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Aplastic Anemia and Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Aplastic anemia is a rare condition where your bone marrow stops producing enough red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It is so rare that only two in one million Americans suffer. It is not contagious but fatal if left untreated. 

Toxic chemical exposure may cause aplastic anemia. These include chemicals found in the Camp LeJeune water contamination case. Radiation therapy, other medications, viral infections, etc., can cause this condition. Aside from internal factors, external factors like autoimmune disorders are also the culprit.

Because the symptoms are identical to those of other diseases, such as leukemia or lymphoma, aplastic anemia is often misdiagnosed. Some people with aplastic anemia show no symptoms. They only discover they have it when they go for routine checkups or tests because their doctor thinks something else might be wrong with them. 

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Camp Lejeune is an army camp stationed on the southern coast of North Carolina. Water pollution at Camp Lejeune transpired between 1953 and 1987. It was triggered by a leak in a local power plant’s fuel tank, which discharged poisonous chemicals into groundwater.

This contaminated water then seeped into wells used for drinking and bathing by residents living on or near the base. This caused severe health problems in individuals who were exposed to it.

The source of this pollution was discovered by scientists working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He conducted extensive research into possible causes for illnesses experienced by veterans who had served at Camp Lejeune during this period. 

Their findings revealed that VOCs were found in extremely high levels within groundwater sources and tap water samples taken from homes near these sources. These same VOCs had also been detected inside some buildings close enough to be affected by contaminated groundwater flows.

Toluene, xylene, benzene, and ethylbenzene were the most prevalent chemicals in polluted groundwater. These chemicals are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which means they evaporate quickly, and they are known to cause several adverse health effects in humans.

You may be wondering if there’s a connection then. Are there any Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts for the victim? If yes, who qualifies for it? Read on to find out. 

Symptoms of Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia produces a variety of symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your health professional asap:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing while exercising
  • Pale skin color or yellowing around the eyes and on the whites of the eyes
  • Easy bruising or bleeding that occurs spontaneously, such as when you brush your teeth or shave
  • Chest pain that intensifies when you cough or take deep breaths
  • Irregular heart rates
  • Frequent infections
  • Skin changes, such as red patches or rashes
  • Decreased urination or unusual swelling of your hands, feet, or ankles

The death rate of aplastic anemia is relatively high, at 70%. Thus, seek immediate attention if you notice any of the above symptoms. 

Treatment for Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia is a disease that might have deadly implications. Several treatment options are available to patients to treat and manage blood disorders like aplastic anemia effectively. These include

  • Blood transfusions – For patients with mild to moderate cases of aplastic anemia, blood transfusions may help boost their red blood cell count. Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy might require more frequent transfusions until their body recovers from the side effects or damage caused by these treatments.
  • Radiation therapy and chemotherapy – If your doctor recommends radiation therapy or chemotherapy for treating your condition, you must follow all prescribed protocols closely. This helps not to mess up the effectiveness of their intended objective, killing harmful cells while leaving healthy ones intact through radiation or preventing new cancerous cells from forming through chemotherapy.
  • Bone marrow transplant – In bone marrow transplants, either the patient’s own stem cells or those from another donor are employed.
  • Drug therapy – Your health care professional may prescribe a particular drug to address your illness. The use of medication is typically paired with other treatment approaches, like marrow transplants.

Link Between Aplastic Anemia and Camp Lejeune Water Contamination 

The connection between Camp Lejeune water contamination and aplastic anemia is clear. The chemicals found in Camp Lejeune water contamination have been linked to this disease, including one called benzene.

Benzene is a chemical that can cause aplastic anemia by damaging cells and causing them to stop dividing. Since it’s also known to be present in the contaminated water at Camp LeJeune, many people exposed to it may develop this condition.

Compensation for the Victims

Once you have been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, you will receive compensation. The amount of compensation depends on how severe your disease is and whether or not it is caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

The Department of Justice has set up a fund to help victims affected by the contamination at Camp Lejeune. This fund may help cover some of your medical costs and lost wages if your illness is linked to water contamination. However, it can take several years before anyone receives money from this fund because many people are involved in processing compensation claims.

For someone’s claim for compensation to be approved, their doctor must provide proof that their illness was caused by exposure to toxic chemicals found in drinking water at Camp Lejeune or other nearby military bases between 1957 and 1987. The period when hazardous chemicals were released into local groundwater.

Are You Eligible for the Compensation?

If you or your loved one are eligible for a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim, they may be entitled to compensation. To qualify:

  1. You or a family member must have been exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987.
  2. You must have received a medical diagnosis for one of the diseases below.
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Kidney cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Female infertility
  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Hepatic Steatosis
  • Miscarriage
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myedolysplastoc syndrome (myelodysplastic syndrome)
  • Neurobehavioural effects, such as depression and cognitive problems.
  • Non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL)
  • Scleroderma 

Conclusion

The government is finally beginning to make amends for the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The Department of Veterans Affairs has started providing disability benefits to individuals who served on the base between 1957 and 1987 and have contracted one or more illnesses linked to drinking contaminated water. 

However, the process may be frustrating. Thus, enlisting the help of a legal professional increases your chance of receiving compensation for yourself or your loved one.

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