The Neurobehavioral Effects of Camp Lejeune’s Water Contamination

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Contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has long been associated with a wide range of cancers, and the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) identified eight associated diseases veterans, former reservists, and former National Guard members are presumed to have incurred or aggravated during service at Camp Lejeune.

The phrase “neurobehavioral effects” refers to conditions related to the relationship between the action of the nervous system and behaviors and generally does not include certain neurologic disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. However, Parkinson’s disease is considered a presumptive condition, and a Wilmington personal injury attorney can help you if you need assistance recovering financial compensation for any of these types of injury claims.

Common symptoms of neurobehavioral effects may include headaches, difficulty concentrating, tension, depression, confusion, sensory disturbances, and a lack of coordination.

In accordance with the Caring for Families of Camp Lejeune Act of 2012, the VA will provide cost-free health care related to specific conditions for veterans and family members who served a minimum of 30 days of active duty at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987.

Studies of Neurobehavioral Effects at Camp Lejeune

There have been multiple studies performed regarding neurobehavioral effects at Camp Lejeune. What follows are some of the most prominent studies.

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

This report noted that a 2009 National Research Council (NRC) study on contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune found there was limited or suggestive evidence of an association between the exposure to mixed solvents and neurobehavioral effects, and the conclusion was based on a 2003 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report. This report also found limited or suggestive evidence of an association between the solvents and neurobehavioral effects.

The committee broadly defined neurobehavioral effects to include all neurologic and behavioral effects (including diseases, disorders, symptoms, and deficits) because neurobehavioral symptoms or test findings can be indicative of neurologic or behavioral problems.

The committee not only reviewed the evidence gathered and synthesized by the 2009 NRC and 2003 IOM committees but also identified new evidence. The NCBI study concluded that long-term exposure to low concentrations of the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) was associated with neurobehavioral deficits.

The University of Pittsburgh

These studies examined the effects of chemical solvents on exposed subjects and found that social alienation, poor concentration, anxiety, and learning or memory impairments were common, as well as hyperactivity and behavioral issues in children who were exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Epidemiological studies suggested a higher frequency of neurological and psychiatric symptoms for exposed workers than those who were not exposed.

World Health Organization (WHO) Neurobehavioral Core Test Battery (WHO-NCTB)

The WHO-NCTB is a test battery designed to identify neurotoxic effects in human populations developed at a meeting held in 1983 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and WHO. The meeting sought to identify a core set of tests that should be used in every study to help develop a body of evidence from the same set of tests and propose more tests for in-depth characterization of the effects of chemical exposures.

The test selection guidelines for the core tests developed at the meeting were to choose tests that measured functions affected by multiple neurotoxicants, detected positive effects in published studies, were reliable and have construct validity, and returned a reasonable amount of information for the time committed to the test, were relatively culture-free, and were motivated to take.

The WHO-NCTB, the Neurobehavioral Evaluation System (NES)-2 computerized battery, and four additional South African tests were used in a later NCBI study.

Adult Environmental Neurobehavioral Test Battery (AENTB)

The AETNB evaluates major neurobehavioral domains and functions and was later adopted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency in the United States Department of Health and Human Services that focuses on minimizing human health risks associated with exposure to hazardous substances, for use as a basic screening panel in field studies.

The NRC has expressed agreement that neurobehavioral effects should be included and covered by the VA in terms of presumptive service connections for conditions associated with exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Presumptive conditions related to Camp Lejeune currently include adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Wilmington Personal Injury Attorney

If you are or were a service member suffering neurobehavioral effects because of the water at Camp Lejeune, you owe it to yourself to ensure you have competent legal help getting justice. Horton & Mendez regularly handles these kinds of claims and can fight to ensure that you can recover every dollar of benefits you should be entitled to.

Our firm understands the tremendous tolls that these conditions can place on people of all ages, and we work hard to ensure that no person is left behind. Call (910) 415-1088 or contact us online to receive a free consultation so we can examine your case and get into the details of what your case will involve.

Frequently Asked Questions About Neurobehavioral Effects at Camp Lejeune

What is involved in neurobehavioral testing?

Damage to the central nervous system may be due to exposure to neurotoxic substances. There can be a relationship between neurological impairment and toxins found in a workplace such as Camp Lejeune. Exposures to certain toxins are thought to contribute to the development of neurobehavioral dysfunction.

Neurobehavioral testing is a non-invasive method used to evaluate the functioning of a person’s central nervous system, and several neurobehavioral tests exist. Because the range of behavioral functions that can be affected by exposure to a toxic agent is extensive, investigators will often use sets of tests.

The computerized Neurobehavioral Evaluation System (NES) also includes more than a dozen neurobehavioral tests of psychomotor speed and control, perpetual speed, learning, attention, and affect.

The short version of the NES (three tests) is included in the NHANES III exam and is also known as the Central Nervous System (CNS) exam component. The main use of the NES is to relate the quantitative neurobehavioral variables to measurements of neurotoxicant exposure.

A neuropsychological assessment aims to provide a differential diagnosis to give you an idea of what your underlying issue or issues might be. Neuropsychological testing can take several hours.

What is the Camp Lejeune Family Member Program?

The Camp Lejeune Family Member Program (CLFMP) is a program for family members of veterans who lived or served at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987 and were possibly exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, or other chemicals.

The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 requires the VA to provide health care to all veterans who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune and to reimburse Camp Lejeune family members for health care costs related to one or more of 15 specified illnesses or medical conditions listed in the law.

The qualifying medical conditions under this law include bladder cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, female infertility, hepatic steatosis, kidney cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, miscarriage, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, renal toxicity, scleroderma, and most importantly as it pertains to this article, neurobehavioral effects.

How do I get medical benefits for Camp Lejeune water contamination claims?

To be reimbursed for treatment costs for any of the conditions listed above, veterans and family members must complete VA Form 10-10068: Camp Lejeune Family Member Program Application. The VA will also require you to submit evidence proving your eligibility for the program, which may include:

  • a marriage license or birth certificate showing you were the dependent of a veteran stationed at the camp.
  • some proof that you lived at the base for a minimum of 30 cumulative days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
  • VA Form 10-10068b: Camp Lejeune Family Member Program Treating Physician Report completed by your doctor.
  • medical records proving you paid medical expenses related to one of the qualifying conditions above with dependents who lived at Camp Lejeune between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987.
  • being reimbursed for out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred on or after August 6, 2012.
  • dependents living at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1956, getting medical expenses reimbursed for care received on or after December 16, 2014.

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