Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Exposure Lawsuit
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Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Exposure Lawsuit
Camp Lejeune Background
According to Camp Lejeune’s website, the Navy purchased an initial 110,000-acre tract of land in North Carolina in 1940. In 1941, Congress authorized 14 million dollars for the construction of the base. In 1942, the base was named Marine Barracks Camp Lejeune in honor of the 13th Commandant and Commanding General of the 2nd Army Division of World War I, Major John A. Lejeune. Camp Lejeune’s value to the Corps in WWII was evident through the contributions of Marines trained or based here. In 1944, it was renamed Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
The base and the surrounding community are home to an active duty, dependent, retiree, and civilian employee population of nearly 150,000 people. The base generated almost $3 billion in commerce each year.
It has been reported that at least 900,000 military personnel and their family members were stationed at the United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987.
Injuries associated with exposure to TCE and PCE include:
Aplastic Anemia or Other Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis)
Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty Liver Disease)
Cardiac (Heart Related) Birth Defect
Complications, Injuries and Concerns
According to NationalAcademies.org, in the early 1980s, two water-supply systems on the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were found to contaminated with the industrial solvents trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE).
Between 1953 and 1987, the people living on base, military service members and civilians ingested contaminated drinking water and bathed in water that had been contaminated with chemicals from the base water treatment facilities and a dry-cleaning company in the area. Personnel were exposed to over 3,000 times the safe exposure limits of toxic chemicals.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) considers trichloroethylene to be a known human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified trichloroethylene as carcinogenic to humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified PCE as a likely human carcinogen. Exposure to PCE can harm the nervous system and negatively impact memory, color vision, and the ability to process information. The U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) lists PCE as “reasonable anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” This means that based on scientific proof, PCE likely causes cancer in humans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides health care and compensation to veterans who served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days from August 1953 – December 1987 and have had one of several specific cancers and diseases. Family members who lived on base for at least 30 days during that period and have had one of 15 specific conditions can also receive health-related reimbursements, but not compensation, per the VA.
About the Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Lawsuit
According to The Hill, a bill that could allow military families to seek justice for decades of water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina passed with bipartisan support as part of a broad piece of toxics legislation in the House.
If the legislation goes on to receive Senate approval and becomes law, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 would enable individuals who suffered from on-base water contamination to pursue lawsuits for their illnesses. The bill advanced within the Honoring our PACT Act of 2021 (H.R. 3967) – an expansive act to improve benefits for veterans exposed to toxins – in a 256-174 vote, with 222 Democrats and 34 Republicans in favor.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act would allow those exposed – even in utero – to water contamination at the base for at least 30 days between Aug.1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, to file a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Easter District of North Carolina. To do so, the bill would essentially override a North Carolina legal hurdle that has otherwise made such suits impossible.
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