Justice for Those Exposed to Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune
If you or a loved one lived, served, or worked at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 for a minimum period of 30 days, and were later diagnosed with cancer, a neurologic disorder, or any other type of disease or health condition that you think may have been caused by contaminated water you may be entitled to significant damages without ever going to court.
Camp Lejeune Water Supply Linked to Toxic Chemicals
The public water supply at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina was contaminated with toxic chemicals between 1957 and 1987 and there is overwhelming scientific evidence that exposure to these chemicals has caused severe illness and death to thousands of military veterans and their families. Because of sovereign immunity and other issues, these parties have historically not been able to seek any redress for their injuries. However, a bipartisan bill called the “Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022” (Act) may significantly change that.
The Act would allow individuals or their legal representatives, who lived, worked, or were exposed (including exposure in utero) for at least 30 days from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987, to drinking water at Camp Lejeune to file lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for compensation for harm caused by exposure to contaminated water. The Act was recently passed by the US House of Representatives and is currently being debated in the US Senate. The Act could be passed by the US Senate in the near future. Just last month, Marco Rubio (R) of Florida posted an editorial piece on thehill.com about the Act titled: Taking care of veterans means getting justice for Camp Lejeune. This writing lays out the case for why the Senate should vote to pass the Act. If passed, President Biden has already agreed to sign it into law.
How Did this Happen?
Camp Lejeune was opened in 1942 and covers nearly 250 square miles in Onslow County, North Carolina. It has been a temporary or permanent home for thousands of military service members, civilian employees, contractors, and their families. The base had its own public water system consisting of underground water tanks to supply potable water. In the early 1980s, these water tanks were found to be contaminated with extremely high levels of the volatile organic compounds trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE).
TCE is an odorless, colorless liquid chemical that is used for a variety of industrial purposes. TCE was commonly used by the U.S. military for decades as a solvent and degreaser for the cleaning of large metal weapons and equipment. Although federal law describes maximum safe levels of TCE in drinking water as 5 parts per billion (ppb), the Camp Lejeune water supply systems was found to contain TCE levels as high as 1,400 ppb.
PCE is a clear liquid with a mild odor that is primarily used as a fabric solvent in the commercial dry-cleaning industry. Camp Lejeune’s PCE water supply contamination was traced to a nearby dry-cleaning business. The EPA Disease Registry has set the maximum safe level for PCE in water at 5 ppb. The water from the treatment plant going to Camp Lejeune was found to contain PCE levels as high as 215 ppb, 43 times the maximum safe limit.
It's been determined that the Camp Lejeune water contamination existed from November 1957 to February 1985.
Health Problems Related to the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Several studies have linked exposure to TCE and PCE in the Camp Lejeune drinking water to severe, potentially deadly health effects including:
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Lung cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Liver disease
- Birth defects
The Central for Disease Control estimated that almost 900,000 veterans, family members and civilian contractors were potentially exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. If the Senate passes the bill and it’s signed into law, lawsuits for injuries related to the water contamination could be filed in U.S. District Court in North Carolina. There will then likely be an effort to consolidate those cases in a new MDL Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
We’re Here to Help.
If you or a loved one lived, served, or worked at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 for a minimum period of 30 days, and were later diagnosed with cancer, a neurologic disorder, or any other type of disease or health condition that you think may have been caused by contaminated water you may be entitled to significant damages without ever going to court. We're here to help. Click HERE for a free and no-obligation review of your case. If you don’t receive a recovery through a lawsuit or settlement, you don’t owe us anything.