The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.
I’m not sure if I need to talk to anyone, but here’s my story.
In March, 1981, my husband and I moved to Jacksonville, NC. My husband was a Marine and stationed at Camp Lejeune. We did not live on base, but my husband worked at Camp Lejeune and drank the water. I gave birth on October 20, 1981 at Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, NC.
My husband and I were married 28 years prior to our divorce, but he suffers from cancer today. He has also suffered with various stomach pains and ailments for years. I don’t talk to him, but my two daughters do and I know he has cancer. I have never contacted anyone to discuss whether I was exposed or if my two children (in their 30s now) were exposed.
My oldest daughter suffers from infertility and has for years. She has one child that was the result of the help of a fertility physician. She continues to suffer from infertility and is unable to have another child. She can’t afford all of the fertility treatment.
I have a fatty liver and my youngest daughter has a lot of reflux and GERD issues. Do we need to contact anyone regarding these issues? We did go on base for various reasons. We left in 1983 – don’t know the actual date. I just worry that my children or myself could have been exposed.
Editor’s Response: Regarding your question on where to go for information, you may be a bit limited yourself as you were not on base for exposure. However, your husband would likely be eligible for assistance and possibly your child if born on base *if* you can prove that your husband’s exposure was then spread via impaired DNA to your child at birth. We have an article from last year about the potential for DNA damage from exposure that could be spread from generation to generation. This would be difficult to prove, however, and given the way things are going with the VA and the military on this issue, I would say it would be a very uphill climb. Regardless, you may also want to have a look at the Camp Lejeune Family Member Program and possible limitations. – GS
Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in Alabama. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.
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