Toxic Exposure

Symptoms of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

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People at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 may have been exposed to toxic drinking water, increasing the likelihood they will have many serious illnesses. If you’re concerned about symptoms of Camp Lejeune water contamination, speak with your doctor about treatment options. You may also be entitled to compensation from the government.

What led to water contamination at Camp Lejeune?

In the 1980s, Marine Corps investigators uncovered contaminated drinking water at two of the water treatment plants serving Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The contaminants found include:

  • Benzene
  • Tetrachloroethylene/perchloroethylene (PCE)
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Vinyl chloride

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) found that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) impacted the water supply between 1953 and 1987. The treatment plants served a majority of the housing on the base, meaning many service members and their families drank, cooked, washed, and showered with contaminated water.

What conditions have been linked to Camp Lejeune’s toxic water?

Several conditions are linked to toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune.

Some conditions linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination

If you or a loved one were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987, you may be eligible to seek compensation from the federal government.

Symptoms from conditions linked to Camp Lejeune drinking water

You or a family member could experience symptoms from cancer or other conditions caused by exposure to Camp Lejeune’s toxic drinking water. It’s important to seek a medical evaluation if you feel unwell, particularly if you believe you may have been exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.

Bladder cancer

Bladder cancer is a type of disease that impacts the function of the bladder. Symptoms related to bladder cancer include:

  • Back pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain while urinating
  • Pelvic pain

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is a type of disease that begins in the breast. Symptoms related to breast cancer include:

  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
  • Growths in the breast or underarm
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
  • Pain in any area of the breast
  • Pulling in of the nipple
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
  • Thickening or swelling in the breast

Esophageal cancer

Esophageal cancer is a type of disease that can form in different parts of your esophagus. Symptoms of esophageal cancer include:

  • Hoarseness and cough
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Lumps under the skin
  • Pain behind the breastbone
  • Painful or difficult swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss

Female infertility

Female infertility is the inability to get pregnant or stay pregnant. It could be caused by exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, or it may be a sign of another condition preventing a person’s ability to get or remain pregnant.

Hepatic steatosis

Hepatic steatosis, or fatty liver disease, is a buildup of fat in the liver that may lead to other liver conditions. Symptoms of hepatic steatosis include:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Internal bleeding
  • Jaundice
  • Tiredness

Kidney cancer

Kidney cancer is a type of cancer that starts and grows in one or both of your kidneys. Symptoms of kidney cancer include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Bowel blockage
  • Exhaustion
  • Generally feeling unwell
  • Loss of appetite
  • Persistent lower back or side pain
  • Recurring fevers
  • Swelling near the kidney area or abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss


Leukemia refers to the collection of blood cell cancers. Symptoms of leukemia include:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Petechiae (pinpoint-sized spots under the skin)
  • Weight loss

Lung cancer

Lung cancer refers to any cancer that originates in and impacts the lungs. Symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Blood in coughs
  • Chest pain
  • Exhaustion
  • Persistent coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Wheezing


A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week of gestation. Symptoms of a miscarriage include:

  • Low back or abdominal pain
  • Tissue or clot-like material that passes from the vagina
  • Vaginal bleeding

Multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that starts in the blood’s plasma cells. Symptoms of multiple myeloma include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Bone pain
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Frequent infections and fevers
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness

Myelodysplastic syndromes

Myelodysplastic syndromes are a type of cancer that develops from immature red blood cells in the bone marrow. Symptoms of myelodysplastic syndromes include:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Exhaustion
  • Paler skin
  • Petechiae (pinpoint-sized spots under the skin)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness

Neurobehavioral effects

Neurobehavioral effects refer to conditions that may be caused by central nervous system problems. Symptoms of neurobehavioral effects associated with exposure to Camp Lejeune water include:

  • Changes in ability to pay attention
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Difficulty with short-term memory
  • Impaired visual perception or color vision

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a collection of cancers that impact the lymphatic system. Symptoms of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Pain, swelling or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen
  • Persistent weakness and tiredness
  • Swollen, painless lymph nodes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unexplained weight loss

Renal toxicity

Renal toxicity is the buildup of toxins within the kidneys that can lead to kidney failure. Signs of kidney failure that may have been caused by renal toxicity include:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Confusion
  • Decreased urine output
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid retention
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Seizures or coma
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness


Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks otherwise healthy body tissue. Symptoms of scleroderma may include:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Heartburn
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing 

Contact a Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney

If you or a loved one served, worked or lived at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, and developed severe health complications linked to toxic water, a knowledgeable toxic exposure attorney can help you weigh your options for seeking compensation. We are available by email or you can call 866.855.9017 for more information.

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What can you do if you experience Camp Lejeune water symptoms?

If you believe you’re experiencing Camp Lejeune toxic water symptoms, speak with your medical provider as soon as possible. You may be experiencing a life-threatening condition.

You may be eligible for compensation from the federal government.

Getting compensation from the federal government

Thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), part of the Honoring our PACT Act, you may be able to seek compensation through the Department of the Navy by filing an administrative claim. You may receive a Camp Lejeune settlement offer, particularly if your condition is eligible for the Elective Option (EO).

However, the Department of the Navy may not respond in a timely way, your claim may be denied, or the settlement offer may not be enough for the suffering you experienced. In that case, you may be able to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.

CLJA claims not filed by a specific deadline could be forever barred. Denied claimants have 180 days from the date their claim was denied to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. A Camp Lejeune lawyer can help you navigate the claims or lawsuit process.

Our history representing veterans

Motley Rice has a long history of helping veterans and their family members seek justice personal injuries and wrongful deaths.

We represent or have represented our clients in litigation over: 

  • Exposure to asbestos and other toxic materials
  • 3M earplugs and hearing loss
  • EFP roadside bombs manufactured by terrorists
  • Exposure to toxins released from burn pits at military facilities

Our law firm has the experience to help you with your claim, litigate your case, and negotiate for a Camp Lejeune settlement.

Read more on our work in support of veterans.

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