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Civilian Exposure Contamination - Neurobehavioral Effects of TCE at Camp Lejeune

Neurobehavioral Effects

by Civilian Exposure

The following is information gathered from a handful of studies on neurobehavioral effects, one of the 15 health conditions for Camp Lejeune victims.

In definition of “neurobehavioral effects”, conditions are of or relating to the relationship between the action of the nervous system and behavior. These may include: poor memory, dementia, depression, poor concentration, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, fatigue, motor problems, and many others. Exposure to TCE and other VOCs has been shown to be linked.

First, a study from East Tennessee State reveals:

Studies at University of Pittsburg showed the effects of solvents on occupationally exposed subjects. These findings included social alienation, poor concentration, anxiety, and impairments in learning and memory. Hyperactivity and behavioral problems among school children has coincided with steadily increasing levels of VOCs found in modern buildings. Standard neurotoxicology texts point out that, behavioral problems may be the earliest sign of chemical toxicity. Case reports and clinical studies of persons with a history of organic solvent exposure have described the presence of post traumatic stress disorder, schizophreniform psychosis, and panic disorder. Epidemiological studies suggested higher frequencies of neurological and psychiatric symptoms for solvent exposed workers compared to non exposed workers. TCE is neurotoxic to humans at high concentrations and the effects can be persistent. Chronic and low-dose exposure to TCE can reportedly result in neurobehavioral impairment (U.S. Public Health Services, 1997).

Second, another NCBI study concludes that long-term exposure to low concentrations of TCE is associated with neurobehavioral deficits. 5

Finally, in a prior 2009 report, the NRC only defined the term “neurobehavioral effects” to include such neurobehavioral symptoms as fatigue, lack of coordination, sensory disturbances, confusion, depression, tension, trouble concentrating, and headache; alterations in neurobehavioral tests that indicate deficits in attention, reaction time, visuomotor coordination, motor function, digit symbol, and contrast sensitivity; and certain neuropsychological disorders such as learning or behavioral disorders.

It did not, at the time, include neurologic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. That changed in 2015, in the Review of VA Clinical Guidance for the Health Conditions Identified by Camp Lejeune Legislation. The review committee now agrees that neurobehavioral effects, including Parkinson’s, should be included and covered by the VA.

The committee concludes that Parkinson’s disease is a neurobehavioral effectthat may have resulted from the consumption of the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. This conclusion is based on the positive trends of increased risks from occupational and drinking water exposures reported by Goldman et al. (2012), NRC (2009), and Bove et al. (2014b). Despite the limitations of these studies, such as lack of statistical significance, the potential for recall bias, and the lack of incidence data pertaining to Parkinson’s disease, the committee recommends including Parkinson’s disease as an outcome associated with exposure to TCE and PCE. Because of the slow onset of Parkinson’s disease, patients developing it years after their exposure, regardless of their age at exposure, may have not had symptoms at the time of exposure. Patients who have Parkinson’s disease now or who develop it in the future and are otherwise eligible for the Camp Lejeune program should be covered by the guidance for neurobehavioral effects even if the symptoms were not apparent during their time at Camp Lejeune. The committee recommends that VA consider adding Parkinson’s disease in the clinical guidance and in algorithm B as a neurobehavioral effect that may result from exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

We’ve included the links to the studies below. Do you have a neurobehavioral issue from drinking contaminated water at Lejeune? Some of you have already asked us about Parkinson’s Disease and why it was not already considered as part of the 15 health conditions (or for that matter, why it has not already been made presumptive).  We want to hear your story. Share in the comments below or click here to submit privately.


Relevant Links:

  1. NY Love Canal Report
  2. Exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds and Effect on Neurobehavioral Function
  3. Neurobehavioral science in hazard identification and risk assessment of neurotoxic agents—what are the requirements for further development?
  4. Review of VA Clinical Guidance for the Health Conditions Identified by the Camp Lejeune Legislation (2015) – Chapter: 3 Characterization of Neurobehavioral Effects, starting pg. 35
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information – Neurobehavioral effects of exposure to trichloroethylene through a municipal water supply

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Mark Summa September 22, 2016 - 6:23 pm

I served as a civilian employee at Camp Lejeune from 1985-1987. I have been suffering the effects of Parkinson’s disease for over 7 years. I am interested in any compensation for my illness as as result of the contaminated water I consumed. Please keep me informed.

isabel papp September 27, 2016 - 3:15 am

I served at Camp Lejeune in 1970, and currently under treatment for Neurobehavioral Problems.
I submitted SC for exposure and was denied because they claim I never went to Sick Call. As a 19 year old Female Woman Marine, I was threatened that you better be dying rather than go to sick call for a damn headache. It was depressing enough to be labeled WAM-BAM thank you MAM!!
Who will help me? It won’t be the DAV. It won’t be the VAHC.
Who will help my son, who was poisoned by the water while I was pregnant, who suffered Brain tumor, Neurobehavioral Problems since the age of 6? He deserves Health Care at the least.

Civilian Exposure
Civilian Exposure November 29, 2016 - 10:53 pm

Dear IP: You story, like so many others we receive, is both heartbreaking and maddeningly frustrating. To serve and survive, only to be poisoned and denied? I’m afraid that remains the current state of affairs. I’m sure there will be heightened activity in the coming year and with a new Congress taking session soon, perhaps new movement will be made to wholly remedy this issue. It is long overdue. – GS

Bill lawson January 8, 2017 - 4:36 pm

I lived on base from ’67-’71 in TT1, and stayed in daycare 5 days a week on base. I have been approved for help with my conditions, but have yet to find a doctor that will listen to anything I have to say about the water on base. Therefore, everytime I see a doctor it comes out of my pocket. I don’t think we will ever get anything (money or healthcare) from our government. I was a dependent, born on Camp Lejeune. Our government is a joke!

Chris Thomas April 1, 2017 - 10:59 pm

While serving in the Marine Corp in 1979-1982 . I was station at Camp Lejeune, waiting a discharge,it was a Bad Conduct Discharge. In the process I was exposed to the contaminated water. I know that receiving a discharge of this status, there is no Veteran Administration Benefits. My question is this, does my discharge status completely dismiss the exposure and the responsibility the USMC should have in taking care of the Marine that experience the exposure due to their lack of honesty?

keith h thomas August 12, 2017 - 5:55 pm

Exsposed and after being meritoursly promoted three times in 6 month.I went to lejune,soon after had mood swings and rage,dizzy spells seizures.Its all bullsit.The govt poisons it soldfiers

I Have Suffered Dearly From the Day that I Was Born – Civilian Exposure September 19, 2017 - 9:33 am

[…] Neurobehavioral Effects […]

James Carder Sr November 2, 2017 - 5:28 pm

Anything on Viegues, Puerto Rico for Agent Orange, USS John F. Kennedy CVA 67 Marine Detachment Little Creek, Va.
We did a 3 month training exercise at Camp Garcia in early 70’s and a force march thru town and up a mountain where I ended up with having a heat stroke at the top, if anyone that reads this and is still alive that remembers this. This exercise wasn’t documented in our records.

James Fennessy November 6, 2017 - 11:34 am

Question about Viegues, was there sometime between 1962 to 1965, also, heard reports about agent orange from there and especially Camp Lejuene in the water and soil from 62 to 66, any truth to that?

Rhonda Q Outlaw January 13, 2019 - 11:06 pm

Are there any dependant children conceived after parents left camp lejeune that have medical problems?

Neuropathy Issues From Lejeune Exposure | Civilian Exposure October 9, 2019 - 1:59 pm

[…] Neurobehavioral Effects […]


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