According to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ website VA.org, the VA added a new rule that establishes a presumption of service connection for eight diseases connected to toxic contaminants in base water supplies at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, MCAS New River, local satellite camps, and military housing areas from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987.
This presumption of service connection will apply to National Guard members, reservists, and active-duty members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days (cumulative) between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and were diagnosed with any of the following medical conditions:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
According to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald, the VA has a duty to care for those who served our Country and were harmed as a result of that service. Mr. McDonald also stated that by creating a presumption for service at Camp Lejeune, Veterans would be able to obtain the benefits and medical care they deserve much easier.
Environmental medical experts in VA’s Technical Workgroup established the new rule after completing extensive reviews of scientific evidence, including research and analysis conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the National Toxicology Program, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the National Academies of Science.
In the 1980s, high levels of trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, volatile organic compounds, and vinyl chloride were found in two on-base water treatment plants that service at Camp Lejeune. The contaminated groundwater wells that supplied the water systems were closed in February 1985. The presumption now includes all of Camp Lejeune, MCAS New River, satellite camps, and military housing areas in the area.
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