VA adds disease from Camp Lejeune water to presumptive service connection

| January 13, 2017

The Marine Corps Times reports that the VA has added diseases Marines contracted from drinking the water at Camp Lejeune to it’s list of presumptive service connection;

The Obama administration has agreed to provide disability benefits totaling more than $2 billion to veterans who had been exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The decision was quietly made public Thursday with a notice in the Federal Register, the government’s official journal.

Beginning in March, the cash payouts from the Department of Veterans Affairs may supplement VA health care already being provided to eligible veterans stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 days cumulative between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987. Veterans will have to submit evidence of their diagnosis and service information.

The rule was published in today’s Federal Register. It changes 38 CFR Part 3;

Amend §3.307 by revising the section heading and paragraphs (a) introductory text and (a)(1), and adding paragraph (a)(7) to read as follows:

§3.307

Presumptive service connection for chronic, tropical, or prisoner-of-war related disease, disease associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents, or disease associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune; wartime and service on or after January 1, 1947.

(a) General. A chronic, tropical, or prisoner of war related disease, a disease associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents, or a disease associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune listed in §3.309 will be considered to have been incurred in or aggravated by service under the circumstances outlined in this section even though there is no evidence of such disease during the period of service. No condition other than one listed in §3.309(a) will be considered chronic.

(1) Service. The veteran must have served 90 days or more during a war period or after December 31, 1946. The requirement of 90 days’ service means active, continuous service within or extending into or beyond a war period, or which began before and extended beyond December 31, 1946, or began after that date. Any period of service is sufficient for the purpose of establishing the presumptive service connection of a specified disease under the conditions listed in §?3.309(c) and (e). Any period of service is sufficient for the purpose of establishing the presumptive service connection of a specified disease under the conditions listed in §?3.309(f), as long as the period of service also satisfies the requirements to establish a presumption of exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune under paragraph (a)(7)(iii) of this section.

* * * * *

(7) Diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. (i) For the purposes of this section, contaminants in the water supply means the volatile organic compounds trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene and vinyl chloride, that were in the on-base water-supply systems located at United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987.

(ii) The diseases listed in §3.309(f) shall have become manifest to a degree of 10 percent or more at any time after service.

(iii) A veteran, or former reservist or member of the National Guard, who had no less than 30 days (consecutive or nonconsecutive) of service at Camp Lejeune during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, shall be presumed to have been exposed during such service to the contaminants in the water supply, unless there is affirmative evidence to establish that the individual was not exposed to contaminants in the water supply during that service. The last date on which such a veteran, or former reservist or member of the National Guard, shall be presumed to have been exposed to contaminants in the water supply shall be the last date on which he or she served at Camp Lejeune during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987. For purposes of this section, service at Camp Lejeune means any service within the borders of the entirety of the United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, as established by military orders or other official service department records.

(iv) Exposure described in paragraph (a)(7)(iii) of this section is an injury under 38 U.S.C. 101(24)(B) and (C). If an individual described in paragraph (a)(7)(iii) of this section develops a disease listed in §3.309(f), VA will presume that the individual concerned became disabled during that service for purposes of establishing that the individual served in the active military, naval, or air service.

* * * * *

3. Add §3.309(f) to read as follows:

§3.309

Disease subject to presumptive service connection.

* * * * *

(f) Disease associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. If a veteran, or former reservist or member of the National Guard, was exposed to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune during military service and the exposure meets the requirements of §?3.307(a)(7), the following diseases shall be service-connected even though there is no record of such disease during service, subject to the rebuttable presumption provisions of §3.307(d).

(1) Kidney cancer.

(2) Liver cancer.

(3) Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

(4) Adult leukemia.

(5) Multiple myeloma.

(6) Parkinson’s disease.

(7) Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes.

(8) Bladder cancer.

The Marine Corps times says that 1400 claims are already pending review which starts today.

