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Camp Lejeune Justice Act: What You Need to Know

By Jason Bottlinger on September 1, 2022

Camp Lejeune is one if the worst water contamination cases in American history. Between 1953 and 1987, over one million people were exposed to highly toxic drinking water at the United States military base in North Carolina.

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) demonstrate that military personnel, their families, and civilians who lived or worked at the base have suffered high rates of cancer, birth defects, and other diseases.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed into law as part of the Promises to Address Comprehensive Toxins (PACT) Act of 2022. The PACT Act allows victims and their families to file claims seeking compensation for medical costs and other expenses caused by the contaminated drinking water.

The Government Took Decades to Admit There Was a Problem

Camp Lejeune was constructed in 1941 to train marines who were being deployed during World War II. A housing development called Tarawa Place became operational at Camp Lejeune in 1952. Beginning in 1953, the drinking water system at Tarawa Place was affected by toxic chemicals from leaking storage tanks that contained oil and other waste.

In 1957, leaking chemicals from a local business called ABC One-Hour Cleaners also began to seep into the Tarawa Place water treatment system. According to ASTDR, Tarawa Place residents were exposed to over 70 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

Congress passed a law establishing the federal government’s “Superfund” program in1980. These funds are administered by the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the most contaminated land in the country. Both Camp Lejeune and ABC One-Hour Cleaning were designated as Superfund cleanup sites in 1989.

In 1991, ASTDR began studying the health of children born between 1968 and 1985 whose mothers drank the contaminated Camp Lejeune water. These studies were completed in 2003, and ASTDR released a finding that revealed 106 Camp Lejeune children suffered from specific birth defects and cancers.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps formed a panel to investigate the toxic water at Camp Lejeune in 2004. It wasn’t until 2010 that the federal government finally acknowledged the health risks associated with Camp Lejeune when veteran Paul Bexley received a 100 percent disability rating for multiple myeloma caused by contaminated water at the base.

Health Risks from the Water at Camp Lejeune

The toxins that have already been discovered at Camp Lejeune are associated with several adverse health conditions, including:

  • Aplastic anemia
  • Leukemia
  • Cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • ALS
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Renal toxicity
  • Lymphoma

Pregnant woman who drank contaminated groundwater at Camp Lejeune had children who suffered abnormally high levels of birth defects, including:

  • Low birthweight
  • Malformations
  • Spina bifida
  • Choanal atresia
  • Miscarriage
  • Fetal death
  • Neural tube defects
  • Neurobehavioral deficits
  • Hematopoietic cancers

What You Can Do Right Now

The PACT Act provides disability payments, health care, and compensations that may be available to anyone who lived, worked, or served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1981.

If you or a loved one was exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, contact Bottlinger Law, L.L.C right away by calling (402) 505-8234. Our team will help you file a claim seeking the compensation you deserve.

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