It was a decision decades in the making: Veterans exposed to toxins on the Camp Lejeune military base years ago can now sue the federal government for their water contamination injuries. On August 10, President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act aimed at helping military members exposed to toxic substances during their service. Included in the legislation was the long-awaited Camp Lejeune Justice Act, designed to provide judicial relief to those harmed by tainted groundwater on the base — some 40 years after it was discovered.
Contaminated Water Injuries: What Happened at Camp Lejeune?
Established in 1942, Camp Lejeune serves as a U.S. Marine Corps Base in North Carolina. Military activities started polluting the drinking water in the early 1950s and continued into the 1980s when the contamination was discovered. By the time the poisoned wells were closed in 1985, as many as a million people on the base may have been exposed to the toxic water supply.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) identified the following chemicals in the Camp Lejeune drinking water, some of which are known human carcinogens:
- Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Vinyl chloride (VC)
- Dichloroethylene (DCE)
In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed Camp Lejeune as a Superfund site, recognizing it as a hazardous waste area that threatened public health. Although more than 4,500 people filed damage claims relating to the toxic water, all of them were denied by the Navy in 2019. The passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act opens the door for those harmed at the base to file water contamination injury lawsuits, including for the death of a loved one.
Who Can File a Camp Lejeune Water Lawsuit?
To file a Camp Lejeune toxic water injury lawsuit, you or a close family member must have been exposed to contaminated water at the base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. Individuals who suffered certain illnesses after living, working, or being stationed at Camp Lejeune may qualify. Affected people may have been active-duty military personnel, resident military families (including infants, children, and pregnant women), National Guardsmen, Army Reservists, and civilian workers on the base during that period.
According to the ATSDR, the chemicals found in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune increase the risk of a number of cancers, birth defects, and other health-related problems. Scientific studies have linked exposure to these toxic chemicals with the following diseases and conditions:
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Cardiac defects
- Multiple myeloma
- Renal disease
- Parkinson’s disease
Can a Toxic Water Injury Lawyer Help Me?
If you or a close family member lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and then developed a serious health condition, you may qualify to file a toxic water lawsuit. Although many years have passed, you still deserve to be compensated for the injuries you suffered at Camp Lejeune.
The skilled attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP know how to handle complicated toxic chemical exposure cases to get the best possible result. And because we work on a contingency basis, we don’t get paid unless we successfully resolve your claim. So contact us today for a free consultation with a toxic water lawyer.