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The United States government acknowledges that from 1953 to 1987, nearly one million veterans and civilians were potentially exposed to dangerous chemicals in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. In some areas, levels were approximately 400 times greater than what safety standards allowed.
The Stanley Law Group can help if you or a loved one was harmed by contaminated water at the North Carolina marine base. The health effects caused by the toxic chemicals in the water supply were significant. Many children and babies died under suspicious circumstances during that time period, while many others became seriously ill.
Service men and women, family members, workers, and even nearby residents may be eligible to file a claim for monetary compensation from the United States government. Recently, legislation was passed to allow victims exposed to the contaminated water between 1953 and 1987 to file claims. This new law extended the required deadline for filing claims in North Carolina.
Camp Lejeune was established in 1942 as a United States Military training facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina. It spans almost 250 square miles and has 14 miles of beaches between two deep water ports. It is used for marine training and amphibious assault training.
In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water provided by two of the eight water treatment plants on base. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease estimated that PCE (perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene) concentrations exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant level of 5 ppb in drinking water from the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant from November 1957 - February 1987.
During this period, military service members and their families were exposed to toxic drinking water and bathing water at the military base. In addition to service members and their families, potential exposure to the toxic water may extend to government contractors and visitors who were present at the base. The most contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985, but serious adverse health effects occurred for a thirty-year period. It is estimated that close to one million people were poisoned by the toxic water.
The following types of cancer may have been caused by people who consumed, drank and/or bathed in the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune:
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Adult leukemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Oral cancer
- Tongue cancer
- Tonsil cancer
There were several scientific studies to determine if the water at Camp Lejeune caused cancer in those exposed to toxic chemicals at the military base. The major studies concluded that contaminated water significantly increased the risk of cancer deaths and other chronic diseases.
In addition to cancer, the toxic water contaminants have been associated with several other serious medical conditions. Below are examples of other diagnoses for individuals present at Camp Lejeune:
- Lung cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Renal toxicity
- Hepatic steatosis
- Female infertility or miscarriage
Additionally, studies performed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have found that Parkinson’s Disease is a neurobehavioral effect that may be linked to the contaminated water at the marine base. Because Parkinson’s Disease is a slow onset disease that occurs over a period of years, that those recently diagnosed with the condition may be able to relate the diagnosis to the toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Additional studies are ongoing.
If you were exposed to contaminated toxic water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, you may benefit from speaking with a lawyer regarding your rights.