Marine Corps Reserve Association


Veterans stung by SecNav comments on Camp Lejeune Water

VA expands review of chemical exposure in drinking water at Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune

As part of VA's ongoing commitment to provide care to veterans and their families, the Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced that it will start the process of amending its regulations to establish presumptions of service connection for certain conditions resulting from exposure to contaminated drinking water at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.  This process is in addition to the healthcare VA already provides for 15 conditions to eligible veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987 as a result of the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. VA also provides reimbursement of healthcare expenses for those 15 conditions to eligible family members who resided at Camp Lejeune during that time period. To read rest of the article click VA MCB CL 0CT.pdf.

Woman shares story of breast cancer survival

Karol Smith Davis is a breast cancer survivor. Although she still has pain, she is grateful to be alive and that she is able to help others in the community through her nonprofit.Karol Smith Davis grew up in Jacksonville and on Camp Lejeune. Davis remembers spending almost every day of every summer at the pool when she was young. It was fun and there wasn’t much else to do in the area during the 60s and 70s, she said.

But even as a child she had problems. Davis has had issues with her immune system all her life in addition to tumors in both of her breasts. Because of this, she had doctor recommended breast exams twice a year.

In January of 2011, Davis went to her exam and everything was fine. But by her next exam in October, there was a problem. “They told me that I had several things they were concerned about,” she said. After several biopsies it was discovered that Davis had three carcinomas in her left breast and six in her right. She had Stage 3 invasive breast cancer.

By the end of November, the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Davis had eight of her lymph nodes removed as well as a mastectomy. She had surgery on her birthday -- Feb. 3, 2012.  Cancer affected her life in many ways, Davis said. There were medical issues caused by treatment, especially since she already had a compromised immune system, in addition to the emotional and financial stress added to her and her family. There are many things that aren’t talked about when it comes to living beyond cancer, she said. The list side effects caused by treatment is long, but some things, like having to take pills every day for the following years, losing your eyelashes as well as your hair, loss of libido and vaginal dryness don’t always make it into the conversation.  “What people don’t tell you about living with breast cancer is that there are so many other things, residual things, that go along with it,” she said.  Davis suffers from lymphedema since her lymph nodes were removed. The flow of lymph, fluid that circulates throughout the body to remove waste from tissues, gets backed-up in her arm, causing extreme swelling and pain. In order to keep it manageable, Davis must wear a compression sleeve on the affected arm -- the right arm, her dominant arm.

“I have to wear mine everyday for the rest of my life otherwise my arm just balloons. It gets so big sometimes I can barely lift it,” she said. The sleeves, like many other items meant to help with quality of life, are not covered by her insurance.  Davis is happy to have a caring and loving husband, she said.  “He’s a kind man and just loves me,” she said. Davis decided not to have reconstructive surgery on her breasts, lives with an enlarged arm and other issues caused by cancer and its treatment. And her husband has stuck by her, she said. Davis also has a good support system in her children and her friends, she said. Davis and her friends get together and keep each other encouraged, she said.


In the early 1980s at the Marine Corps Base in Lejeune, NC, it was discovered that two on-base water-supply systems were contaminated with the volatile organic compounds trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning agent. Benzene, vinyl chloride, and other compounds were also found to be contaminating the water-supply systems. For the full link click here.

Many of the members of the MCRA have been stationed during their career at Camp Lejeune. As such, this issue is one that the MCRA is following closely and has been advocating on Capitol Hill for many years. Much progress has been made, but there is much work remaining. We will continue to follow this issue for as long as it remains. We will strive to keep the membership informed of all news on this issue. The Marine Corps encourages all those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune before 1987 to register to receive notifications regarding this matter. In addition, the Department of the Navy is funding independent research initiatives.

The MCRA will continue to keep this as a priority for the Association and push information as it becomes available to the membership. Keeping in step with our mission to remain faithful to all those that have served.

I have found a law firm The Bell Legal Group that specializes in representing those that were victimized.  The best part is this site does an exceptional job with keeping up with information that has impacted so many!  


Marines who served at Camp Lejeune but can't get VA healthcare

More studies in the works on Camp Lejeune toxic water victims

More studies in the works on Camp Lejeune toxic water victims

GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry presented on Tuesday evening in Greensboro an update on its studies for past water contamination at Camp Lejeune.  The CDC agency (ATSDR) has released at least four studies linking toxic water exposure to birth defects, cancer and disease.

Third study confirms harmful effects of water at Camp Lejeune

It found that a dry cleaner and base activities contaminated the water from the 1950's to the 1980's.  In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an act to clear the way for an estimated one million people to get health benefits.

Esminger reflects on passage of bill to help victims

A court of appeals ruling essentially put them in a place where some could not file a claim because recent state law did not apply retroactively.

