It has been estimated that about 15,000 vets may have serious health problems due to consuming contaminated water while stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. These veterans may soon see some help from the VA due to a recent Department of Veterans Affair rule that has been proposed, but has not yet been approved.
The vets in question were stationed at Camp Lejeune from the period 1953 through 1987, and it applies only to those troops who spent at least 30 days at the camp. For those individuals, the new rule automatically assumes a connection between the contaminated water and 8 diseases. Those diseases are listed as: anemia, liver cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s, kidney and bladder cancer.
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that certain contaminants that were introduced into the water did increase the risk for the above listed illnesses. The contaminants were listed as forms of de-greasing products and other types of chemical.
The big change that vets need to know about the new rule is that it changes the claim process from individual case-by-case to what the VA is calling “presumptive” status. This means that those who qualify under the above mentioned conditions simply have to present their symptoms to be “presumed” to be associated with the bad water; they do not have to prove it anymore.
The 30-day minimum exposure requirement may change under the final draft according to a VA written announcement. It was also announced that a public comment period has begun and will last until October 10th. Once the new rule is put into effect, new claims and all pending claims will be approved.
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