From the 1950s to the late 1980s, the Camp Lejeune base suffered from contaminated drinking water that caused service members and their families to develop cancer and other serious health problems.
Until now, the federal government has blocked any claims filed by the victims of Camp Lejeune, but with the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, victims can start seeking compensation for their losses.
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Schmidt and Clark have represented thousands of personal injury lawsuits. We can help you receive compensation for contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune and any adverse health impacts you may have experienced.
History of the Camp Lejeune Lejeune Contaminated Drinking Water and Chemicals Found
For 34 years, from August 1953 to December 1987, the water at Camp Lejeune was polluted by extreme levels of toxic chemicals, including perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene. The contaminated water entered the water treatment plant through the disposal process of a local dry-cleaning business.
Around 1 million people, including service members, their families, and employees, were exposed to contaminated drinking water.
Related Article: Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits
What Is Multiple Myeloma Cancer?
Multiple myeloma cancer is a rare blood cancer that starts in healthy blood cells, known as plasma cells. Plasma cells are a form of white blood cells. Based in the bone marrow, they play a crucial role in defending the body from infection by creating antibodies to eliminate foreign invaders and other germs .
Only 34,000 cases of multiple myeloma are diagnosed annually in the United States. The five-year survival rate of multiple myeloma is 55 percent .
Multiple myeloma occurs most commonly in the elderly. However, Camp Lejeune-related multiple myeloma is the most prevalent among younger individuals.
The latency period between exposure to the toxic substances at Camp Lejeune and a multiple myeloma diagnosis is between five and fifteen years.
“Even if based on small numbers, we agree that acute myeloid leukemia risk following benzene exposure declines over time while the multiple myeloma risk is not seen until a longer latency period has passed.”
-Dr. Adele Senior Constantini, Center for Study and Prevention of Cancer
Signs of Multiple Myeloma
The symptoms of multiple myeloma can vary and may not be present early on.
When symptoms occur, they include:
- Bone pain
- Appetite loss
- Frequent infections
- Excessive thirst
- Weakness in the legs
- Weight loss
Multiple Myeloma Causes
Multiple myeloma can be caused by several risk factors, including:
- Personal health
- Chemical exposure
Multiple Myeloma Has Been Linked to the Water at Camp Lejeune
One of the first studies on the health conditions related to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune was performed in 2009 by the National Research Council.
The NRC found sufficient evidence to link the water at Camp Lejeune to an increased rate of blood cancers, including multiple myeloma .
In 2012, The Veterans Administration formed a VA committee of experts to review the evidence and guide the VA on what health conditions can be linked to the toxic substances found at Camp Lejeune.
The VA committee found that multiple myeloma was one of the eight diseases connected to toxic water contamination .
In 2014, The ATSDR published a study that found that exposure to water contamination increased the risk of developing multiple myeloma .
Other Diagnoses Linked to Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
The toxic water at Camp Lejeune has been linked to several other health problems, including:
- Prostate Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Adult Leukemia
- Aplastic Anemia
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Renal Toxicity
- Miscarriage and birth defects
Camp Lejeune Justice Act Allows Victims to File Camp Lejeune Multiple Myeloma Lawsuit
Camp Lejeune water contamination victims have been blocked from bringing civil injury lawsuits against the government due to a strict statute of law in North Carolina. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 has now allowed victims to file these lawsuits with a lower standard of proof.
Example Multiple Myeloma Settlements
- A $1 million settlement for the delay in diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma resulted in the death of a 72-year-old man.
- A $6,960,000 settlement for the family of the deceased diesel mechanics exposed to fumes from products used on the job. One mechanic was diagnosed with liver cancer, the other with multiple myeloma, and the third with lung cancer.
- A $1,000,000 settlement against Dow Chemical for a man who worked as a tree sprayer, was exposed to unsafe levels of toxic herbicides and developed multiple myeloma.
Burden of Proof
Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, you will still have to provide a burden of proof. However, this new act allows Camp Lejeune victims to prove the relationship between the Camp Lejeune water contamination and their multiple myeloma by citing a single epidemiological study.
However, you will still need to prove a few key elements.
- First, you must prove you were among the Camp Lejeune residents when the contaminated water was present.
- Second, you will need to prove the link between the contaminated drinking water and your multiple myeloma or another serious health problem with an epidemiological study, medical records, and more.
- Third, you must file your multiple myeloma claims within two years.
What Are the Estimated Camp Lejeune Multiple Myeloma Settlement Amounts?
The Camp Lejeune settlement amounts could have an average settlement between $150,000 and $425,000. However, it’s still too early to know the exact settlement amount.
If you were exposed to water contamination, you might be eligible for damages such as past health care costs, current, and future medical expenses, loss of income, or wrongful death.
You may also be able to receive disability benefits from the government through your Camp Lejeune multiple myeloma lawsuit.
See the other toxic tort lawsuits our lawyers have taken on.
Can Contaminated Water Cause Multiple Myeloma?
Yes, contaminated water can cause multiple myeloma. This cancer is one of the most common illnesses for veterans exposed to contaminated water.
What Other Health Issues Are Linked to Camp Lejeune?
The other health issues linked to Camp Lejeune are adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurobehavioral effects.
What Is the Leading Cause of Multiple Myeloma?
The leading cause of multiple myeloma isn’t known. Doctors know that multiple myeloma begins with healthy blood cells that become abnormal within the bone marrow. Once the cells become abnormal, they multiply rapidly.
How Long Will the Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Take To Settle?
The time frame for a general civil case to settle in federal court is 16 to 26 months from the beginning of the trial. It will likely take a year to see settlements for the first Camp Lejeune cases filed.
Is Cherry Point Included in the Camp Lejeune Lawsuits?
Yes, Cherry Point is included in the Camp Lejeune lawsuits if the service member also trained at Camp Lejeune.
Has Any Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Reached Settlement?
As of April 2022, there have not been any Camp Lejeune settlements. Until the act was recently passed, all of these lawsuits were blocked.
Is the Water at Camp Lejeune Still Contaminated?
The water at Camp Lejeune isn’t contaminated today. Although contamination continued through 1987, today, the water is considered safe to drink and bathe in.
How Do I Know if Water Is Contaminated?
There are several ways to tell if water is contaminated, including an unusual taste, chlorine smell, sulfur smell, a cloudy or foamy appearance, decreased water pressure, or dirt or sediment in the water.
Which Chemicals Cause Multiple Myeloma?
The main chemicals that cause multiple myeloma include asbestos, benzene, and pesticides. People exposed to wood products, such as furniture makers, carpenters, and paper makers, are also at an increased risk.
Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation
If you or your family members were exposed to dangerous chemicals at Camp Lejeune and developed multiple myeloma, bone pain, certain cancers, or any other severe health conditions, you may be eligible for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Our expert lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP can provide you with a free consultation to evaluate your multiple myeloma lawsuit.
We can also help you collect medical records, confidential or sensitive information, and expert witnesses and file your Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuits.