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Esophageal Cancer Due to Toxic Exposure on Military Bases

According to multiple veteran service organizations, toxic experts, veterans and their families, and the Department of Defense itself, thousands of service members who served on military bases in the United States have been exposed to a variety of chemicals derived from a combination of military-affiliated activities, such as:

  • storage and dispensing liquid petroleum fuels
  • ship, vehicle, and aircraft maintenance, servicing, repairs, and overhaul
  • weapon and ammunition assembly, destruction, and storage
  • hazardous waste storage and disposal

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) consider exposure to harmful chemicals in groundwater with more recent scientific knowledge on pathways into the human body not just from drinking water, but inhalation and dermal exposure.

Based on the exposure levels and estimated durations, the ATSDR now concludes that some children and adults who were exposed to harmful chemicals present on military bases are at high risk for certain types of cancer, including esophageal cancer.

Exposure to Certain Chemicals Can Harm the Esophagus and Increases the Risk of Cancer

In order for toxic chemicals to harm a person's health, they must first come into contact or enter the body.

When contacted, some chemicals can pass through the skin and into the bloodstream, causing health problems away from the site of entry. Inhalation of some chemicals, such as hydrocarbons and some organic solvents, can cause cancer.

Esophageal cancer is characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled cellular growth that forms in tissues and cells of the esophagus - the muscular tube that runs from the back of the throat to the stomach.

This cancer can invade surrounding tissues and may spread to distant bodily tissues or organs via the bloodstream, lymphatic system, or by direct extension.

Chemicals that may injure the esophagus if inhaled, include:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – including vinyl chloride, benzene, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, xylene, and 1,3-butadiene. VOCs are toxic chemicals that share the ability to vaporize in air and dissolve in water. They are components of gasoline, glues, degreasers, dry-cleaning fluids, and more.
  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFAS exposure via inhalation route is equivalent to drinking water exposure especially for communities adjacent to production facilities and contaminated military installations. Compounding the potential for inhalation exposure, PFAS substances are very poorly metabolized in the human body and are slow to be eliminated.
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE) – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has characterized TCE as "carcinogenic to humans" by all routes of exposure. TCE is widely used as an industrial solvent, primarily for the vapor degreasing of metals and metal part equipment. If TCE vapors migrate from polluted soil and groundwater under a building, they may enter through cracks in the foundation, around pipes, or through a drain system and contaminate the indoor air.  TCE can also evaporate from polluted tap water which can be breathed in during showering or bathing.
  • Perchloroethylene (PCE) – The major source of PCE contamination in groundwater is the discharge from dry cleaners and factories. Service members may be exposed by coming into contact with polluted soil or by breathing indoor air that has been contaminated by vapor intrusion. In this process, this colorless, nonflammable liquid volatilizes into gas and enters buildings through tiny cracks or other openings in the foundation.

If you were stationed at one of the targeted military facilities and experience the following symptoms, we strongly advise you to seek medical attention immediately, as you may have developed esophageal cancer as a consequence of toxic exposure via inhalation:

  • painful or difficult swallowing
  • weight loss
  • pain behind the breastbone
  • hoarseness and cough
  • indigestion or/and heartburn
  • unexplained weight loss 

We Assist Veterans Diagnosed With Esophageal Cancer Due To Toxic Exposure On Military Bases

There are now benefits available for a plethora of veterans who were stationed at military sites contaminated with toxic compounds.

If successful, a claimant may receive compensation for their medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and even wages lost because of their ensuing health problems.

It's completely free to talk to us and learn about your potential claim for compensation.

Whether you are a veteran or a family member of one, if you have recently been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, you are entitled to financial compensation through a VA claim.

The process of obtaining benefits is often difficult, with potential roadblocks popping up when you least expect them, and that’s where Atraxia Law comes in.

Free case evaluation

10 Minutes Over the Phone

*No fees unless compensation is obtained

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