The U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a military base on the east coast positioned in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Presently, it’s part of a combined installation with the new River Marine Corps Air Station. The camp is home to marine expeditionary forces and other service members.
Between the early 1950s and late 1980s, water pollution at this base camp exposed lots of people to health risks for many years. Military personnel and their families unknowingly drank contaminated water, and used it to bathe, cook, and wash their clothes.
Veterans who were present at Camp Lejeune during this period who later developed illnesses may be entitled to disability benefits. Our experienced mass tort lawyers at Rueb Stoller Daniel are here to help clients file a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination lawsuit in San Francisco.
With a brand new pending federal law, victims will soon be able to file a claim and receive a settlement payout for the damages they have suffered if they lived in Camp Lejeune between January 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
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 members and their families. It’s been a workplace or home for hundreds more civilian contractors and employees.
In the 1980s, environmental testing at Camp Lejeune unveiled that the water going to those soldiers and civilians was dangerously contaminated. The water was polluted with chemical substances from a dry cleaning company and the base water treatment centers in the area.
The Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace water treatment plants are amongst the ones in question. The contamination exposed residents to over 3,000 times the ATSDR-endorsed safe limit for such toxic chemical substances.
The Veterans Administration may have denied claims for disability, however, a brand new law known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, may permit you to file a claim and obtain compensation if you lived at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and developed cancer or other ailments years later.
What Are the Causes for the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), there were multiple sources of pollution. 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 close-by dry-cleansing company was using these solvents, which ended up contaminating the groundwater. The encircling regions also had waste disposal sites and industrial spills that contributed to the pollution.
The ATSDR says that water wells supplying the base surpassed its set limits. The problem was first discovered in 1982, although it took over three years for the wells to be shut down.
Later studies showed more than 70 other chemical compounds resulting in health risks. The riskiest and most prevalent of these toxics are the following.
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 pollutants listed above were found in the highest portions of the water at Camp Lejeune, many different highly carcinogenic chemicals have been discovered. A number of those include mercury and other heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides, and others.
If no studies exist connecting your cancer to the toxins above, there could still be ways to support a connection. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation with a class action lawyer and find out if you could file a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination lawsuit in San Francisco.
What Are the Side-Effects of the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?
The risky chemical substances mentioned above were linked to numerous debilitating conditions. Those 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 also you or a family member has been diagnosed with one of 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 babies of women who were pregnant on the base during the same period.
What Is the Janey Ensminger Act and How Can It Help Victims?
Following the alarming discovery of the pollution of the Camp Lejeune water system from multiple sources, the U.S. government and Marine officials understood that quick action was necessary. After attempts by the members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committees and the Senate requesting healthcare be provided to the victims, Jerry Ensminger came onto the scene.
Jerry Ensminger began a petition to be sent to the U.S. authorities asking that healthcare be provided to the veterans that were exposed to the contamination. Jerry Ensminger had experienced the horrible effects of the contamination as his daughter, Janey, had developed cancer after spending some time at Camp Lejeune. Janey passed away from cancer in 1985 when she was only 9 years old.
Jerry Ensminger’s petition didn’t go ignored by the authorities. On 18th July 18, 2012, the U.S. Senate passed the Janey Ensminger Act, which honors 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.
Individuals who developed any sickness or condition after staying at Camp Lejeune are entitled to healthcare. The bill is stated to apply to more than 750,000 people. The House approved the Act on July 31, 2012, and President Obama signed it on August 6, 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.
What’s 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 allows veterans and their families to seek justice for the different injuries and damages resulting from exposure to toxic conditions.
The new regulation would ideally remove the previous roadblocks to justice 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 Is Eligible to File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit in San Francisco?
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? Call Our Lawyers Today!
if you or a loved one developed a health condition related to the Camp Lejeune water contamination, a legal professional can help ensure 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.