What to Know About Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

For more than three decades—from the early 1950s to the late 1980s—more than 1 million military personnel and their families stationed and living at Camp Lejeune were exposed to toxic chemicals in their drinking water. This contamination came to light during an EPA investigation in the late 1980s, leading to Camp Lejeune being listed as a Superfund site in 1989. Learn more about Camp Lejeune water contamination and some of the options available to those who have suffered damages.

History of Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Contamination

Some scientists refer to Camp Lejeune as the worst public drinking water pollution event in U.S. history.

Founded in 1941 on the Atlantic coast, Camp Lejeune was one of the Marine Corps’ largest and busiest bases. Unfortunately, environmental leadership lagged, and camp leadership did everything from dumping oil and industrial wastewater into storm drains to burying potentially radioactive materials. For decades, a dry-cleaning business dumped chemicals—including tetrachloroethylene (PCE), a carcinogen—down drains, where the toxic chemicals seeped into the groundwater.

The water sources were found to contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene, vinyl chloride and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs). VOCs are a group of chemical solvents and fuels that evaporate easily, such as tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene. Benzene is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor that is used industrially to manufacture multiple products including plastics, rubber products, lubricants and pesticides. Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas at room temperature that becomes liquid when stored at high pressure or low temperatures. It is used to manufacture PVC. PFAs are toxic, fluorinated chemicals that do not occur naturally but are man-made chemicals with widespread use.

In 1980, military chemists began testing the drinking water at Camp Lejeune, detecting organic compounds, or solvents, for the first time. But the Marines report that they didn’t receive the results of these tests until 1982. For years, chemists sounded the alarm, to no avail—and in the meantime, thousands of Marines, their spouses, and their children were drinking, cooking, and bathing with this water. Eventually, solvent levels were revealed to be up to 280 times higher than what the EPA considers safe.

In 1989, the fuel depot at Camp Lejeune was finally shut down, years after the first reports of fuel tanks leaking hazardous material into the surrounding soil.

Effects of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Those who were exposed to water contamination at Camp Lejeune developed diseases such as leukemia, certain types of cancers, and Parkinson’s disease, a neurological condition, and higher rates of miscarriages and birth defects for women who were exposed. Veterans and their loved ones who lived at Camp Lejeune during certain years and later developed these diseases may be eligible for disability compensation.

FAQs About Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune

  • During what years was the water supply contaminated at Camp Lejeune?
  • What legislation is intended to compensate for Camp Lejeune contaminated water diseases?
  • How to file a claim for Camp Lejeune water contamination?
  • What caused Camp Lejeune water contamination?
  • How can an attorney help with my Camp Lejeune water contamination case?

How do I know if I qualify for compensation for my injuries at Camp Lejeune?

Some of the cancers and other diseases associated with Camp Lejeune water contamination include:

  • Cardiac defect
  • End stage renal disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Oral cleft defect
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Female infertility
  • Hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma

This is not an exhaustive list and there are many other injuries and diseases potentially associated with Camp Lejeune water contamination. There are many adverse health effects one may experience from toxic exposure to harmful chemicals.

If you or a loved one has developed one of these diseases after spending 30 days or more at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, you may be entitled to compensation.

About the Camp LeJeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

Hiring a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorney

It’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate the strength of your claim. At The Ferraro Law Firm, we have extensive experience in a broad variety of injury cases, including chemical exposure and environmental injury.

Indeed, what sets The Ferraro Law Firm apart from other personal injury firms is Jim Ferraro’s unique experience with toxic torts—including taking on corporate giant DuPont all the way to the Florida Supreme Court. Jim successfully recovered damages on behalf of Johnny Castillo, who was born with no eyes after his mother walked past a U-Pick farm where Benlate had been sprayed. After a decade-long legal battle, the Castillos were awarded $7 million. And as a result of this life-changing experience, Jim Ferraro has dedicated his career to advocating for changes in the legal system to protect against dangerous, defective chemicals and other products.

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