76 to 79 1st Battalion 2nd Marine Division I have multiple joint pain issues I forget a lot of things I dropped a lot of things have neuro problems. Also, the process is so long for them to recognize and make any type of decision concerning your illness or my illness

  24. Gerald Coley    

    I believe there are many other symptoms associated with the Camp Lejeune contaminated water that the Marine Corps is not recognizing. I was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 76 to 79 1st Battalion 2nd Marine Division I have multiple joint pain issues I forget a lot of things I dropped a lot of things have neuro problems. Also, the process is so long for them to recognize and make any type of decision concerning your illness or my illness sometimes it leads me to believe that they really don’t want to compensate a recognized service-connected but that’s probably my paranoia from my normal behavior.

  25. Chester Gross    

    I went to Camp Geiger in 1964 for ITR. I returned to The Rifle Range for a year or so then to Camp Geiger. Was at Mainside Camp Lejeune Frequently. I now suffer from Bladder Cancer and Graves Disease. I will be filing for this. I hope it is covered. I don’t know where to call to find out.

    1. Leonard, J.    

      Chester, file a claim for medical benefits, and let them know you were at Camp Lejeune with the dates that you were there. Also, get any information showing when you were there and that should start the process. Have all of your medical records uploaded on to “Ebenefits” Once that is done you can file a “Compensation Claim.” I wish you all the best! I was at Camp Geiger during the 70’s and I traveled the whole base, so if you can show that you were there for 30 days or more you should be good. Just make sure you have documentation of all your medical records and upload them onto “Ebenefits”
      Leonard J.

  26. John OBrien    

    My mother was at Camp LeJeune in 1955-1957 she died of multiple cancers, losing her breast, her uterus, Lymph nodes and finally succumbed to cancer in the 80’s at Brigham & Womens hospital in my hometown of Boston. the VA did nothing for her

    1. Matthew j little    

      I’ve asked for tests VA Boston, VA N Conway NH, they NEVER HEARD OF IT, maybe its time to call DAV, VFW, AMERICAN LEGION ETC PFC Little , Camp LeJune 75_77

    2. Matthew j little    

      Sorry about your Mother bro, PFC Matt Little 2nd Mar D 2nd FSSG FMF Atlanta 75/77

  27. Sharon McGee    

    How can they determine that this contamination stopped in 1987? My son was there in the early 90’s. What did they do to eliminate the contamination?

    1. Theresa Smith    

      I was wondering the same thing. I was at Camp LeJeune, Courthouse Bay in 1991… I have Multiple Sclerosis. They claim you can get compensation on if it was diagnosed within the first 7 years of discharge. But since it happened later than 7 years, there is no compensation. I wonder if it was in the water in 91?

  28. John OBrien    

    I wanted to add that I was stationed at both Camp Lejeune and Fort McClellan 1977- 1979 where I went for training, I was part of an experiment at Fort McClellan where I was exposed to radiation as well as the poisoning at Camp LeJeune, I never received any assistance on this matter and found out quite by accident that I was exposed to radiation at Fort McClellan when we were ordered to fall in at certain areas marked by white chalk like a football field marking for certain amounts of time daily, I have developed kidney failure, Liver damage & Lymph nodes throughout my body

  29. Dennis Kilbride    

    I actually feel heathy but for at least 6years I called to get a Camp Lejune physical. Nobody knew what I wanted. Because I haven’t shown symptoms then I don’t need a physical . I am 60 now but I don’t know if I need to be screened.

  30. Denis Dregoire    

    I was at Camp Lejeune from Jan 1969 to Sept 1969 when I was discharged.
    I worked in and around the base working both in bulk fuel supplies and TAD to industrial area guard the nine months I was there on the base. About a year after my discharge I started having numbness in my face and sometimes in my finger tips. This has been going on since 1970 and have not had a straight answer from any doctor in or out of the VA. It has been a problem for me at times when I was working at various jobs through the years. I plan on getting an annual check up soon. Just wondering if I should use the VA or go to my medicare provider.

  31. Isaac Gearring    

    When are they going to recognize that veterans who were stationed on superfund sites and now have disabilities now as a result of the pesticides, herbicides, contaminates, and consuming the water on these bases are just as bad and dangerous as veterans who was exposed to agent orange in Vietnam!

    1. dan obiala    

      probably never, I was stationed on George afb. ca. for four years, which is also involved with a superfund clean up. I now have colon cancer. I filled for disability in 2015. they lost my claim twice and I had to go back to square one. honestly I think the va is just waiting for us all to die.

