Thousands of Marines and their families have suffered severe illnesses and have died. There is strong scientific evidence that chronic exposure to toxic chemicals in Camp Lejeune’s water has caused increased rates of cancer and has caused injuries to children in utero.
A new federal law – the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 – will permit victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination to seek legal compensation. The Act would permit people who lived or worked or were harmed as unborn children at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 to file a toxic water lawsuit in U.S. Federal District Court in Eastern North Carolina. Victims have a two-year deadline to file a claim.
Specifically, the Marine Corps determined that from approximately 1953 through 1987, the water supply to Camp Lejeune had been heavily contaminated with volatile organic compounds and carcinogenic chemicals. The most troubling chemicals found were trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE).
These chemicals are in a class of chemicals called “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs). These chemicals are used for dry cleaning and much of the water contamination was attributed to an off-base dry cleaner that existed before the Marine base was opened. So the water wells were likely contaminated before Camp Lejeune opened.
But there were multiple sources for this toxic water. These same chemicals are also used to clean machinery and weapons. So the contamination came from on and off the Marine base.
The industrial chemicals that were contaminating the Camp Lejeune water supply are known to be very toxic to the human body and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and neurologic disorders. Scientific and medical evidence has shown that chronic exposure to the chemicals TCE and PCE can cause increased rates of certain types of cancer.
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