Water contamination is a growing global problem. According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 billion people cannot access safe drinking water. Another 3.4 billion drink contaminated water, which puts them at risk of waterborne diseases like diarrhea and cholera. Contamination crises like Camp Lejeune are devastating for families affected and require extensive clean-up efforts and long-term monitoring. However, the effects of contaminants on our health are not always immediately apparent.
Water tests revealed several contaminants in the water at the US Marine Corps base at Camp Lejuene in North Carolina. Three of these chemicals were linked to increased rates of certain types of cancers among Camp Lejeune veterans.
Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a chemical solvent that is commonly used as a paint stripper and a degreaser. Exposure to TCE can occur in the workplace, in water, and in consumer products like paint thinners and spot removers.
Most exposure to TCE occurs through inhalation, but accidental ingestion or skin contact can also cause health effects. Drinking contaminated water can also be a source of TCE exposure. Studies show that TCE can cause kidney damage, damage to the immune system, damage to the liver and the central nervous system, and even an increased risk of cancer.
Vinyl chloride is used to produce vinyl plastics such as PVC. It has a sweet odor similar to burning rubber and can cause nausea, vomiting, and headaches if inhaled. Exposure to vinyl chloride can also occur through contact with contaminated materials or skin absorption. A variety of studies have shown that exposure to vinyl chloride increases the risk of cancer of the bladder, kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin. It can also increase the risk of developing cataracts in the eyes.
Benzene is a volatile liquid with an aroma similar to that of jasmine. It is a common pollutant found in smog, industrial emissions, gasoline, and other petroleum products. When inhaled, it can cause dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea, and fatigue. It can also be absorbed through the skin and cause similar symptoms.
Studies indicate that exposure to benzene can increase the risk of leukemia and lymphoma. It also increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer and may increase the severity of certain eye disorders.
Water supplies can be contaminated with harmful substances from a variety of sources. Environmental agencies often issue advisories to notify the public when harmful contaminants are found in drinking water. In some cases, a contaminant can enter the water during the purification process; however, it can also be caused by the breakdown of natural substances like pesticides in the soil or naturally occurring radioactive materials in the earth’s crust.
Contaminants may also enter the water supply as a result of improper sewage treatment or leaking pipes. At Camp Lejeune, a nearby dry cleaner dumped solvent-containing chemicals onto the base’s grounds, which seeped into the well water. There was also a fuel leak that contributed to the contamination.
In many cases, harmful chemicals that contaminate drinking water can be treated or removed using a filtration system. In addition, most people can reduce their risk of exposure by drinking bottled water instead of tap water or by avoiding certain activities that expose them to contaminants in the water.
Avoid bathing in contaminated water if you are pregnant or have young children, as it may cause developmental problems. Use filtered water for cooking and drinking, and wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing diapers to help prevent the spread of germs. If you smell gas in your home, do not use your water for any purpose. If you have symptoms of poisoning from chlorine or formaldehyde, seek immediate medical attention.
If you or anyone are suffering from these illnesses due to exposure to contaminated water from Camp Lejeune, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Hiring an experienced lawyer is crucial in getting the best possible results in your case.
A personal injury attorney will have experience in handling cases just like yours and will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Research personal injury lawyers in your area today to get started on your road to recovery.