The Health Risks of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
August 8, 2022
Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina was the site of one of the worst toxic events in U.S. history from 1953 to 1987. During this period, approximately one million people were exposed to toxic water at this base, with contaminants linked to several types of cancer and multiple other diseases.
The health risks of Camp Lejeune water contamination are serious, with countless Marines and their loved ones left with serious illnesses. At Zanes Law, we are now accepting clients who suffered damages due to the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
However, to date, despite many lawsuits, victims were unable to recover compensation for their damages due to North Carolina’s statute of repose law. Fortunately, it looks as though that will soon finally change. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022 is likely to pass through Congress soon and be signed into law by President Biden.
We can begin to build your case now so that we are ready to move forward once the CLJA passes. Our personal injury lawyers are prepared to help, starting with a free consultation.
Illnesses Linked to the Contaminants Found at Camp Lejeune
There are a wide variety of illnesses and health risks that have been linked to the toxins discovered in the Camp Lejeune water supply between 1953 and 1987. These contaminants can cause several different types of cancers, neurological disorders, and birth defects, along with a wide variety of other health concerns.
Some of the illnesses related to the Camp Lejeune contamination include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Renal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Brain damage
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Cardiac defects
- Fatty liver disease
- Hepatic steatosis
- Immune disorders
- Aplastic anemia (and other bone marrow conditions)
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Renal toxicity
- Birth defects (especially neural tube defects, such as spina bifida)
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Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
The Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base is located in Onslow County, North Carolina. It was built in 1941 and has served Marines, as well as being a training ground for other branches of the U.S. armed forces, for over 80 years. In the early 80s, the Marine Corps began tests of the water at the base in accordance with new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
These tests revealed that the water at the base was contaminated with several different toxins at levels exponentially higher than the maximum limits allowed by safety standards. Unfortunately, this information was suppressed, with officials claiming there were no contamination issues at the base, most notably in a falsified report to the EPA in April 1983.
In the mid-80s, the Marine Corps finally agreed to begin shutting down the contaminated water wells after an expansion of oversight from the EPA. Unfortunately, this shutdown did nothing to protect the hundreds of thousands of people already exposed to the toxic water between 1953 and 1987.
Toxins Discovered at Camp Lejeune
The Camp Lejeune water supply was contaminated by several different toxins during this 34-year period. Four of the most prominent chemicals discovered in the water that led to health risks were trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and benzene, with a different primary toxin at both of the contaminated water treatment facilities serving the base.
At the Hadnot Point treatment plant, the primary contaminant was trichloroethylene, which is a liquid chemical devoid of color or odor. Safety standards set the maximum allowable levels for TCE at five parts per billion (PPB). Meanwhile, TCE was present at the Hadnot Point plant at levels as high as 1,400 PPB or 280 times the maximum limit.
At the Tarawa Terrace water plant, the primary contaminant was perchloroethylene, which is a liquid chemical with no color and a mild odor. Like TCE, the maximum allowable level for PCE in drinking water is five PPB. However, the water found at Tarawa Terrace contained PCE at rates as high as 215 PPB, or 43 times the maximum limit.
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The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
The CLJA is poised to finally provide a path to compensation for those harmed by the water at Camp Lejeune. The CLJA was merged into the Honoring Our Pact Act (HOPA) and passed through both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and after some procedural administrative actions are taken, it will go to the desk of the President to be signed into law.
Once the new law clears these final hurdles, victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination will be able to move forward with their legal claims against the government and recover compensation.
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Who Can Seek Compensation in a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
Once President Biden signs the CLJA into law, anyone able to prove that they were exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and later developed an illness related to the toxins found in the water will be eligible to file a lawsuit.
If the CLJA passes without any major alterations, claimants will have two years from the date the law takes effect to file a lawsuit. Once lawsuits against the government begin to mount, they will likely be consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) or class action lawsuit. This consolidation will make litigation of these cases cheaper while simplifying the process.
Talk to a Lawyer About Filing a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Today
If you or your loved one was made ill as a result of the health risks of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, we can tell you more about your rights. You can reach out to our Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers today to begin building your case for compensation so that you will be ready to move forward with your case as soon as possible.
As soon as the CLJA passes, we will be able to file your lawsuit and get you started on the road to finally getting the money you deserve.
The Camp Lejeune water contamination was one of the largest toxic events in U.S. history, and denying victims of this Camp Lejeune the right to recover compensation was one of the grossest miscarriages of justice in our nation’s history. Fortunately, things are about to change.
Don’t miss out on your chance to recover compensation. Contact the team at Zanes Law to get started on your Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawsuit today. You can reach us by phone or through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.