Millions of Military Members and Families Exposed to Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune
Camp Lejeune was home to thousands of families and civilians when the Marine Corps discovered specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the Base’s drinking water in 1982. Prior to this discovery, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) predicts one million servicemen, their families, and civilians were exposed to toxic water. Scientific and medical evidence has shown an association between exposure to these contaminants during and development of certain diseases and birth defects.
The pollution of the drinking water began in the early 1950’s and contaminated 3 water-distribution plants at Camp Lejeune. These plants supplied most family houses at the Base with “finished water” until approximately February 1985.
After decades of research, the US government now acknowledges that these harmful chemicals may have caused military members and their families to develop serious medical conditions. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows these victims to potentially recover damages due to exposure. As of June 16, 2022, the bill is currently awaiting the president’s signature.
Rikard & Protopapas is now investigating and reviewing potential Camp Lejeune claims from veterans and families. If you or someone you know suffered severe illnesses after being on the Base from 1950 to 1985, please contact us today. We will help guide you through this process and work to secure the compensation you deserve.
Known Health Effects From Exposure
The ATSDR has conducted numerous studies on the health risks from the chemicals at Camp Lejeune since the 1980’s. Exposure to these chemicals is associated with several cancers and chronic conditions.
Individuals who spent at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune have been diagnosed with the following illnesses:
- Kidney cancer
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Bladder cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
Other Serious Illnesses
- Cardiac defects
- End-stage renal disease
- Parkinson disease
- Birth defects
- Female Infertility
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Major malformations
- Impaired immune system functions
Please note this is not an exhaustive list of the health effects from exposure to the chemicals. The ATSDR is still studying the relationships between the chemicals and their health effects. Additionally, the effects of exposure to any chemical depends on several factors. For more information on the evidence and studies, visit the ATSDR website here.
Chemicals In Camp Lejeune Water
According to the ATSDR, the contaminated water’s toxicity level was 400 times what safety regulations allowed. The chemicals are colorless and went undetected for over 30 years. Meanwhile, military members and civilian staff along with their families living on base drank and bathed in the toxic water.
Sampling from the Camp Lejeune water supply show that trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC) and benzene polluted drinking water at the Base. Some of the uses for these chemicals include cleaning metal parts, dry cleaning, metal degreasing, and to create other chemicals found in plastics, resins, nylon fibers, and synthetic fibers.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), EPA, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies TCE, PCE, VC, and benzene as carcinogenic to humans.
Studies show that these chemicals cause numerous birth defects as well. Exposure during fetal development has caused decreased body weight, heart defects, delayed bone formation, and bone marrow damage. Miscarriages and female infertility have also been linked to exposure to these chemicals.
The ATSDR notes that many factors including the amount, length, and method of exposure effect the types and severity of illnesses people are diagnosed with.
Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
A new law will give veterans and families an opportunity to file a claim against Camp Lejeune for suffering resulting from living and working on the Base. To be eligible for compensation, you must have been present on the Marine Base for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987.
As of June 16, 2022, the bill has passed the House of Representatives and Senate, so it now awaits a signature from President Biden. Once it is signed, victims can begin filing claims.
Even if you are not sure if you meet the criteria, we recommend contacting our attorneys. If you wait, you may miss out on the compensation you deserve.
Contact Rikard & Protopapas
Rikard & Protopapas is now investigating and reviewing potential claims against Camp Lejeune. It will not cost you anything to speak to one of our talented professionals to see if we can help, so please contact us now to begin an investigation into your claim.
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