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The US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was established in 1942. The 246 square mile facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina, has been used to prepare soldiers for combat and humanitarian missions. The base and surrounding community are home to an active duty, dependence, retirees, and civilian employee population of nearly 150,000.
In 1982 the Marine Corps discovered volatile organic compounds in the drinking water provided by water treatment plants on the base. It has been determined that from 1953 to 1987, the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated. For over 30 years, more than a million Marines and their families drank, cooked, and bathed in contaminated water. Civilians who worked on the base were also exposed.
There is strong scientific evidence linking chronic exposure to toxic chemicals in Camp Lejeune’s water supply with increased cancer rates and injuries to children in utero. Thousands of Marines and their families have suffered severe illnesses and even death.
Water was provided to Camp Lejeune by several sources. Two of those, the Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace water plants, were contaminated. The toxic chemicals trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and benzene were present in the water supply distributed by those plants. Further, the contaminated water was present in the pipes that provided water for the entire base. Unfortunately, it took many years for the water treatment plants and distribution systems to be decontaminated. Meanwhile, thousands of people were exposed to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals.
Military personnel and civilians that lived or worked in the camp were exposed to the contamination by drinking, bathing, cooking with the water, and even laundry. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, (ATSDR), toxic exposures to trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride and other contaminants in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune likely increased the risk of cancers, adverse birth outcomes, and other adverse health effects of residents, civilian workers, Marines and Naval personnel.
Every toxic substance present in the water from 1953 to 1987 has been shown to cause at least one form of cancer. In addition, research studies have also produced evidence of other medical conditions that are at least correlated with these toxins and likely caused by them.
Medical conditions associated with exposure to the toxins at Camp Lejeune include:
Diagnosis with any of these conditions should be at least one year after your first exposure to water at Camp Lejeune. The longer a person was exposed to the toxins, the more likely they were to suffer these medical conditions. Higher exposure is also associated with more severe cases of these conditions.
We are also considering claims for the following conditions that are presumed to be associated with the water contamination:
On August 10, 2022, President Biden signed into law The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 as part of the PACT (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) Act. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is designed to compensate the people harmed by exposure to those toxic chemicals. However, since the exposures occurred over a long period of time, many years ago, most claims would be time-barred unless a specific law was enacted to help victims.
This new legislation extends the window to file a claim by two years, making it possible for people affected by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to file lawsuits against the federal government. The two year extension time frame began on August 10, 2022, and is set to expire in August of 2024. In addition to a civil lawsuit, veterans and family members may be eligible for VA disability benefits and health coverage. You may be eligible for a claim if you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and the late 1980s and were diagnosed with serious health issues, including many cancers, neurologic disorders, and birth defects.
To be eligible to file a lawsuit under this Act, you must have lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days during the timeframe of the exposure and have been exposed to the toxins in the water.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act has somewhat complicated eligibility requirements. Therefore, if you believe that you or a loved one have been harmed by toxic exposure from water at Camp Lejeune it is important that you contact a lawyer immediately. Please do not wait, as it may take time to gather the information and evidence needed to submit a claim, especially since the exposure occurred so many years ago.
In 1950 Lacy Katzen LLP was founded by two World War II veterans; Herb Lacy and Leon Katzen. Built upon a foundation of hard work, service, and love of country, Lacy Katzen LLP stands behind the men and women of America’s military. It saddens us to hear allegations that our military personnel has been harmed by exposure to toxic chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune. If you believe that you or someone you love has been injured as a result of exposure to water at Camp Lejeune, the personal injury attorneys at Lacy Katzen LLP may be able to help. Please contact attorney Jacqueline Thomas for a free consultation.
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