  32. Edward P.Bolger    

    I was deployed in 71-72 aboard the Kitty Hawk with VA-52 in the Gulf of Tokin. I went into DA NANG in 72. I was exposed to Agent Orange and now have type 2 diabetes and nerve damage and COPD. I have a claim with the VA which has been denied. I put in a disclaimer. Its going on 4 yrs. The VA could care less about the Vets.

  33. Edward P.Bolger    

    When will the VA start hiring personnel who have been in the military and understand what a vet is.

  34. Dennis Cullender    

    I was with HqBn, 2d MarDiv on mainside 72-73. I received notification several years back that this was under investigation for VA Benefits. A year or so back I was notified by HQMC to apply for VA Benefits for the named conditions. My application was denied by the VA because I did not fill out the financial portion of the application, even though my instructions from HQMC indicated that financial disclosure was not required.

    Looks like I’ll be filing again.

    I have saved all the documents sent to me about this issue. I believe family members were discussed at one point in the papers. I will check my copies and post here what was said about dependents.

  35. John OBrien    

    If anyone has updated information I would love to hear from you, johnjhobrien@sbcglobal.net

  36. Nancy Weber    

    My husband was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1981-1984. My daughter was born on base where I drank, bathe and made my daughter’s formula with this poisonous water. My daughter just had a 10 inch tumor removed from her liver and she still had many that can not be removed. My daughter doesn’t drink nor smokes to have these tumors affecting her health. The government needs to take care of not only the veteran but the dependents that were exposed to the water as well. This has affected so many people and still nothing is being done. It is disgraceful how the government treats its veteran and the families.

  37. Annette McNutt    

    So, being there in 2005, isn’t included because the problem had been fixed ?

  38. Kathy Packard    

    I lived in Tarawa Terrace, Camp LeJeune from September 1978 to December, 1980. We don’t have any cancers, but we have other things like severe asthma, diabetes, Hashimotos disease, Nash disease. We have had the loss of 2 grandchildren born to a daughter that I was pregnant for when we lived there. I also have lost a granddaughter from my son, who was a toddler while we lived there. And…I had a somewhat abnormal pregnancy with my middle child, who was born at Camp LeJeune. I have wondered why these ailments have not been found to started because of this water situation. Also, I wonder if military spouses (or ex, as I am now) qualify for this Group 6?

  39. Michael P Montano    

    I was in Camp Lejeune twice between 80 and 83, both times over 6 months each. I come from a family of 13 and not one of them have any of the problems I’ve developed and I was considered the healthiest in the family. I have developed “Tracheobroncheomalacia” which is a softening of the trachea and bronchial tubes. I had to have surgery in Boston where they placed a cage around the trachea and bronchial tubes to keep them from closing. It failed and now I cannot let my heart rate get too high nor my breathing get too labored or the trachea will close down and I pass out. I asked a pulmonary specialist and a chemist if those chemicals could have caused this illness. Each have said that it is unknown it those chemicals could cause it but those chemicals could have DEFINITELY made it worse to the point where I required this surgery. Still waiting to see if this condition is considered for compensation. Will come back to update you all when I find out.

  40. Bernard Byrd    

    I was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1984 -1995. My daughter was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor or Kidney cancer and died in 1997. She was only 3. What do they suppose to do about that.

  41. Maureen C Hawkins    

    My husband and his first wife were stationed at Camp Lejeune, Tarawa Terrace, from 1969 until 1973. His wife was treated for colon cancer in the late 1980’s. She was then diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2013. She passed away in August, 2013. My husband, whom by the way, was always very active and healthly was diagnosed with a very aggressive Brain Tumor, Stage 4, in March 2013. He passed away in August 2014. Are there any benefits for the families that are left behind that are now struggling with financial burdens? (I lost our home in 2016 as our combined income dropped substancially with my Husbands passing.

  42. Paul R. Rottmund    

    Read the book, A Trust Betrayed, 2014, by Mike Magner. Washington Post Reporter, Had the story years ago.

  43. Victor Sellers    

    It is amazing how easily the rating officers, after seeing the government’s own documentation, says it doesn’t exist. That is the VA calling the Army’s best medical experts liars, that they didn’t write what is on the paper. A recent decision is totally inaccurate and full of lies. It is so full of corrupt language of inept unskilled personnel, or they were deceived and factual medical documents withheld. Anything can be said, but when the facts are shoved in your face, then still denying the fact is not only ignorance, it’s criminal when lives depend on the that decision. St. Louis MO, Atlanta GA, Nebraska, and Waco Texas all went over the claims, passing it from one to another in pretending to process it faster, but it was actually looking for ways to deny the facts. Finally, they just say it never happened, this does not exist, there was no complaint, disease, or injury and these medical documents do not exist. It is all unreal.

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