Contaminated Water and Reproductive Health: Exploring the Impact on Camp Lejeune Residents

Contaminated water can have serious and long-lasting effects on human health, particularly on reproductive health. The water contamination at Camp Lejeune, a United States Marine Corps base in North Carolina, is one of the most notorious cases of water contamination in American history. 

This article will explore the potential impact of contaminated water on reproductive health in Camp Lejeune residents, citing supporting evidence and discussing ongoing research and efforts to address the issue. By shedding light on this important topic, we can better understand the impact of environmental contamination on human health and work towards improving the health outcomes of those affected.

Overview of the Camp Lejeune Incident

From the 1950s to the 1980s, military personnel and their families at Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina, were exposed to drinking water contaminated with toxic chemicals. The contaminants, including benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), and perchloroethylene (PCE), came from industrial activities and leaking fuel storage tanks on the base.

The contamination lasted several decades, with the highest levels of contamination occurring between the mid-1950s and mid-1980s. It is estimated that up to one million people may have been exposed to contaminated water.

More recently, according to, the Camp LeJeune Justice Act, passed in 2022, has created a two-year opportunity for submitting Camp Lejeune claims to the Navy's Tort Claims Unit. The unit will review the claims and decide whether to accept liability and provide compensation. As of mid-February, roughly 20,000 administrative claims were already filed.

As per the TorHoerman Law, LLC, one of the law firms handling the Camp Lejeune cases, the Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts will vary for individuals. It will depend on several factors, such as the nature of injuries sustained, diagnosed conditions, duration of stay at the base, and other relevant factors.

TorHoerman Law states that settlements resulting from legal action may also encompass damages incurred, such as medical expenses, loss of income, emotional distress, and other related costs.

Potential Reproductive Health Effects

The contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has been linked to a range of reproductive health effects. Exposure to the toxic chemicals found in the water has been associated with an increased risk of infertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm birth. 

According to Camp Lejeune Claims Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that the polluted drinking water at Camp Lejeune posed a severe health hazard to expectant mothers and their infants. 

The study links the tainted water at Camp Lejeune to critical birth defects, particularly neural tube defects (NTDs) like anencephaly, where portions of the brain and skull are absent. Additionally, babies exposed to the contaminated water were at a greater risk of developing cancer and oral clefts.

Supporting Evidence

Several studies have provided evidence supporting the link between exposure to chemicals in contaminated water and reproductive health effects. 

According to Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), when TCE enters the bloodstream, it can permeate the placenta and reach the developing fetus. Exposure to TCE during the first two to eight weeks of pregnancy, when the fetal heart is forming, can elevate the risk of congenital heart defects in the baby.

Comparison to Other Populations

Comparisons between Camp Lejeune residents and other populations suggest that the incidence of reproductive health problems among those exposed to the contaminated water may be higher than among the general public or military personnel stationed at other bases. 

For example, a study found that the incidence of certain types of cancer, including breast and bladder cancer, was higher among Camp Lejeune residents than among the general population. Other studies have found an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and developmental problems in the offspring of Camp Lejeune residents. 

These findings suggest that the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune may have had a significant impact on reproductive health outcomes for those exposed.

Challenges in Determining Causation

Proving that contaminated water directly caused reproductive health problems in Camp Lejeune residents is a challenging task. Many confounding factors can make it difficult to establish a clear link between exposure to contaminated water and reproductive health outcomes. 

For example, many of the individuals who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune were exposed to a variety of other environmental hazards, such as air pollution and hazardous waste. 

Additionally, many of these individuals may have engaged in other high-risk behaviors, such as smoking or drug use, that could contribute to reproductive health problems. 

These factors make it difficult to attribute health problems solely to exposure to contaminated water and require careful consideration when studying the potential health effects of environmental contaminants.

Efforts to Address the Issue

Efforts have been made to address the issue of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The VA has also implemented a presumptive service connection policy for certain conditions, such as adult leukemia and Parkinson's disease, which allows veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the contaminated period to receive disability benefits for these conditions without having to prove a direct link to their service. 

These efforts acknowledge the impact of the contamination on the health of those exposed and provide support and resources for affected individuals and their families.

Ongoing Research

Ongoing research is essential to better understand the long-term reproductive health effects of exposure to contaminated water. The Camp Lejeune contamination incident serves as an example of the potential impacts of contaminated water on reproductive health. 

Many former residents and their families have reported health problems, including reproductive issues, following exposure to chemicals in the water. Current studies, such as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) ongoing health survey of Camp Lejeune residents, aim to shed light on the issue and inform future prevention and intervention efforts. 

It is crucial to continue this research to ensure that individuals and communities exposed to contaminated water are protected from adverse health outcomes.


As we've seen, the contamination at Camp Lejeune has had a devastating effect on many people's lives. The government has taken steps to try and make things right, but there is still much work to be done. 

We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of how this disaster could impact your reproductive health if exposed as an adult or child living in the surrounding area today and what steps can be taken to protect yourself against potential harm.