Are Individuals Exposed to Camp Lejeune Water More Prone to Parkinson’s Disease?

For decades, residents and service members at a large Marine base along the coast encountered an alarming health mystery. Strange symptoms began emerging among those living on or near the base. Meanwhile, studies of the installation’s water supply revealed a troubling discovery, but key questions remained. 

This article analyzes newly available data. It aims to shed light on whether exposure to contaminants on the base may have led to higher rates of a devastating illness commonly associated with aging.

Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base

Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base located along the coast of North Carolina, experienced water contamination issues from the early 1950s to 1985. The base’s drinking water supply was contaminated with industrial solvents like trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE) during this time period. 

These chemicals came from an improperly maintained fuel storage depot on the base and general dumping practices, as well as from an off-base dry cleaning business. 

The contaminated water was routed to various areas throughout the base, including residences, offices, schools, and the base hospital until the contaminated wells were eventually closed down in the mid-1980s. Military soldiers and their families inadvertently consumed, cooked, and showered in water contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals.

When contamination of the drinking water was discovered in the early 1980s, it led to widespread health issues in the Camp Lejeune community and litigation against the Marine Corps. Those exposed have claimed the Corps failed to protect their health and safety.

They also criticize the slow government response in investigating the extent of the problem. The Marine Corps asserts that it cannot be held responsible for toxic exposures. This is because comprehensive federal environmental regulations for these specific chemicals were not established until 1989 after the contaminated wells had already been closed off.

The water issues at Camp Lejeune have sparked significant legal action, with law firms aggressively seeking clients through advertising.

Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease Among Veterans Exposed to Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune

Researchers analyzed health records for over 158,000 veterans. Their goal was to look into the connection between Parkinson’s disease (PD) risk and drinking water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. 

Demographic characteristics were similar between veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune, where water was contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) and other compounds from 1953 to 1985. Camp Pendleton, which had uncontaminated water, also showed similar demographic characteristics among its veterans. 

A total of 430 veterans were diagnosed with PD, with 279 cases from Camp Lejeune compared to 151 cases from Camp Pendleton. Statistical analysis found that veterans exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune had 70% higher odds of PD compared to those at Camp Pendleton after adjusting for confounding factors. 

No increased risk was seen for other neurodegenerative conditions. Camp Lejeune veterans also showed significantly higher risks for prodromal PD diagnoses and prodromal symptom scores. 

These findings suggest that exposure to TCE and other volatile organic compounds in drinking water decades prior may elevate long-term Parkinson’s disease risk. Due to widespread past and ongoing exposures globally, this study highlights TCE as an environmental health concern.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act: Providing Benefits for Victims of Contaminated Water

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was just signed into law by President Biden. This represents a significant advancement for those affected by toxic water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, according to TorHoerman Law.

The Act allows individuals exposed to contaminants in the base’s water supply between 1953 and 1987 to file personal injury claims against the U.S. government in federal court.

Specifically, the Act permits individuals to make claims for damages in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina if they can demonstrate that they were exposed to tainted water at Camp Lejeune for thirty or more days.

Previously, over 850 lawsuits, including the Camp Lejeune lawsuit, were dismissed due to a North Carolina statute of repose. The public outcry over this led to the proposal and passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. 

Now, a wide range of individuals is potentially eligible to file claims, including active/former military stationed there, families, base employees, and even in-utero victims whose mothers resided on the base. While providing an avenue for relief, eligibility does exclude those dishonorably discharged from the military or their families.


Q: What is the typical settlement amount for Parkinson’s disease cases related to Camp Lejeune?
A: Settlements for Parkinson’s disease cases linked to Camp Lejeune typically range from $1 million to $1.3 million.

Q: What is the final stage of Parkinson’s disease?
A: Stage five marks the end stage of Parkinson’s disease, where comprehensive assistance is necessary for all daily activities due to severe impairment of motor skills. Symptoms may include stiffness in the legs, making walking or standing without aid impossible.

Q: Why do veterans develop Parkinson’s disease?
A: One of the most recognized factors is exposure to pesticides. This is particularly noteworthy in light of the presumed service connections the VA made between Parkinson’s disease and Camp Lejeune contaminated water or Agent Orange exposure.

In conclusion, the evidence strongly suggests that individuals exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune face a significantly higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease decades later. 

While further research is still needed, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act represents an important step toward providing overdue assistance and compensation. It aims to aid victims of an avoidable environmental health disaster with long-lasting consequences.

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