United States Marine Corps (USMC) Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina has likely had unsafe drinking water for decades, according to a report from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The agency has found evidence that suggests two of the base’s eight water treatment plants were contaminated by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) between 1953 to 1987. During that time, hundreds of thousands of veterans, civilian workers, and on-base family members could have been exposed to unsafe drinking water.
Continual exposure to unsafe drinking water has likely caused a large number of severe health conditions in people who lived, served, and worked on Camp Lejeune. Medical research will need to be completed to get a better scope of what health conditions have been afflicted, but it is already known that VOC exposure can cause many illnesses including various cancers and Parkinson’s disease. With this said, a countless number of people with chronic illness diagnoses could have suffered those illnesses due to time spent at Camp Lejeune.
Additional investigations into the unsafe drinking water at Camp Lejeune have concluded that the VOC levels in the water likely exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum “safe” daily amount by 100 times. One report even found that the levels could have even been 400 times higher than that amount.
Can Veterans Sue for Camp Lejeune’s Water Contamination?
Although the issue with Camp Lejeune’s unsafe drinking water is only recently making national headlines, it is a problem that has been known by the U.S. government for a while. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has received at least 2,000 pending claims in recent years that allege that drinking water at Camp Lejeune caused a serious illness or cancer. Also, it appears that the federal government knew of the VOC contamination as early as the ‘80s, but never notified people who lived, worked, or served on the base.
Congressional legislators are currently trying to make it possible for military veterans to sue for damages caused by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is moving through Congress and might become law. In fact, if this act does not pass, then it could be incredibly difficult or impossible for veterans and their families to take any legal action. It is so important that this act pass.
What Can You Do If You Served on Camp Lejeune?
The future of Camp Lejeune contaminated water exposure lawsuits and class actions is uncertain. Without the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 passed and enacted, securing justice and compensation for veterans and their families will be a significant challenge. But there are ways that you can help right now.
Take these three steps if you think you might have a valid Camp Lejeune water contamination claim:
- See a doctor: If you are experiencing any undiagnosed symptoms that could indicate a serious health concern, then please see a doctor as soon as possible. A diagnosis of cancer or another chronic illness could further connect Camp Lejeune’s drinking water to its dangerous side effects.
- Call your Congressional representatives: Show your support for the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 by calling or emailing your elective Congressional representatives now. You can click here to find your House of Representative members and how you can contact them. You can click here to do the same for your Senators.
- Contact an attorney: Speak with a class action or personal injury attorney if you believe your illness or the loss of a family member was caused by Camp Lejeune’s contaminated drinking water. The more people who reach out to lawyers with claims and concerns, the more prevalent the issue becomes, and the backing for the Camp Lejeune Justice Act becomes stronger, too.