The federal government quietly announced plans to provide disability payments to U.S. service members who were exposed to tainted drinking water while stationed at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps installation in North Carolina.
According to the notice posted in the Federal Register, the government’s official journal, anyone who was stationed or training at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 consecutive days between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987 may be eligible for disability payments tied to the development of eight diseases that have been linked to the drinking water available on base during that time.
The decision came after VA Secretary Bob McDonald examined evidence regarding a wide variety of ailments suffered by service members who spent time in Camp Lejeune, and found there was “sufficient scientific and medical evidence” to tie the drinking water to said health issues. The diseases tied to the tainted water available on Camp Lejeune during the time stipulated include: adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease.
An estimated 900,000 service members were potentially exposed to the tainted drinking water over the years, and estimates regarding disability payout to those affected are as high as $2.2 billion over a five-year period. In order to be eligible for the disability payment, veterans will need to submit evidence of their diagnosis as well as service information tying them to Camp Lejeune during the 30-plus-year window.