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5 Primary Chemicals That Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune

Camp Lejeune water contamination may have left thousands of former Marines, their families, and 4,500 civilian employees exposed to toxic chemicals in their drinking water. The contamination is associated with a wide range of health problems, including cancer, neurodevelopmental abnormalities, and fertility issues. 

According to the latest news on Camp Lejeune lawsuit, a group of Camp Lejeune plaintiffs has filed a class action lawsuit against the United States Army and private companies involved in the production of chemicals used at Camp Lejeune. 

Let us now look into the 5 primary chemicals that contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and what their effects are on drinking water.

  • Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)

Tetrachloroethylene or PCE is a colorless liquid. It is flammable, highly toxic, and carcinogenic to humans. PCE is mostly used as a dry cleaning agent and refrigerant. It has been found to have adverse effects on the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys when consumed in large quantities. 

A study on the cancer risk with different doses of tetrachloroethylene reported by the National Toxicology Program found that an estimated 2.6 percent of adults would get cancer from drinking tetrachloroethylene at a level of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for more than a year. In contrast to adults, children may be at greater risk for developing leukemia as a result of exposure to tetrachloroethylene.

  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)

TCE is used in the production of chlorinated solvents, herbicides, and products, such as plastics, paint removers, and typewriter correction fluid. According to the Camp Lejeune lawsuit, Trichloroethylene or TCE is a clear liquid that is denser than water. It is highly flammable and has a sweet odor. A study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Europe found that drinking water contaminated with TCE had an increased cancer risk.

  • Vinyl chloride

Vinyl chloride is a gas that was widely used as an industrial raw material in the production of plastic, insulation, and cushioning. It is also used to manufacture polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products. A recent study published by the US National Toxicology Program found that drinking water contaminated with Vinyl chloride had increased cancer risks among children. This may lead to leukemia and other forms of cancer among young children.

  • Benzene

Benzene is an organic compound that is used in the production of nitrobenzene, aniline, benzophenone, and gasoline additives. It may also be found in cosmetics and detergents. A study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Europe found that drinking water contaminated with Benzene increases the risk of bladder cancer.

  • DCE (trans-1,2-dichloroethylene)

DCE is a flammable, colorless liquid used as a chemical intermediate in the production of chlorinated solvents. It is also found in adhesives and paint removers. It is easily absorbed by the skin and has adverse effects on health when inhaled or consumed.

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