< Back to Camp Lejeune Overview page

Camp Lejeune Cancer

Toxicants in Camp Lejeune Water: Cancer and Illnesses

Camp Lejeune’s water supply was contaminated by dangerous toxicants for four decades, from the 1950s to the 1980s. This exposure to harmful substances put hundreds of thousands of individuals at risk of developing cancer and other severe illnesses.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act provides an avenue for Veterans and their families to seek compensation and present evidence of Camp Lejeune cancer in a court of law. Attorneys are available to assist you with claims and provide comprehensive information on water contamination-related issues.

Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune

Between 1953 and 1987, the Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace water systems supplied the main base, barracks, family housing, temporary housing, and facilities like daycares, schools, and hospitals.  These wells were contaminated with over seventy harmful chemicals, including known carcinogens. Volatile organic compounds such as PCE (perchloroethylene) from a nearby dry-cleaning facility, TCE (trichloroethylene) from on-base equipment cleaning and benzene from fuel storage tank leaks, were found in alarmingly high levels, exceeding safe exposure limits by 240 to 3400 times.

Types of Camp Lejeune Cancer

The presence of these carcinogens in Camp Lejeune’s water supply has been linked to various types of cancer, including leukemia, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Veterans, their families and others working or stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 face markedly elevated risks of cancer-related deaths.  They also had significantly increased risks of specific cancers, such as 35% higher risk for kidney cancer, 42% higher risk for liver cancer, 47% higher risk for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and 68% higher risk for multiple myeloma.

Justice for Camp Lejeune Cancer Victims

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) aims to grant victims of Camp Lejeune cancer and other illnesses the opportunity to bring their cases to court. Individuals who resided or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and subsequently developed cancer or other serious illnesses may be eligible.

The CLJA was signed into law on August 10, 2022 after receiving bipartisan support from a group of senators, including Senators Thomas Tillis, Richard Burr, Richard Blumenthal, and Gary Peters. Its allows Veterans and others affected by Camp Lejeune cancer, along with their family members, to present evidence of harm caused by the historical water contamination.

Even if individuals are already receiving medical benefits or compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Camp Lejeune water-related issues, they remain eligible to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.

Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water persisted due to flawed testing, reporting, and investigation, resulting in the prolonged use of hazardous wells. Numerous attempts to alert base officials about the contamination were made between 1982 and 1985, but the use of contaminated wells continued until 1987.  This has lead to a higher number of Camp Lejeune cancer cases.

For additional information: