There are no plans to shut down Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune. Yet, there is continuing controversy over contaminated water exposure. The base housing and many other facilities at Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River had contaminated water sources from 1957 until 1987.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), this led some people to develop various forms of cancer, among other health ailments. If you or a loved one developed a health complication while at Camp Lejeune, you have legal options.
Camp Lejeune Has a Very Troubled Past
Camp Lejeune has been in the news since the 1970s when officials discovered that two water supply systems were contaminated. The Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment plants served a variety of base facilities, including:
- Barracks for unmarried personnel
- Enlisted-family housing
- Base schools
- Administrative offices
- Recreational facilities
- The base’s hospital
- Industrial areas
The military shut down the wells in February of 1985, but the exposure began as early as the 1950s. VA research pinpoints the period of contamination as ongoing from 1953 through 1987.
Military personnel and civilians who worked on MCB Lejeune or MCAS New River between 1953 and 1987 might be eligible for medical compensation.
What Was in the Water at Camp Lejeune?
The two primary contaminants were perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). Additional contaminants, including benzene, vinyl chloride, and other compounds, were also present.
PCE was the primary component of the contamination of the Tarawa Terrace well. After investigation, officials learned that the contamination resulted from improper disposal of chemicals by an off-base dry cleaner (ABC One-Hour Cleaners).
The primary component in the Hadnot Point treatment plant was TCE. The contamination of the Hadnot Point well was more complex. The investigation pointed to multiple sources, including improper storage, on-base spills, and leaks from underground storage tanks and drums.
The Health Effects of Contaminated Water Exposure at Camp Lejeune
The health risks of Camp Lejeune water contamination, even 40 years after the original discovery, are still developing. The scope of exposure can impact the effect experienced by individuals. Some of the factors that may determine whether an exposed person develops health problems include their:
- Age and status at the time of exposure (pregnant, during infancy, etc.)
- Degree of exposure
- Duration of exposure
- Type of exposure (drinking, breathing, etc.)
- Personal habits and overall health
During the 30 years of contamination, not everyone exposed developed (or will develop) health problems. Some victims are just beginning to experience issues related to their long-ago exposure. If you were exposed and have questions about your health, it may benefit you to contact a law firm for answers to your questions.
Known Health Issues Resulting from Exposure to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
The chemicals that contaminated Camp’s Lejeune water sources are known carcinogens. So far, there are links to many diseases directly related to exposure, including:
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Renal toxicity
- Esophageal cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Female infertility
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Hepatic steatosis
There have been recent links to Parkinson’s disease resulting from exposure, as well.
What the Government Is Doing to Right the Wrong With Camp Lejeune
The Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 provided some relief to qualifying veterans. It applied to people who had lived on the base for 30 consecutive days from August 1953 to December 1987. The exact provisions for coverage of affected veterans are in CFR 38 § 3.309(f).
For health care not directly related to water contamination, care was provided with a co-pay. Care for related problems was free. Even though VA must treat affected veterans doesn’t mean that it happened without a fight.
Suppose you served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River during the contamination period. In that case, you might want to seek a consultation with a legal representative that is familiar with this issue. They can explain your legal options and help you move forward. With a claim or lawsuit, you could recover damages for a host of expenses, including pain and suffering.
Current Legislation Aims to Help Veterans and Their Families Who Suffered Exposure at Camp Lejeune
A bipartisan bill is currently being considered by the legislature. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 passed through the House of Representatives on March 4, 2022. The bill could provide fair compensation for veterans and their families harmed by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
The legislation took place after several individuals received denial or delay in claims processing, causing additional harm. As part of the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, the Act permits some victims to file claims in U.S. federal court. This legislation may affect you if you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune or were exposed in-utero during the contamination period from 1953 to 1987.
Our Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyers Can Help
Ben Crump Law, PLLC is familiar with water contamination problems and the long history at Camp Lejeune. Our Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers can handle your case from start to finish while you focus on getting better. We can investigate your case and gather evidence to link your conditions to your exposure. From there, we can help you file a claim or lawsuit to seek benefits that can help you get the care you need.
If you want to learn more about your legal options, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.