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Camp Lejeune veterans have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer

Every year, over 82,000 people receive a bladder cancer diagnosis across the country. The risk of developing it is 1 in 28 for men and 1 in 91 for women. While the disease can be the result of smoking, diabetes treatment using the drug pioglitazone, and older age, toxic exposure is another risk factor for bladder cancer. During the last century, two of the eight drinking water supplies at Camp Lejeune were contaminated with trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, exposure to which has a significant association with bladder cancer.

At Hadnot Point, the trichloroethylene level exceeded the safe exposure limit by a whopping 280 times, whereas at Tarawa Terrace, the perchloroethylene level eclipsed it by 43 times. Up to one million people drank toxic water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, which now places them at high risk of developing bladder cancer. In the ATSDR Morbidity Study of Former Marines, Employees, and Dependents Potentially Exposed to Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune, the agency found that exposure to these solvents was associated with a greater risk of bladder cancer in civilian employees.

Perchloroethylene exposure increases the risk of bladder cancer in Camp Lejeune veterans and family members

The EPA states that perchloroethylene is "likely to be carcinogenic in humans by all routes of exposure" based on suggestive epidemiologic data that it can cause bladder cancer, among other serious diseases. In a study from Environmental Health Perspectives, the researchers examined the epidemiological evidence for the association between perchloroethylene exposure and bladder cancer from studies estimating occupational exposure to the chemical in workers in the dry-cleaning industry. The main source of perchloroethylene contamination at Camp Lejeune was ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a dry-cleaning firm located nearby, which improperly disposed of the solvent. According to the study results, the meta-relative risk among perchloroethylene-exposed workers was 1.08, and for employment as a dry cleaner, the overall meta-relative risk was 1.47.

The meta-analysis demonstrates a high risk of bladder cancer in dry cleaners and some evidence for an exposure-response relationship. Although dry cleaners incur mixed exposures, perchloroethylene could be responsible for the excess risk of bladder cancer, as it is the main solvent used, and it is the only chemical used by dry cleaners that is identified as a potential bladder carcinogen. If you are a Camp Lejeune veteran or family member who worries about developing bladder cancer, these are the symptoms you should look out for:

  • blood in the urine
  • frequent urination
  • back pain on one side of the body
  • not being able to pass urine
  • burning sensation or pain during urination
  • feeling the need to urinate throughout the night
  • swelling in the feet
  • feeling tired or weak

It is worth noting that it can take up to 30 years after the first exposure to toxic chemicals such as perchloroethylene before a disease like bladder cancer starts developing. This is because the chemicals gradually accumulate in the body, which is the case of Camp Lejeune veterans and family members, who regularly drank tainted water and cooked with it. If you experience symptoms that might suggest bladder cancer, we strongly advise you to seek medical attention. Furthermore, in the regrettable case that you have this diagnosis, we encourage you to contact Atraxia Law, as we can easily help you determine whether you are eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim and obtain financial compensation.

File your Camp Lejeune bladder cancer claim with our expert assistance

Our team of professionals has over 35 years of experience in assessing toxic exposure claims and will gladly help you file your Camp Lejeune toxic water claim if you struggle with bladder cancer. The only documents necessary to evaluate your case are your military records or proof of your stay at the military base and your medical records. If we establish that you are entitled to compensation, we will promptly direct you to a reliable attorney.