The U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a military base on the east coast located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Currently, it’s part of a combined installation with the New River Marine Corps Air Station. The base camp is home to marine expeditionary forces and other units.
Between the early 1950s and late 1980s, water contamination at this base camp may have exposed thousands of people to serious health risks for decades. Service members and their families who lived on the base were unknowingly drinking contaminated water, and using it to bathe, cook, and wash their clothes.
Veterans who were present at Camp Lejeune during this period who later developed specific diseases may be entitled to disability compensation. The legal team at Rueb, Stoller, Daniel is actively helping clients file Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits to seek justice.
With a new pending federal law, victims will soon be able to file a claim and receive a settlement payout for the harm and damages they have suffered if they lived in Camp Lejeune between January 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
To learn more about how our class action lawyers can help you, call us at (833) 44-DRLAW or complete the form on this page to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.
What Are the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claims?
Since its founding in 1942, Camp Lejeune has been a permanent or temporary home for thousands of military service members and their families. It’s been a place of work or home for thousands more civilian contractors and employees.
In the 1980s, environmental testing at Camp Lejeune unveiled that the water supply going to these soldiers and civilians was dangerously contaminated. The water was contaminated with chemicals from a dry-cleaning company and the base water treatment facilities in the area. The Hadnot Point and Tarawa terrace water treatment plants are among those in question. The contamination exposed residents to over 3,000 times the ATSDR recommended safe limit for such toxic chemicals.
The Veterans Administration may have denied claims for disability or illness, but a new law referred to as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, may allow you to file a claim and receive compensation if you lived at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and developed cancer or other health conditions years later.
What Are the Causes for the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), multiple contamination sources were identified. They included waste disposal sites and underground storage tanks. The toxic compounds found at Camp Lejeune are referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and they make up products such as degreasers and dry-cleaning solvents.
A nearby dry-cleaning company was using such solvents, which ended up contaminating the groundwater. The surrounding areas also had waste disposal sites and industrial spills that contributed to the contamination. The ATSDR says that water wells supplying the base surpassed its set limits. The contamination was first discovered in 1982, though it took over three years for the wells to be shut down.
Later studies showed there are more than 70 other chemicals that caused health risks. The most hazardous and prevalent of these were as follows:
Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Perchloroethylene (PCE)
TCE is an industrial chemical used in the manufacture of hydrofluorocarbons. It was commonly used as a degreaser and solvent on metal military equipment. The Hadnot Point facility was found to be highly contaminated with TCE.
Both TCE and PCE have been shown in several studies to raise the risk of developing several cancers, including liver and kidney cancers, along with some support for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s disease. Exposure to TCE is also potentially associated with cervical cancer. Certain data suggests associations between exposure to TCE with multiple myeloma and colon, prostate, and laryngeal cancers.
Dry cleaning and laundry work, which often involve using PCE and TCE, is also believed to be associated with pancreatic, kidney, esophageal, cervical, and lung cancers. There’s also growing support that they are associated with prostate, bladder, and colon cancers.
Benzene is a known carcinogen that usually promotes both acute myeloid leukemia (AML), multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
This is a chemical produced by burning plastics like PVC pipes. It’s highly carcinogenic and can cause several forms of cancer, including angiosarcoma, colon cancer, and testicular cancer. Exposure to vinyl chloride has been shown to result in up to 5 times higher rates of liver cancer, lung cancer, and angiosarcoma.
Studies involving workers exposed to toluene demonstrated an increase in the occurrence of cancers of the breasts, lungs, stomach, esophagus, colon, and particularly the rectum. Additionally, the substance is known to increase the risk of lympholeukaemia, lymphosarcoma, as well as non-Hodgkins and Hodgkin’s lymphoma in workers exposed to it.
While the toxins listed above occurred in the highest quantities in the water at Camp Lejeune, many other highly carcinogenic toxins were found. Some of these include mercury and other heavy metals, assorted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, and others.
