Trichloroethylene (TCE) is one of the VOCs found in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. TCE is commonly used as a degreaser. This chemical is frequently used to degrease metals such as military equipment and make refrigerants, dry cleaning solvents, and paint stripping solvents. TCE is a colorless liquid that is manufactured through chemical synthesis and not naturally found. TCE breaks down slowly and is moderately water soluble. It easily passes through soil to contaminate groundwater. It smells like ether in high concentrations but is odorless at lower levels.
TCE is a common chemical found in water used for bathing, food preparation and drinking at military bases due to the dumping of waste on-site. Like PCE, TCE was modeled for contaminant levels in the Camp Lejeune water supply by ATSDR. TCE was predominantly found at the Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant with contaminant levels exceeding 100 times the acceptable (maximum) contamination levels. Hadnot Point supplied the water to the Mainside barracks, Hospital Point family housing, and family housing at Midway Park, Paradise Point, and Berkeley Manor until June 1972. ATSRD found that the maximum TCE level detected in the Hadnot Point drinking water was 1,400 parts per billion (ppb) in May 1982. The current limit. To put that number in perspective, note that the EPA‘s maximum contaminant level (MCL) in drinking water is 5 ppb.
TCE exposure can affect the human central nervous system (CNS). Epidemiological studies have associated TCE exposure to serval different cancers, such as kidney, liver, cervix, and lymphatic system cancer. At Camp Lejeune specifically, ATSDR has found that there is sufficient evidence for causation for kidney cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cardiac defects to the TCE found in the water supply. ATSDR also has found that there is enough research to support a link between leukemia, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, end-stage renal disease, Parkinson’s disease, and scleroderma and exposure to the TCE found in the Camp Lejeune water supply, but there is not enough research to definitively conclude that exposure causes those health effects. ATSDR is conducting more research on the link between TCE exposure at Camp Lejeune to health effects of those exposed to its contaminated water supply.
The Nations Law Firm is continuing to research the chemicals found at Marine Base Camp Lejeune through studies published by ATSDR and Health and Human Services (HHS) and its subsidiaries. To learn more about our efforts in helping Veterans, please visit our Camp Lejeune information page or call our office at 800-800-1102.