Nearly 100 veterans and their family members attended a community forum last week to get information on the effects of exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
From the 1950s to 1987, some 750,000 people were exposed to polluted drinking water, which contained harmful chemicals from spills, a dump site on the base, and leaking underground storage tanks on base and an off-base dry cleaner.
At the community forum, representatives from the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) were on hand to discuss the outcomes of four studies that were conducted to examine the impact of exposure to the contaminated drinking water.
A VA official outlined for the audience what conditions need to be met to qualify for the registry:
- You must have lived at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and 1987.
- You must be a dependent of a service member who was stationed at Camp Lejeune during that time period.
- And you must have one of the 15 conditions listed by the VA as being associated with Camp Lejeune.
Learn more and find information on how to apply for benefits at the VA’s website:
ATSDR and VA representatives also fielded questions from attendees, many of whom shared tragic stories of infant deaths, cancers, and other diseases.
Many people, like Neil Wilson, one of the forum attendees, lived at Camp Lejeune as children. Wilson was in attendance to get information for his family, who because of exposure to the contaminated drinking water have a range of health problems. His mother gave birth to seven of his nine siblings while stationed at the base. He learned of the exposure’s connection to his family after his brother was diagnosed with a heart problem.
“I have family members dying before me. They want answers,” Wilson said. “I’ve been following this for a number of years and I came today to get them answers, but I’m not too hopeful. I have to be a spokesperson for my family.”
The ATSDR and VA representatives hoped to share new information from recent studies on Camp Lejeune and tell people how to apply. You can also read our blog from last October when the VA announced Camp Lejeune victims would receive financial aid:
Read more on the forum here:
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