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Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma due to toxic exposure on military bases

Aqueous film-forming foam, also known as AFFF, was first developed in the early 1960s by the U.S. Navy. The new synthetic firefighting foam formulation provided superior performance over the hydrocarbon-based flammable and combustible liquid fires.

It became commonly used at airports, refineries, aircraft carriers, and other places where fuel fires occurred. It was generally considered one of the most effective methods of suppressing fuel fires quickly, and its characteristics made it difficult to find adequate replacements.

However, firefighting foam can be highly dangerous; it contains perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), collectively called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—the most persistent synthetic chemicals to date.

They hardly degrade in the natural environment and are very mobile in water. PFAS-based firefighting foam isn’t the only culprit responsible for the environmental disasters found at military bases, however. Other contaminants found in groundwater and soil samples include:

  • benzene
  • carbon tetrachloride
  • toluene
  • perchloroethylene
  • xylenes
  • chloroform
  • trichloroethylene
  • vinyl chloride
  • lead
  • arsenic
  • cadmium
  • mercury
  • PCBs

Volatile chemicals in the soils have permeated silts, sands, and clays to a saturated zone that extends up to 700 feet below grade. Much of the upper 50 feet of groundwater is contaminated. The deepest plume extends a half-mile in both length and width.

It has long been recognized that exposure to the industrial solvents trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE) causes hematologic diseases, including cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of the presumptive illnesses for Camp Lejeune veterans.

Associations between non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and exposure to benzene

There is a significant body of scientific research that shows a strong association between cancer in the lymphatic system and benzene exposurean important industrial chemical and component of gasoline.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not a single disease but rather a group of blood cancers that arise from white blood cells that are also one of the body's main types of immune cells. There are at least 86 types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to the most recent 2016 revision of the World Health Organization classification of lymphoid neoplasms estimates.

Although the various types and subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma share many common characteristics, they differ in certain features, including their location and growth patterns, their appearance under a microscope, their behavior, and the type of response at the end of a course of treatment.

So an accurate and timely diagnosis plays an important role in getting the care you need. Common signs and symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:

  • painless, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or underarm areas
  • constant itching of the skin
  • night sweats
  • unintentional weight loss
  • lack of energy

It is vital to seek medical attention if any of the above-mentioned symptoms linger more than two weeks or sooner if the symptoms are severe enough to impact daily life.

Veterans who lived and worked on contaminated military bases are eligible for compensation

Although the VA claims that there is insufficient evidence to establish presumptions of service connection for certain diseases, veterans can still submit claims for disability benefits for health problems linked to exposure to contaminated water at military installations.

Our legal team can provide research and expert opinion on the link between your condition and the water contamination, and help ensure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. If you have already applied for disability benefits and have been denied, they can file an appeal on your behalf.

Veterans and family members who served on active duty or resided at a contaminated military installation may be able to collect health and disability benefits for a number of medical conditions linked to the reported water contamination, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

For more information on how our team of experts can help you, please contact us today. Our case managers are handling claims on behalf of those suffering from Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who:

  • have not yet received health care or compensation benefits from the VA;
  • are currently receiving comprehensive health care benefits through the VA, but have not yet applied for disability compensation;
  • have filed a disability claim and it has been denied.

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