Washington D.C. – The passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 provides an opportunity for service members and their families to pursue long-awaited justice for injuries caused by exposure to contaminated water while on the military base from 1953 to 1987.
During this time, an estimated 1,000,000 people were exposed to toxic chemicals found in the water of military housing, commissary buildings, operations buildings, training centers, and other workplaces on the base, increasing the risk of serious health complications and conditions.
Camp Lejeune has operated as a military base in Jacksonville, North Carolina, since 1942 where service members are trained, stationed, and prepared for deployment. In 1952 and 1953, two water treatment plants became operational to provide clean water to different areas of Camp Lejeune. With the creation of these two water plants, the Hadnot Point Water System and the Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant, toxic chemicals began infiltrating the water system throughout the camp. It was not until the early 1980s that the base underwent testing that revealed various chemicals that were above the EPA standards for safe drinking water. Due to difficulty in determining specific chemicals in the water, it was not until 1987 that the government shut down the water plants responsible for the contamination. As a result, Marines, their families, and civilian federal employees were exposed to toxic chemicals in their everyday life for a period of 34 years.
The toxic chemicals found in the water supply included trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, vinyl chloride, and benzene. Exposure to these chemicals can put people at risk of serious health complications and conditions, such as adult leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and more. Other possible effects include fertility issues, delayed reaction time, problems with visual perception and color vision, and mood changes.
If you or a family member were at Camp Lejeune and have suffered from any of these issues, or other various health complications, you may be entitled to compensation. To qualify, an injured party must have been present on-site at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and have documented diagnosis of at least one of the recognized conditions linked to exposure from the toxic chemicals found in the water supply. The process of your claim will depend on which type of claimant you will be classified, which includes service member, service members’ dependents and family members, and civilian federal employees. It is essential to pursue adequate representation to represent your rights and interests in complicated legal matters such as this.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 has already passed through the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. As of July 9, 2022, the Act was sent back to the House for a procedural matter but is expected to be back through Congress and to the President’s desk by the end of the month. Once the President signs this Bill into action, it will become law and eligible parties can begin their claims process. When it becomes law, an experienced legal professional will be vital to pursue results for service members and their families.
If you or a loved one were stationed at, resided at, or employed at Camp Lejeune please contact Shelby Roden LLC for a consultation.