Camp Lejeune is an active Marine Corps base and warfighting platform located in Onslow County in North Carolina. The Marine base was constructed in 1941 and completed in 1942 under the name “Marine Barracks Camp Lejeune.” Between 1953 and 1987, multiple water treatment facilities that served family housing units and other communal facilities became polluted with toxic chemicals and other substances. Due to this, many Marines and their family members suffered serious and life-threatening diseases such as cancer.
If you or a loved one served at Camp Lejeune and have been impacted by the base’s water contamination problems, you deserve compensation and justice. Emerging legislation known as the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 may make it possible for victims of water contamination to file lawsuits against the government and secure damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses.
The injury attorneys at Stone Rose Law are committed to fighting tirelessly for the rights of wounded veterans and their loved ones. We represent veterans across the country in VA disability appeals, injury cases, and military record corrections. Call our law firm today at (480) 498-8998 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.
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Between 1952 and 1987, more than one million Marines of the United States Marine Corps and their family members resided at the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. These military residents were exposed to contaminated water from a dry-cleaning company near the base camp, leaking storage tanks, unsafe industrial activities, and improper waste disposal. The facilities at the base for showering and drinking water were contaminated with the toxic chemicals.
Specifically, two water treatment plants near the base camp were contaminated: Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace. At these plants, environmental toxins were detected and exceeded safety limits for exposure to these toxins by more than 3,000 times. The industrial activities of the community and leaks from storage tanks were attributed as the cause of the water supply contamination.
The water supply at Camp Lejeune was laced with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC) and benzene. These colorless substances, in general, become lethal to humans at high toxic doses with long times of exposure.
TCE is a cleansing solvent commonly used to clean metal equipment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) classifies TCE as a carcinogen for humans. Carcinogens are cancer-causing substances. Prolonged exposure to TCE is linked to kidney cancer, liver cancer, and lymphoma.
PCE, also known as tetrachloroethylene, is a well-known dry-cleaning agent but it is also used in the aerospace industry to degrease metals. It has been labeled as a probable carcinogen to humans by the IARC and likely to be carcinogenic to humans by EPA. Toxicological studies in humans indicate that people have a higher risk of developing cancers like myeloma, bladder cancer, or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when exposed to PCE.
Benzene is a known carcinogenic organic solvent prevalent in urban and industrial environments. Benzenes are found in tobacco smoke, vapors from paints and glues, and in the air surrounding gas stations. Chronic exposure to benzene can cause adverse effects in the bone marrow that can result in blood related diseases such as leukemia or anemia.
Vinyl chloride is an identified carcinogenic compound commonly used as a starting material for plastics like for PVC. Vinyl chloride the degradation of substances like TCE, PCE, and trichloroethane. Exposure to vinyl chloride can affect the heart, blood vessels, liver, and immune system.
The contamination of the Camp Lejeune water supply was believed to have taken place between 1952 to 1987. Due to the chronic nature of exposure needed to reach toxic levels, Congress choose to specifically protect individuals who were exposed to contaminated water for at least 30 days. Congress therefore chose to cast a broad net as almost anyone who lived in Camp Lejeune for at least a month in a time period spanning three decades can bring litigation. Victims who can prove their long-term health effects were caused by the contamination may seek recovery for their injuries.
A variety of diseases are attributed to the Camp Lejeune contamination period. Since the chemicals are carcinogenic, many of these diseases are various forms of cancer. Common diseases attributed to the contamination include:
In addition, findings released by the Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) in 2013 show that mothers who have ingested the toxic water at the camp had children that were four times more prone to congenital abnormalities and are likely to develop cancer during childhood.
Congress is currently working through legislation to provide compensation for the affected military personnel and their family for the illnesses they suffered because of exposure to the contaminated water. Among these legislations is H.R. 2192, also known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 provides victims with an ability to recover compensatory damages from their injuries. The individual must have resided at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and have lived at the site for at least 30 days within the given period. Additionally, the individual must be diagnosed with an illness attributed to exposure to contaminated water.
With the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, victims can fight for compensation for the medical expenses incurred in the past and in the future, therapies and treatments, physical pain, permanent disabilities, as well as lost wages in the period of treatment and recovery, and lost benefit claims and future earnings.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is based on the premise that our military personnel are entitled to protection and the basic necessities of standard living conditions when sacrificing for our country. The act is designed to provide our veterans with an avenue to ease the financial stress for potential damages that may have been caused during their service.
Residents of Camp Lejeune who were exposed to the contaminated water may be entitled to monetary compensation. The claims, however, vary from case to case, and it can become difficult to navigate without legal aid. At Stone Rose Law, our Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers have the experience and abilities to help the affected parties determine their eligibility for the compensation, understand their legal options, and navigate the legal system to get the compensation they deserve.
You have fought bravely for our country. Now let us fight for you. Contact Stone Rose Law today for your free consultation at (480) 498-8998.