Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in Jacksonville, North Carolina, has been the center of a long-standing water contamination issue. From 1953 to 1987, toxic chemicals contaminated the drinking and bathing water at Camp Lejeune, leading to many health risks.

If you resided or worked at Camp Lejeune during this time frame and have health issues, this article will provide an in-depth look at the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue, the related health risks, and the legal recourse available for those affected.

History of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune began in the 1950s and continued until 1987. Toxic agents, such as trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride, seeped into the soil at fuel depots, base junkyards, and even a dry cleaner, poisoning the groundwater with hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The contaminated water was supplied to the base through two water supply systems at Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace. In some areas, the levels of these chemicals were found to be up to 400 times greater than safety standards set by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

In the 1970s, the EPA labeled Camp Lejeune as a “major polluter” because of the military’s practice of dumping oil and industrial wastewater in storm drains and burying potentially radioactive materials. The dangers of organic solvents to human health were well known by then, and regulations on the books at Camp Lejeune since 1974 showed that the military was aware of the risks associated with improper dumping and its potential to contaminate drinking water.

Despite this knowledge, the government failed to protect Marines and their families from chemical exposure. It was not until 1982 that the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune was made public, and the affected wells were subsequently closed. The camp was listed as an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site in 1989, and cleanup efforts continue to this day. The full extent of the contamination and its effects on human health were not fully understood until years after the cleanup started.

Health Effects of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

The health effects suffered by those exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune have been devastating. The toxic chemicals in the water have been linked to a variety of serious illnesses, including:

Cancer: The contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has been linked to several types of cancer, including leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and bladder cancer.

Birth Defects: Studies have shown that children born to parents who were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune have a higher risk of birth defects, including neural tube defects and childhood leukemia.

Autoimmune Diseases: Exposure to the toxic chemicals in the water has also been linked to autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis.

Neurological Disorders: Long-term exposure to the contaminated water has been linked to neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and cognitive impairment.

Legal Action for Those Affected by Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Those who have been affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.

On August 10, 2022, President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act into law. This legislation allows individuals who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987 and suffered injuries because of exposure to the contaminated water, to file a claim against the U.S. government. The Act removes the strict statute of repose for these cases, allowing them to be heard on their merits.

Claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act follow a two-part process. First, an individual must file an administrative claim with the Department of the Navy. Second, six months after an administrative claim has been filed, a lawsuit can be filed in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

To file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, victims will need to gather and provide the following documents:

  • Documents proving residence at Camp Lejeune
  • Military service records showing dates and locations served
  • Medical records and diagnoses
  • Medical bills
  • Travel records
  • Records on disability benefits or VA compensation benefits

Those affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune may be eligible for various forms of compensation, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent disability
  • Other compensatory damages

Getting Help Filing Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

The Camp Lejeune water contamination has had a devastating impact on the health of thousands of military personnel and their families. Those affected may seek compensation for their injuries and hold those responsible for the contamination accountable. If you or a loved one have suffered health problems because of the Camp Lejeune water contamination, it is important to speak to a personal injury law firm that has experience in handling cases related to toxic exposure. They can help you understand your legal options and provide the representation you need to get the compensation you deserve.

The attorneys at Brock and Stout have over 27 years of experience handling personal injury claims. With our expertise and dedication, we can help you seek justice for the harm you have suffered. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and let our family help your family.