Following service in the military, many servicemen and women think their most complicated battles are behind them. Unfortunately, many veterans suffer long-lasting mental and physical health issues. Scientists and doctors are continually making connections between veterans and the multiple diseases and health conditions that seem to plague them.
Though it has long been known that the nation's veterans are at high risk for developing asbestos cancer or mesothelioma, other cancer risks are newly emerging. In fact, as recently as early October 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency warned that anyone who served or lived on base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between the 1950s and 1980s is at risk for developing a number of cancers related to water contamination on the base. Though multiple cancers are listed as possible risks, the EPA specifically linked consumption of the water's contaminants to breast cancer, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer.
Apparently, trichloroethylene - known as TCE - made it into the water supply at the base. TCE is highly toxic to humans and causes multiple types of cancer. Exposure to the contaminant is responsible for claiming many lives, including children living at the base. Some diseases related to the exposure are latent, meaning it may take many years before they develop in the body. Unfortunately, those effects may continue for many years to come. According to the EPA, individuals who lived or worked on the base between the 1950s and 1980s were exposed to the chemical, placing them at risk for many years to come.
The discovery is no surprise to the countless men, women and children who have fallen ill due to exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune. What else could account for the more than 70 recorded cases of male breast cancer at the base? Despite decades of suspicion surrounding the water at Camp Lejeune, previous studies from the National Research Council found no confirmation of a link between the base's water and the multiple diseases that service members and their families were suffering. However, the recent discoveries by the Environmental Protection Agency disprove those previous reports, raising hope and awareness for veterans who have long sought out answers and recompense for their suffering.