If no research exists connecting your cancer to the toxins listed above, there might still be a way to support a connection. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation with a class action lawyer and find out if you might have a case.
What Are the Side-Effects of the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?
The hazardous chemicals outlined above have been linked to several debilitating health conditions. These include:
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Lung cancer
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Hepatic steatosis
If you lived at Camp Lejeune and you or a loved one (family members only) has developed the above conditions, you may be entitled to compensation by the VA, if you had past out-of-pocket costs as a result of medical care not covered by programs like deductibles or copays).
Qualifying family members include those where the sponsor (a qualifying veteran) was on active duty and served at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1 1953 and December 31, 1987, lived on the base for 30 days or more within the same dates, or was a dependent or spouse of the veteran during the same period. This includes the infants born of women that were pregnant on the base during the same period.
What Is the Janey Ensminger Act and How Can it Help the Suffering Caused By the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
Following the disturbing discovery of the contamination of the Camp Lejeune water supply system from multiple sources, the U.S. Government and Marine officials understood prompt action needed to be taken. After several attempts by the members of the House veterans’ Affairs Committees and the Senate requesting healthcare be provided to the victims, Jerry Ensminger joined the fight.
Jerry Ensminger essentially initialized a petition to be sent to the U.S. Government requesting that healthcare be provided to the veterans that had been exposed to the toxins. Jerry Ensminger was particularly connected to the terrible consequences of the contamination as his daughter, Janey, had developed cancer after spending some time in Camp Lejeune. Cancer took Janey’s life in 1985 while she was only 9 years old.
Jerry Ensminger’s petition didn’t go unnoticed by the government. In fact, on 18th July 2012, the U.S. Senate passed the Janey Ensminger Act, which honors both Jerry and his daughter Janey. The bill officially authorized the provision of medical services to both the veterans and their family members who had lived on Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987.
People who developed any form of disease or condition after staying at the Marine Base are entitled to healthcare. The bill is said to apply to more than 750,000 people. The House approved the Act on 31st July 2012, and it was signed by President Obama on 6th August 2012.
The Act applies to specific diseases and ailments that are said to be linked to the contaminants present in the water at the camp. The medical care is provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
If you or a family member falls under the specific requirements and restrictions outlined by the Janey Ensminger Act, you should consider contacting a Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney at Rueb Stoller Daniel Law.
What Is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by 4 Republicans and 5 Democrats meant to ensure the people who suffered any illnesses or conditions after spending time at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period get compensated. The bill has grown to become the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, which essentially allows veterans and their families to seek justice for the different injuries and damages resulting from exposure to toxic conditions.
The new law would ideally override the previous barriers to compensation for many veterans and their families who had been barred from pursuing compensation. It should also override the existing statute of limitations in North Carolina for such cases, and provide a new deadline for filing a claim (two years) once the bill passes into law.
Who Can File for the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
The Janey Ensminger Act essentially presumes a “presumptive service connection” for certain conditions and illnesses associated with the water contamination at Camp LeJeune. This means that you are not required to prove that your condition was caused by exposure to the toxins. You only need to show that you lived on the Camp Lejeune base during the contamination period for at least 30 days and developed a condition.
All the people who resided at the base from 1953 to 1987, including those who were in utero during the period (the mother resided at the base) are eligible for medical services, hospital care, and nursing home care through the VA, for any illness or condition caused by exposure to these contaminants.
If you’re unsure whether you qualify, the best way to know if you’re eligible is to contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Questions About the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit? Contact Our Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one is suffering from a health condition linked to the Camp Lejeune water contamination, a lawyer can help make sure you receive the medical care and disability benefits you’re entitled to.
The class-action lawyers at Rueb, Stoller, Daniel can provide the research and expert opinion on the link between your condition and the water contamination, and work to help you receive the benefits you’re eligible for. If you applied for VA disability benefits and were denied, our team can help you file an appeal.
Contact us at (833) 44-DRLAW to learn more about how we can help.