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Camp Lejeune Water
Decades of water contamination in North Carolina’s U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune exposed numerous service members, families, and civilian workers to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals. Countless cases of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, reproductive problems, and other serious illnesses have resulted from the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
Victimized families deserve justice. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) provides an opportunity for those affected to seek the compensation they deserve for this injustice. Attorneys representing veterans and their families offer comprehensive information on Camp Lejeune water contamination and assist in filing claims.
Between 1953 and 1987, hundreds of thousands of individuals were at risk of cancer and other severe illnesses due to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. The main base, barracks, family housing, temporary housing areas, as well as facilities like daycares, hospitals, and schools received water from two distribution systems. The water treatment plants at Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace were both contaminated. U.S. Marine Corps members, their families, civilian workers, and other personnel on the base were exposed to the polluted water.
The contaminated water contained harmful chemicals such as industrial solvents, benzene, and cancer-causing substances, exceeding allowable limits by 240 to 3400 times. These chemicals included PCE and TCE, which are commonly used in dry-cleaning and industrial degreasing. More than seventy harmful chemicals were detected in the contaminated water.
The sources of these contaminants in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water can be traced back to three potential causes.
- The first was an off-base dry-cleaning facility that irresponsibly dumped chemicals leading to groundwater contamination.
- The second was on-base units responsible for cleaning military equipment.
- The third was verified fuel leaks from underground storage tanks, causing harmful chemicals to leach through the soil and contaminate well water.
Benzene, PCE, TCE, and other toxic substances found in the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune are known to cause cancer and various health issues. The risk of cancer-related deaths for Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune are 10% higher compared to those stationed at Camp Pendleton during the same period.
Kidney cancer, liver cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, and leukemia showed elevated risks among Marines due to water contamination.
Apart from cancer, the Camp Lejeune water contamination also resulted in ALS, myelodysplastic syndromes, renal toxicity, hepatic steatosis, female infertility, miscarriage, scleroderma, and neurobehavioral effects.
Up to 750,000 individuals are eligible for free medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs for fifteen different illnesses and syndromes linked to Camp Lejeune water toxicants.
Even if individuals are already receiving medical benefits or other compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs for Camp Lejeune water-related issues, they are still eligible to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
The contamination of drinking water at Camp Lejeune persisted for four decades, from 1953 to 1987, due to flawed testing, reporting, and investigations. The use of hazardous wells continued for several years longer than necessary, resulting in a greater number of cancer cases and illnesses. Despite several attempts between 1982 and 1985 to inform base officials about the contaminated water, appropriate actions were not taken.
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