Category: Marine Corps

Comments (35)

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  1. Claymore says:

    I have a Marine working for me who just got his papers on this. He was at Lajune in the mid-to-late 80’s and has struggled with his health for decades since then and no one could tell him why. He told me yesterday that he’s actually relived to know it wasn’t him going crazy and now hopes to get treatment. I pray for him in light of this new information.

    • Claymore says:

      I misspelled the crap out of Lejeune. Please don’t tell Mattis. I don’t want to have to stand before the man on that. 🙁

      • Just An Old Dog says:

        Mad Dog Mattis of Quantico, Patron Saint of Chaos has seen your sin and accepted your confession.
        He says ” Raise up warrior, say 5 Hail Chestys, go forth and fuck up no more spellings of Our sacred bases”

      • jonp says:

        Mattis looks under his bed for Chesty Puller before turning out the light.

  2. Graybeard says:

    I’m glad they finally recognized this.

    My (unanswerable) question: Why did this take so long?

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      I’m with you, Graybeard – Why did it take so damn long?

    • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

      Why did it take so long?

      Because it wasn’t a shiny new weapons system that’s why it’s just the lives and health of all the Marines trained for over 30 while being systematically poisoned by their government…due to chemicals that everyone knew were fucking poison from the first day of their inception into the chemical field.

      • Graybeard says:

        Unfortunately, the responsible parties up and down the line will not be held accountable (if they haven’t died from exposure themselves).

        Taking care of your own people is always RULE No.1 for any leader. Those who allowed this to happen have betrayed the men and women (and families) who were entrusted to them.

        Even if monetary recompense is forthcoming (I ain’t holding my breath) no amount can compensate for the suffering and death involved.

      • Joseph Williams says:

        Why so long? Money! Agent Orange, PTSD, the Nuclear soliders sound familar ?I think you get the pattern. Joe

    • Andy11M says:

      Because it’s always easier to just say no and slam the door in someones face?

    • Marine 0331 says:

      The concern I have had since getting these emails is, that I wonder if the water on Geiger was tainted as well? After ITS I was assigned to Lima 3/8 and aside from two med cruises and tours in Beirut I spent my entire four year enlistment on Geiger from 81 to 85. I realize that Geiger is far enough away from Lejeune to be on a sperate water supply, but was the same chemical disposal practice carried out on Geiger as it was on Lejeune? If so would’nt that water supply be tainted as well?

      • Bob Thomson says:

        Geiger is located “within the entirety of the borders” of Camp Lejeune, as is New River MCAS. My DD 214 referred to Camp Lejeune as my duty station, even though housed at Geiger.

  3. Big Mike says:

    I was born on the base in 1972 without a right eye and had cleph palate. My dad is a marine that served 27 months in Vietnam. He now has Parkinsons. This is a lil piece of justice for him and my mom

  4. BigHead Tom says:

    I was contacted some years back concerning this issue. The letter I received said that I would be covered for any of the diseases you listed but no disability rating otherwise. But when I filled out my claim last year I did notice the Camp Lejeune water supply issue was pre-populated as a choice within the form.

    • BigHead Tom says:

      I also recall back in 1981 at Camp Lejeune after using gallons of Trichloroethylene to clean everything under the sun we were told to just pour it onto the ground instead of turning it back in as that caused more paperwork. Good Times.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        “Trichloroethylene”
        That is some nasty shit. We used 55 gallon drums of the stuff to clean PC boards at a company I worked for.
        By the early 80’s most shops switched to Freon. Years later after relating that to a doctor he had a liver scan done on me. So far so good.

  5. ChipNASA says:

    This was all over Facebook recently and I wonder if these folks are covered as well??

    Marine family says child and 7 others have cancer from Laurel Bay Military Housing

    http://usmclife.com/2017/01/marine-family-says-child-7-others-cancer-laurel-bay-military-housing/

  6. OWB says:

    Good. Several friends were very adversely effected by this. It came to my attention a few years ago when a friend asked me about it after his civilian doc told him that his cancers et al were likely directly related to his consumption of that water during his assignment there as a Marine.

    Am hoping that most were able to get proper treatment in the meanwhile outside the VA system, as have my friends. Unfortunately, too many have not. Another national shame.

  7. IF '06-'07-'08 says:

    Wonder how long they will drag their feet over those burn pits of Iraq and Afghanistan

  8. Dave Hardin says:

    See, I told you people I was once normal. I knew it was the water all along.

    BEER, its so much more than just a breakfast drink.

  9. Skyjumper says:

    Thank God, they (VA) finally got there s–t together and did the right thing. I have a number of Marine friends that were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the mid to late 60’s. A few have had some type of cancer they always felt was related to the base water.

    Now, what I would like to see the VA look into next, is the Fort McClellan situation considering toxic exposure to the troops that stationed/trained there. These troops included: WAC’s/MP School/Chemical Corps and Infantry AIT. The base was closed back in 1999 and was listed as a Superfund site for clean up.

    Way to much info for me to type here, buy if you google “Fort McClellan toxic exposure”, you will find a lot of info about this.

    Disclosure: I was stationed there for Infantry AIT back in December 1968-Feb.1969.

    Meanwhile, a couple of links:

    http://www.annistonstar.com/news/va-creates-website-for-fort-mcclellan-veterans/article_50afeffe-e54a-11e4-8440-d3fa56f2b46d.html

    http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/fort-mcclellan/

    http://www.legalreader.com/fort-mcclellan-a-toxic-scandal/

  10. USMC8151 says:

    I have been getting updates for years regarding this…Was stationed at Lejuenr in the late 70’s. To the veterans that stayed on this that never let go…Thank you. It was heartbreaking to read the stories of the females who were devasted due to this.

  11. Jay says:

    Which makes me wonder how this effects the children/spouses/family members of service members who were at Lejeune around that time frame? We lived in base housing from 82-85. My old man retired out of Lejeune in 90. Passed away from a heart attack at age 44 in 1995. I joined in 97. My mom went through a bout of cancer in the 80s, and I have developed a parkinsonian tremor my self.

  12. Richard Deiters, MSGT USMC(Retired) says:

    I’m I their exposure database, BUT since I was there LESS than 30 Days, I’m considered not affected by this water issue.

  13. H1 says:

    Have been getting the notifications from Lejeune for a while now.
    Luckily was on Onslow Beach rather than Mainside, or the point.
    Supposedly we had a separate water supply than the rest of the Camp.
    Still wonder if the water table was compromised.

  14. David says:

    always wondered about the asbestos removal project our unit had going in Germany – civilian contractors stripping insulation above us while we worked with dust dropping down on us.

  15. jonp says:

    Ok, since I did a joint field exercise during that time while at Bragg on Lejeune that lasted for better than a month does that mean I get disability?

    I’m not knocking this but I’ve been reading and hearing about it being in NC and it seems kinda like the silicone breast implant scare in some ways which had no basis in actual science.

  16. Hondo says:

    I’m normally not a fan of the VA making presumptive service connection rulings, as they tend to screw it up “by the numbers”. However, in this case, the VA actually seem to have done it correctly.

    As far as I know, all of the diseases listed here are in fact known to be linked to exposure to the chemicals found to have contaminated Lejeune’s water supply and none appear to be linked to either lifestyle or aging. Plus, if you live in an area where the water supply is contaminated exposure is rather a given.

    For once: well done, VA – even if it took far too long.

  17. Jerry White says:

    I just finished reading a portion of the VA. approval on Benefit Payouts. This language sounds very legalese to me..”Now Veterans with any of the 8 conditions cited will also be eligible for Compensation Pay to Offset the impact toxic exposures had on their earning capacity after their Military Service”…For me my Kidney Cancer was after my work life ? Does that mean I’m not entitled to disability comp ?