The study was conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and reported by numerous attorneys. Researchers found that children who were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune had a higher prevalence of dental issues than a comparison group of children who were not exposed.
A study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) found that exposure to TCE and PCE was associated with an increased risk of developing Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that affects the salivary glands and can cause dry mouth, tooth decay, and gum disease. Oral dryness symptoms include difficulty chewing or swallowing, sore mouth.
The study found that individuals who were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were more likely to develop Sjögren’s syndrome than those who were not exposed.
These two studies suggest a link between dental problems and the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Such dental issues can impact an individual’s quality of life both mentally and physically, the latter causing pain, discomfort, and difficulty eating and speaking.
Dental issues linked to Camp Lejeune contaminated water include the following:
- Cavities, or tooth decay. Such chemicals can cause the protective enamel on the teeth to weaken, making them more susceptible to decay.
- Tooth enamel erosion occurs when the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, is worn down and exposes the softer dentin underneath. Symptoms include tooth sensitivity, pain, and an increased risk of cavities.
- Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when bacteria accumulate in the spaces between the teeth and gum. This accumulation leads to inflammation, bleeding, and if untreated, gum tissue and bone breaks down that can result in tooth loss and other serious health issues.
- Oral cancer can appear as a sore or lesion in the mouth that doesn’t heal. Symptoms may include difficulty swallowing or chewing, or a persistent pain in the mouth or throat.
In 1997, ATSDR completed the Camp Lejeune Public Health Assessment. It determined that the estimated drinking water VOC exposures at Camp Lejeune were several thousand times lower than levels of concern in animal studies. As well, it found these exposures “hundreds of times lower than levels linked to adverse health effects found in workplace studies. ATSDR concluded that both cancer and non-cancer health effects were unlikely in adults exposed to VOC-contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune based on worst-case estimates.” Since that time, however, it has removed the 1997 Assessment (PHA) from this web site due to “additional information [that] emerged related to exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOCs)”.
What is Being Done Now
Since the Camp Lejeune Justice Act has come into effect, Camp Lejeune victims are better able to file a complaint and obtain compensation. Before the Act, veterans were prohibited from suing the government for injuries sustained during service, and North Carolina law had a ten-year statute of limitations on claims. Now, attorneys are working with veterans to file Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawsuits.
Here are the requirements to file a lawsuit:
• Based/lived in or around Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
• Between 8/1/1953 - 12/31/1987
• Servicemember, family member, or civilian
• At least 30 days of exposure to contaminated water
• Have filed administrative claim with Department of the Navy or in the process of doing so
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Along with dental issues, other Injuries include:
• Adult leukemia
• Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
• Bladder cancer
• Kidney cancer
• Liver cancer
• Multiple myeloma
• Non-hodgkin’s lymphoma
• Parkinson’s disease
• Breast cancer
• Esophageal cancer
• Female infertility
• Hepatic steatosis
• Lung cancer
• Neurobehavioral effects
• Renal toxicity
• Birth Defects (low birth weight, neural tube defects, oral cleft defects, congenital malformations)
• There may be other less common condition that would need to be verified