NC House backs Lejeune victims

ATSDR says it has five studies in the works, including tracking how poor water led to air problems as well. Another one focuses on men who got breast cancer.  “So these are a nasty bunch of chemicals that people at Camp Lejeune were exposed to,” said Dr. Richard Clapp, a member of the ATSDR Community Assistance Panel. “It's not a surprise unfortunately that excess deaths have occurred from the number of conditions I just mentioned and there have been birth defects.”

The Community Assistance Panel was established to “voice the concerns of the affected community of marines and their families and to provide input for health studies."  WNCT reached out to North Carolina Senator Richard Burr (R) who has backed legislation to help victims.

“It has been almost three years since Congress passed the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act. In that time, the CDC has released four studies showing that these Camp Lejeune families have a higher risk of certain cancers and a higher mortality rate.  Yet the VA continues to drag its feet and disagree with the government's leading scientists. It's unconscionable that only 10 percent of these sick veterans have gotten disability benefits. If the VA won't listen to the law or to scientists, what's it going to take?"  -Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)


Lejeune Families finally getting help

It has been two years since Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act. That act provided health-care coverage for military family members sickened by water pollution aboard Camp Lejeune over a 30-year period.

It has taken two years before the law could be put into effect. The lag time between the passage of the law and approval of rules governing coverage is yet another symptom of the dysfunction within the Veterans Administration, and an apparent lack of urgency on the part of the White House agency that reviews rules before they become final.  

To read the full article click here.

Click here to read the Federal Register rule on Payment or Reimbursement for Certain Medical Expenses for Camp Lejeune Family Members

Click here to read the Federal Register rule on Hospital Care and Medical Services for Camp Lejeune Veterans

Governor Releases Statement on Senate Bill 574

Raleigh, NC - Governor Pat McCrory released the following statement following the signing of Senate Bill 574:  “This solution is a testament to our ability in state government to work together in a bipartisan manner to respond swiftly to citizens’ needs,” said Governor McCrory. “I would like to thank the members of the General Assembly for taking quick action to address the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling.”

Senate Bill 574, which passed unanimously in both the state House and Senate, provided clarification to certain state laws addressing groundwater contamination lawsuits. The legislation was passed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger. Without the new legislation, the ruling could have resulted in the dismissal of certain groundwater contamination suits.

To read the North Carolina bill in its entirety click here

For a complete chronological summary click here.

CMC published a letter expressing his concerns and addressing the actions to be taken by the Marine Corps on this issue. To view the letter click here.

CDC Confirms Cancer & Camp Lejeune Water linked! 07Jun13

A longawaited study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms a link between tainted tap water at a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina and increased risk of serious birth defects and childhood cancers.  For the full story click HERE

Marine Corps’ full response to NBC News regarding water contamination at Camp Lejeune  21 Feb 2013

In the early 1980s, Camp Lejeune began to test drinking water for trihalomethanes (THMs) because of new regulations that had been announced by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for those chemicals in November of 1979. Monitoring was required by November 1982 and compliance by November 1983. THMs are chemicals that are created when water is treated with chlorine. While these initial tests for THMs were being conducted, other chemicals, unidentified at the time, were sometimes interfering with the results.  For full interview click here. 



For all those that were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the time period in question, it is recommended by the Marine Corps to register, click here to begin.

Contact the VA for Reimbursement

VA will be able to reimburse Veterans’ family members for eligible out-of-pocket health care expenses for 15 health conditions after we publish regulations. Prepare in 3 steps:

  1. Call 1-877-222-8387 to be added to VA’s Camp Lejeune database.
  2. Gather documents showing your relationship to a Veteran who served at Camp Lejeune and that you lived on base for 30 days or more between 1957-87.
  3. Keep receipts for health care expenses you paid for a covered condition on or after March 26, 2013.
Public Health Information

Visit to learn about other military exposures and VA benefits.

New health benefits

Under a law signed Aug. 6, 2012 (215 KB, PDF), Veterans and family members who served on active duty or resided at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between Jan. 1, 1957 and Dec. 31, 1987 may be eligible for VA medical care.

Compensation benefits

The new law applies to health care, not disability compensation. At this time, there is insufficient scientific and clinical evidence to establish a presumptive association between service at Camp Lejeune during the period of water contamination and the development of certain diseases. VA is closely monitoring new research. VA representatives regularly attend the quarterly Community Action Panel meetings hosted by The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).  Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis. File a claim online For the full details click here.

Links for all the CLNC Water info: (for background) (a valuable proponent website)  (the VA slice)  (The USMC slice) (The toxic substance survey)

Members who think they may have been effected should be encouraged to join the registry, participate in the surveys, and stay informed about the issue.

Marine Corps Reserve Association
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