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Toxins at military base raise illness, disability concerns

Receiving a diagnosis for a potentially fatal illness is news that no one wants to hear. At the same time, coming to understand that the illness could have been prevented raises an entirely new set of concerns. This is the feeling that thousands of military veterans who served at Camp Lejeune are feeling about the threat associated with toxic exposure during their time at the base.

According to a report from the Pioneer Press, as many as 1 million Marine veterans, their families and other staff at Camp Lejeune were exposed a variety of toxins in their water supply. The issue persisted for three decades, between 1957 and 1987, and many service members didn't know about the chemicals until recently.

Of course, simply learning about the exposure is enough to cause concern. At the same time, a number of people have been diagnosed with cancer, which has been attributed to the toxins in the water at Camp Lejeune.

One woman who was at the military is in the process of battling breast cancer, which has reached its final stages. The woman is upset that she wasn't notified about toxins any sooner, especially since she’s confident that her illness is the result of toxic exposure. Now, she is applying for medical relief provided by 2012 legislation and Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, these measures will not change the circumstances behind the woman's illness, but they will provide much-needed relief to her and her husband.

Numerous efforts have been made to file civil claims as a result of this particular toxic-exposure concern, but none have been successful. Families throughout the country are struggling with the fallout of this particular issue, so the hope is that assistance will be provided to those who need it.

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Ex-Marine in a fight for her life after Camp Lejeune exposure," Ruben Rosario, Feb. 2, 2014

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