Camp Lejeune FAQ: What Caused the Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune?
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Water contamination at Camp Lejeune lasted approximately from 1953 to 1987.
Former residents of the military base have been diagnosed with numerous medical conditions and experienced devastating adverse health effects as a result of their exposure.
But, what caused Camp Lejeune water contamination?
Toxic substances, including synthetic organic cleaning solvents and chemicals used for manufacturing, were found to have leaked into water treatment plants, underground storage tanks, and other water supply systems that served Camp Lejeune.
Upwards of 70 other chemicals were found to have contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune and the nearby Marine Corps Air Station New River.
Of those 70 chemicals, the main four (4) Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found in the water serving Maring Corps Base Camp Lejeune include:
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a classification of man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds that have been linked to numerous health conditions.
Various VOCs were found in the drinking water supply at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Exposure to contaminated water can happen in many ways.
Four (4) ways you can be exposed to contaminated water are:
Water contamination at the military base was widespread and lasted for decades.
The agencies in charge of assessing potential health effects of the contaminated water have even said that “levels of chemicals were among the highest ever seen in a large, public water system.”
Even though the Environmental Protection Agency proposed tighter environmental regulations on the handling of specific volatile organic compounds, the Marine Corps Base Camp largely did not impose such regulations while the contamination was ongoing.
Of the 70+ chemicals observed, the four (4) main chemical contaminants found in the Camp Lejeune drinking water were:
PCE was found in the environmental assessments of the Camp Lejeune water supply at levels 4300% higher than allowed by mandated safety standards.
Tetrachloroethylene is commonly used for:
Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a colorless, non-flammable liquid created through chemical synthesis.
TCE was found at levels 280 times the maximum contamination level (MCL) set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Trichloroethylene is commonly used for:
Vinyl chloride is a colorless, flammable gas.
Vinyl chloride was found at levels up to 70 times the maximum contamination level (MCL).
Vinyl chloride is namely used in the production of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is present in the following:
Benzene is an odorless, mostly colorless liquid organic chemical that can be formed both naturally and through manmade processes.
Benzene is used as a base chemical for a number of products and other chemicals:
Apart from the four main contaminants identified in the Camp Lejeune water supply, there are other chemicals, even potentially radioactive materials, that have been labeled by health and environmental experts as possible carcinogens.
Up to 70 other contaminants were found to have contaminated water supplies at Camp Lejeune.
There is considerable medical evidence and scientific evidence from numerous agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Research Council, and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) that detail the depth of the issues at Camp Lejeune.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry completed one of the most in-depth reports on the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
Exposure to Tetrachloroethylene can lead to a number of devastating health impacts.
The health conditions linked to Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) exposure include, but are not limited to:
The health risks associated with Trichloroethylene exposure are varying.
Health conditions related to Trichloroethylene (TCE) exposure include, but are not limited to:
Vinyl Chloride is extremely harmful if ingested in large amounts or over a long period of time.
Health conditions related to Vinyl Chloride exposure include, but are not limited to:
Long-term exposure to Benzene contamination has been found to be highly dangerous to human health.
Health conditions related to Benzene exposure include, but are not limited to:
There are also many non-presumptive injuries related to PCE and TCE exposure.
“Non-presumptive” means that though these injuries are common in former residents of Camp Lejeune, the VA has does not presume that the diagnosis is related to toxic exposure at the base.
These conditions include:
Camp Lejeune and its surrounding communities have gotten their drinking water from at least eight water treatment plants in the area, and the ATSDR analyzed each one:
At least two water supply systems have been identified as potential sources for the water contamination:
Drinking water supplies at Camp Lejeune were contaminated from groundwater leakage originating from an off base dry cleaner, among other potential sources.
According to the St. Lawrence County Government, the Marine Corps admitted to dumping oil and industrial wastewater in storm drains at the base.
Over one million people lived at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and were potentially exposed to toxic substances in the water supply.
Those exposed to toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune include:
Many Camp Lejeune veterans were denied VA health care benefits for their exposure to toxic substances in the water supply.
Non-military individuals had no recourse to secure health care benefits, disability compensation, or compensation that paid health care expenses.
There have been multiple attempts to legislate change in regard to Camp Lejeune water contamination benefits, but none have brought justice to as many people as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act seeks to do.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act affords Camp Lejeune residents the ability to sue and recover damages for exposure to the toxic substances in the water supply.
Camp Lejeune veterans and Camp Lejeune families will be able to secure compensation for health problems and medical expenses related to the toxic chemicals they were exposed to while living on the base.
Those eligible will file an administrative claim with the Navy JAG, commonly with the help of a legal representative.
If a claim is not adjudicated or settled within six months of submission, victims are able to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit in the U.S. District Court: Eastern District of North Carolina.
The Honoring Our PACT Act, which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, will grant new Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and disability benefits to toxin-exposed veterans.
The PACT Act has been a long time coming for veterans across the country. It’s estimated that the legislation will help up to 3.5 million veterans.
With the signing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act into law by President Biden, Camp Lejeune Water Contamination claims are able to be filed by any person exposed to contaminated water at the Marine Corps base between 1953 and 1987.
If you or a loved one was exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune between these dates, and meet other certain criteria, you may qualify to file suit.
Contact TorHoerman Law for a free consultation or use the chatbot on our website to see if you qualify instantly.
We thank the brave veterans for their service to our country. Now let us serve you.
Click a treatment plant to see which chemical contaminants were found in the drinking water being distributed to Camp Lejeune.
Click a chemical contaminant to see which health conditions are associated with it, and how strong the correlation has been determined to be.
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