From Camp Lejeune to Cape Fear River: Toxins in the water

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - As the Cape Fear community continues to seek answers to the exact effects of GenX in our drinking water, those who were stationed at Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune are all too familiar to toxins in the water.

In the early 1980s, contaminates were found in two wells on the base that provided water to thousands of U.S. Marine Corps and their families.

It has been proven that water has been linked to eight different diseases, including various types of cancer and Parkinson's disease.

Earlier this year it was announced that exposed veterans could apply for disability benefits, totaling more than $2 million.

Those wishing to apply for benefits got the guidance they need Saturday, from the Vietnam Veterans of America in Wilmington.

Beginning in March, the disability benefits may supplement VA healthcare already being provided to eligible Veterans who were stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 cumulative days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.

Veterans will have to submit evidence of their diagnoses and service information, something the VVA can help with.

New Hanover County resident James Hammond is familiar with the contaminated water, he lived on base in the 1960s.

"The Marine Corps kind of let down a lot of people and I think that we're going to find out that the people that were supposed to be testing our water here in Cape Fear have let us down."

While Hammond has no known health problems from Camp Lejeune's water, he knows just how deadly it can be.

"They've had children die from from various forms of cancer from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune," he said.

Anthony Musolino and his fellow service members at the VVA Chapter 885 spent Saturday teaching Veterans and their family members how to file for compensation from the VA.

"What we're trying to do is get out the word this is how you apply, this is how you get taken care of, and this is what you have to do to get taken care of," said Musolino.

It is estimated that more than 23,000 veterans can apply for benefits and as many as 900,000 service members were potentially exposed to this toxic water.

Musolino emphasized the VVA on Princess Street is there to assist Vietnam Veterans needing help.

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