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The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Scandal

Posted on 08/08/22 by admin in Injuries

North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune is one of the United States Marine Corps’ most famous facilities. Stretching over 246 square miles with a veritable cornucopia of state of the art facilities, Lejeune plays a vital role in US military infrastructure. Its 14 miles of beaches play host to a significant portion of the Corps’ amphibious assault training, and the base also hosts a total of six satellite facilities. However, many veterans and their families associate Camp Lejeune with injury, bereavement, and criminal negligence on the part of the US Government. The Camp Lejeune water contamination scandal is a slow motion disaster that’s affected hundreds of thousands over the decades.

Between 1953 and 1987 USMC service members and their families living on-base, drank, bathed in, and were otherwise exposed to tap water contaminated with harmful chemicals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed in 2014 that exposure to these chemicals significantly increased the risk of developing multiple varieties of cancer as well as ALS. If you or a loved one was stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 for more than 30 days, keep reading. You may soon be able to seek damages for your involvement in the Camp Lejeune water contamination scandal.

Camp Lejeune is located in North Carolina

Known Contaminants and Their Effects

The data concerning Camp Lejeune water contamination paints a bleak picture. It is estimated that the contaminated water in question contained harmful chemicals at a concentration 240 to 3400 times the level permitted by legal safety standards. It is believed that two of the eight water treatment plants on base were subject to contamination. These plants served the civilian housing on base in addition to the base proper. The majority of chemicals found are classified as volatile organic compounds of VOC’s. Chemicals found include:

  • Trichloroethylene (TCE) – An industrial cleaning solvent. Classified as a known human carcinogen by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Used to degrease equipment by the USMC and was later shown to have seeped into soil and groundwater.
  • Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) – A dry cleaning solvent. Similar to TCE. Shown to have seeped into soil and groundwater due to improper disposal practices by facilities on base.
  • Vinyl Chloride – Used in the crafting of PVC pipes along with cable coating and upholstery. Also a known carcinogen shown to increase risk for blood, lung, brain, and liver cancers
  • Benzene – Among the most common chemicals in the US. Can be found in everything from dyes and plastics to crude oil and cigarette smoke. Also a known carcinogen linked to blood cancers.

Camp Lejeune's water was shown to contain harmful chemicals

Illnesses Shown to Stem from Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Kidney Failure
  • Various Forms of Cancer
  • Miscarriages
  • Birth Defects
  • Irregular Menstrual Cycles
  • Change in Ovary Size

Anatomy of a Scandal

Congressional action has already been taken to address the Camp Lejeune water contamination scandal.

USMC officials were shown to have knowledge of the contamination as early as 1980. But no action was taken to close the plants for seven years. Further federal action would take much longer. Decades longer. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry launched multiple investigations and surveys to catalog the extent of misconduct and disease related to Camp Lejeune water contamination. These ATSDR investigations would stretch through most of the 1990s and into the 2000s. Marine Corps internal investigations would follow in the mid-2000s, and President George W. Bush directed the Department of the Navy to conduct a health survey of family exposed to contaminated water in 2008.

Cause for Optimism

Further legislation may soon be enacted

In 2012, President Barrack Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act (Janey Ensminger Act). This opened the door to afflicted persons receiving care from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Though this was on the condition that they were suffering from one of fifteen specific illnesses specified in the bill. As part of the Honoring Our PACT Act 2022 (PACT Act), approved on August 2, 2022, Camp Lejeune water contamination victims and their families may be able to sue the federal government for financial compensation for lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering. The PACT Act in 2022 has added 20 new presumptive conditions and expanded who can be eligible for compensation to toxic exposure.

However, it doesn’t clearly state that all Veterans who were involved in and affected by Camp Lejeune will be compensated. Though final answer of can you recieve if you’ve been affected from Camp Lejeune water contamination is still unclear, it’s good to know your rights and be prepared. That’s why we want to keep you updated on what you can do.

We at Malloy Law Offices, LLC are honored whenever the chance comes to serve America’s veterans and their families. The Camp Lejeune water contamination saga represents a grievous failure on the part of the US military to care for its personnel. Malloy Law Offices wants to make sure that the vast veteran and active duty military population of the DMV are fully appraised of their rights. Check back on our blog for more updates as they arrive, feel free to call us for a free consultation if you have any legal questions, and of course, thank you for your service.