Veteran's Service Office issues alert for Marines

The Wilson County Veteran's Service Office issued an alert to anyone who served at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina from Jan. 1, 1957 through Dec. 31, 1987.
Apr 24, 2013

 

The Wilson County Veteran's Service Office issued an alert to anyone who served at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina from Jan. 1, 1957 through Dec. 31, 1987.

Veteran's Service Officer Bernie Ash said people who served there during that time "were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, including industrial solvents and components of fuels."

Ash said the number of local veterans, their families or civilian workers who were possibly exposed is impossible to calculate.

"I have no idea how many local people might be affected," Ash said. "We had a few people call and a few come in asking about it."

Ash said President Barack Obama signed into law Aug. 6 the "Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012," which is designed to help veterans who served at the base during those years. The law provides Veteran's Administration health care for 15 medical conditions. Health care may also be provided for family members for these conditions, once Congress appropriates funds and new regulations are published.

Among the medical conditions and illnesses associated with Camp Lejeune for which treatment may be provided, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, female infertility, hepatic steatosis, kidney cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, miscarriage, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, neurobehavioral effects, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, renal toxicity and scleroderma.

Ash said the new Camp Lejeune Family Act made it possible for anyone experiencing symptoms to seek medical help from the Veteran's Administration.

"Anyone who was stationed there, their families or civilian workers are eligible - anyone who was there for more than 30 days during those years," he said.

Anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987 and have any of these conditions should contact the VA Hospital or the Wilson County Veteran's Service Office at 615-444-2460.

"We will help them," Ash said. "They are not eligible for disability, but they can get treatment. They need to get in the system."

 

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