If you served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, you may have been exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other toxic substances. Resulting in what some scientists have called the worst public drinking-water contamination in the nation’s history. The heartbreaking stories of these service members and their families are now being unveiled by their debiliating diagnosises, including cancer of the kidneys, bladder, and liver as well as adult leukemia.
After decades of former Camp Lejeune residents fighting against North Carolina law for justice with no prevail, new legislation is expected to be passed to hold the military accountable. Soon, President Biden is anticipated to sign the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021, part of the broader Honoring our PACT Act. Introduced to the House in March 2021, the bill allows individuals who were stationed, lived, or worked at Camp Lejeune to sue and recover damages for their injuries outside of Veteran’s Administration (VA) benefits.
What is Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune military training facility opened in 1942 and housed more than a million men, women, and children over its years of operation. At one time, Camp Lejeune was a vital base to the Marines, acting as one of the Marine Corp’s busiest and largest bases. Stretched along the coastline of North Carolina, Camp Lejeune covered 156,000 acres of Jacksonville.
What happened at Camp Lejeune?
For over 34 years, toxic agents seeped into the soil at base junkyards, fuel depots and a local dry cleaner. Records show the Marines dumped oil and industrial wastewater in storm drains. Potentially radioactive materials were buried. And the camp even held a day care center in a former malaria control shop where pesticides were mixed and stored. But among all else, the most significant source of water contamination was a neighboring dry-cleaning business that for years dumped into drains wastewater tainted with chemicals used in dry cleaning. Chemicals from the dry-cleaning company located near the base were introduced into the water supply at 440 times the levels that are considered to be safe, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
After decades of known water pollution, it was not until 1982 that the government admitted that volatile organic compounds were found in the drinking water in both residential areas and training facilities. While exact dates cannot be determined, it is recognized that from 1953 to 1987 the water service members and their families drank, cooked, bathed, and swam in was contaminated with dangerously high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.
What chemicals were in the water at Camp Lejeune?
Testing revealed the drinking water contained toxic substances, including:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE): A colorless liquid chemical used as a solvent for degreasing metal parts during the manufacture of various products. Exposure can result in effects to the immune and reproductive systems, liver, kidney, central nervous system, and may affect fetal development during pregnancy.
- Perchloroethylene (PCE): A solvent with a sweet, ether-like odor commonly used in dry cleaning operations. When applied to a material or fabric, PCE helps dissolve greases, oils and waxes.
- Vinyl chloride: A colorless, flammable gas is typically used to make PVC pipes, wire coatings, vehicle upholstery, and plastic kitchen ware. Vinyl chloride is very toxic. Exposure can potentially cause damage to the nervous system, changes in the immune system and decrease in bone strength.
Am I eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
You may be able to file for compensation if you served or lived at Camp Lejeune from 1953 through 1987 and developed one or more of these qualifying conditions:
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Hepatic steatosis
- Lung cancer
- Female infertility
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
- Cardiac defects
- Parkinson’s disease
There have even been cases where spouses or children of service members stationed at Camp Lejeune became ill and died due to the toxic water exposure.
How Can Meyers & Flowers Help?
If you or a loved one have cancer or another illness from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, we are here to help. Meyers & Flowers has a long-standing reputation of obtaining justice in class action lawsuits. While filing a lawsuit may seem daunting, we are here to stand by your side and walk you through all aspects of your case to help get you back on your feet. Call us today to explore your legal options, (630) 232-6333.