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Oral Cleft Defects Due to Toxic Exposure on Military Bases

There are hundreds of active closed military installations spanning across the United States with known or suspected releases or spills from stored industrial wastes and historical firefighting activities.

These base residents and their families unknowingly used water contaminated with dangerous chemicals for everyday drinking, showering, and bathing. Years later, they began to see a development of cancer and other health issues.

The widespread chemical contamination of soil, groundwater, and nearby lakes and streams throughout the country pose threats to service members' health and well-being, their families, and nearby civilian communities.

In time, more red flags were raised concerning the chemical waste generated during military operations.

In fact, new findings high point additional concerns regarding the potential side effects of prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals, indicating that children may face an increased risk of developing a cleft palate, cleft lip, or other birth defects.

Pregnant women who were stationed together with their husbands or by themselves at military bases contaminated with the following toxic chemicals are more likely to give birth to a baby with oral cleft defects:

  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)
  • perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • perchloroethylene (PCE)
  • vinyl chloride
  • benzene
  • ethylene glycol
  • formaldehyde
  • methylene chloride
  • tetrachloroethylene
  • toluene
  • xylene
  • 3-butadiene

Chronic Exposure to Toxins on Military Bases During Fetal Development Has Been Associated With Oral Cleft Defects

Because the fetus is less susceptible to morphologic alterations when the developmental process of the majority of organs has been completed, the most common anomalies associated with exposure to dangerous toxins during the fetal period are fetal growth restrictions and mild errors of morphogenesis, such as oral cleft defects.

Also known as orofacial clefts, the cleft palate and cleft lip are some of the most common facial defects/malformations that occur very early in pregnancy.

Normally, during a healthy pregnancy, the lip tissues combine together between 8 and 12 weeks. When these tissues don’t fuse properly, a cleft lip and/or a cleft palate occurs.

While the exact cause is still unknown, studies have found that some birth defects may be linked to environmental and genetic factors such as exposure to toxic substances in the workplace or contaminated groundwater and air in communities.

Oral cleft defects result in high healthcare costs and may overburden the quality of life of those affected.

Military families with children born with a cleft lip or cleft palate are often overwhelmed and, in some instances, confused about their legal rights.

We Are Here to Provide You With the Legal Support You Deserve

For those who have a child that suffers from a birth defect, it can have devastating effects on the whole family; the emotional stress, the infant's pain and suffering, and the economic burden you will face having to furnish long-term medical care, can be very hard to bear.

At Atraxia Law, our compassionate team of experts understands that birth defects not only have physical and emotional consequences but also place a financial strain on the child’s family.

In the regrettable case that your child was born with an oral cleft defect and you lived at a contaminated military base while you were pregnant, you are entitled to financial compensation.

Consequently, if you are the wife of a veteran who was stationed at one of the targeted military bases during your pregnancy and delivered a baby with a cleft lip or cleft palate, you are entitled to receive compensation, and we can help you recover it. 

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